What is Life? Lifestyles • Lifeworlds • Lifeworks

deadline for submissions: 
November 21, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
University of Oregon
contact email: 

DECEMBER 13, 2016!

University of Oregon in Portland • April 6–8, 2017


The seventh annual “What is...? ” conference-experience will engage communication, media, and nature by examining everyday life — our lifeworks and lifestyles — emphasizing the lifeworlds (environments) we live in. It will investigate how communication/media constitute and permeate all avenues and forms of life — from scale, pace, and pattern to the public, private, and organic. By building bridges through multidisciplinary networks, the event emphasizes how communication is instrumental in and for living systems. What is life and how is life mediated?

What is Life? (2017) builds on last year’s conference, What is Media? (2016), expanding a transdisciplinary notion of medium/media with special attention to its material, historical, and ecological ramifications. It marks the second collaboration with scholars from the natural sciences, life sciences, and the arts.

Featured plenaries will include:

• Douglas Rushkoff, Communication and Economics (Generation Like, FRONTLINE)

• Jussi Parikka, Media Archaeology and Aesthetics (A Geology of Media)

• Amnon Buchbinder, Journalism and Science (Biology of Story)

• Salma Monani, Environmental Studies (Ecomedia)

• Brendan Bohannan, Biology and Ecology

• Toby Miller, Creative Industries and Environmental Studies (Greening The Media)

• Gabriela Martínez, Cinema/Media Studies and Latin American Studies

• Mark Johnson, Cognitive Science and Philosophy (Metaphors We Live By)

• Brook Muller, Architecture and Design (Ecology and the Architectural Imagination)

Keynote address by Fritjof Capra, Complexity and System Sciences (Systems View of Life)

Papers/presentations already accepted address: the value of human life, algorithms and e-waste, biodiversity, science journalism/communication, sustainable design and apps, Chinese rural experience, microbial ecology, women and work, STS and automation, responsibility and integrity. What is Life? invites scholars, government and community officials, industry professionals, alumni and students, as well as scientists, artists, filmmakers, grassroots community organizations, and the public to collaborate. We welcome submissions for paper presentations and panels, roundtables, and art installations. A wide range of topics and themes can be found under the Call for Proposals at the conference website (whatis.uoregon.edu).

Send 100-150 word abstracts/proposals by December 13, 2016 to:

Janet Wasko • jwasko@uoregon.edu

Conference Organizers: Janet Wasko and Jeremy Swartz (University of Oregon)
University of Oregon • Eugene, Oregon 97405-1275