Social Movements & Technology

deadline for submissions: 
December 18, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Cultural, Social and Political Thought - University of Victoria
contact email: 

Social Movements & Technology Cultural Social and Political Thought (CSPT)Annual Graduate Student Conference




May 5-6, 2023


The Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT) program at the University of Victoria, British Columbia is pleased to announce our annual graduate student conference to be held on May 5-6, 2023. We situate our conference on the traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, whose relationships to the land continue to this day. This year’s conference will accommodate both in-person and online presentations. This year's conference will accomodate both online and in-person presentations. 

This year’s theme, Social Movements & Technology, resonates within both our contemporary moment and the broader historical context of social movements. Technology is a double edge sword. In non-liberal countries, it can play a counter-hegemonic role, such as that within the freedom protests led by Iranian women and girls. However, it can also be utilized as a tool of surveillance/discipline such as with the Hong Kong protests or as a tool of hegemony in Western liberal democracies.

By adopting a critical perspective, this year’s CSPT conference will delve into the question of how, depending on the context, technology can pave the way for new forms of revolutionary collective actions, or how it can prevent the formation of emancipatory and counter-hegemonic consciousness.

Many philosophers and social theorists have written about the role of technology in social movements. For example, Fanon analyzed the power of radio in the FLN resistance against French colonizers in Algeria in the 1950s. Foucault attended to the spectacle and signifying scene of the guillotine. In different registrars, scholars continue to examine the documenting power of social media and mobile technologies in such cases as the Arab Spring. Mobile technologies also serve as critical tools for precarious migrants globally to not only stay connected to friends and family but avoid and subvert border controls. Likewise, anti-migrant social movements are increasingly supporting technologies that harden and surveil borders to prevent migration. As such, we invite theoretical and critical papers that attend to the following themes:

Potential themes and topics may include (but not limited to):

  • Political economy of technology
  • Fetishism and technology
  • New social movements and technology
  • Uneven development and technology
  • Technology as a tool of liberal democratic hegemony in Western democracies
  • Mobility and technology (surveillance, borders, etc., in contrast with technology as disruptive)
  • Technologies of citizenship (i.e., passports, data, surveillance, but also belonging and kinship)
  • Technologies of communication (connecting families, friends, and peoples across time and place) 
  • Technologies of care (neoliberal self-care, but also community and mutual aid)
  • Technology and community (things like printing press, internet, social media, web 3.0 and imagined communities, etc.)
  • Technology and sustainable development versus technology and extraction
  • Environmental justice against pipelines, extractive technologies in media, literature, art
  • Technology as dystopia/utopia
  • Technology as afro-futurisms / indigenous futures / migrant futures.

We invite submissions from graduate students from both the Humanities and Social Sciences, including but not limited to Indigenous studies, critical black feminism, philosophy, theory, geography, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, cultural studies, literary studies, and history, in addition to visual artists who work within these topics. In light of our theme, we seek to assemble a diverse group of scholars, artists, and activists, in order to foster interdisciplinary discussions through artworks and presentations that are approximately 15 to 18 minutes in length.

Artists can indicate if they also want to give a 15 to 18 minutes talk on their work, though this is not mandatory for participation.

Submission Guidelines:

If you are interested in presenting at the 2023 CSPT Graduate Student Conference, please email the following information to by December 18, 2022 at 11:59pm PT:

  • Your name, contact information, and affiliation (if any)
  • An abstract of no more than 300 words
  • A short biography of no more than 75 words
  • A list of maximum five relevant keywords to your abstract
  • Any technical requirements, including space, or other support your require while at the conference
  • Dietary requirements and food allergies.

Artist’s Submissions:

  • The above criteria for abstract, biography, and keywords
  • Indicate in your abstract if you would also like to be considered for a 15 to 18 minute artist’s talk
  • Indicate any space requirements for display (e.g., power supply, size, plinths or tables, etc.).


Any questions can also be e-mailed to