Surveillance, Form, Affect: An international, multidisciplinary conference (Hong Kong, 7-9 December 2016)

deadline for submissions: 
July 30, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities, Education University of Hong Kong
contact email: 

Call for Papers

Please distribute widely



An international, multidisciplinary conference

December 7-9, 2016


Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities

The Education University of Hong Kong


Keynotes by

Professor Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (Brown)

and Dr. Karen Fang (Houston)


This conference will explore the possibility that references to dystopia and to discipline cannot exhaust the proliferating relationships among surveillance, art, popular culture, and the humanities. The rise of surveillance technologies and practices with participatory, communal, and even ludic aspects challenges humanists to produce more flexible accounts of how we watch, track, document, and observe each other. Taking inspiration from the flourishing field of surveillance studies, this conference will explore the meanings for the humanities of what might be called a “neutral” account of surveillance, one which could take into account not only the practices of states and corporations that merit critique and resistance, but also the surveillance inherent in creative and individualizing uses of social media spaces, and the idioms of the representational arts.

How are forms of artistic and popular representation adapting to their changing media and technological environment? In the event that this environment presents an intensifying degree of surveillance, is that intensity primarily controlling or extractive, or does it also accentuate other intensities—an intensity of the political, or an intensity of pleasure? Can or should humanists suspend the identification of surveillance with discipline, totality, and paranoia, and consider how surveillance might also involve fairness, friendship, or care? How can accounts of surveillance framed using the concept of the gaze and the image of the camera be supplemented, expanded, or exploded by accounts of surveillance based on the algorithm and the datum? Finally, how have surveillance and its forms and affects informed the development of the humanities as discipline and practice, and are these forms and affects due for reassessment?


Further provocations:


surveillance and security/surveillance and feeling secure

surveillance, facial recognition, the face of the other

surveillance without the gaze/surveillance as spectacle

locative and mobile surveillance, the flâneur


big data/sublime data

participatory, lateral, and ludic surveillance

predictive analytics, algorithmic governance, pattern recognition

medical surveillance and epidemiology


surveillance, empathy, care

surveillance as justice, surveillance as fairness

surveillance, voting, democracy

surveillance as modernization, surveillance as development


paranoid reading and surface reading

surveillance, interpretation, hermeneutics

surveillance, phenomenology, object-oriented ontology

surveillance studies and critical theory


Considerations of texts and discourses from any part of the world and in any language are welcome. The language of the conference itself will be English.

Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers of 20-25 minutes, with a brief bio, by July 30, 2016. For questions or to submit, please contact the conference organizer, Dr. Jeffrey Clapp (Literature and Cultural Studies, EdUHK) at