CFP: Theorizing the Web 2013

Friday, March 1st & Saturday, March 2nd

The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY


Deadline for Abstracts: Sunday, January 6th

Call for Papers:

Society has been infiltrated by new digital technologies with potentially profound consequences. It makes sense to ask what’s changed? How has it changed? How much? Researchers and companies have gathered enormous amounts of data to ostensibly answer these questions, but the full implications of this data too often go unexplored. The Web is not a new, separate sphere, but part of the same social reality about which critical social theorists have produced several centuries worth of insight. These theories may be profitably used, tweaked, or even abandoned in light of contemporary realities. What previous theoretical tools help us understand these changes? What new theories should be created?

Now in its third year, the Theorizing the Web conference seeks to bring together an inter/non-disciplinary group of scholars, journalists, artists, and commentators to theorize the Web. As in the past, we encourage critical discussions of power, social inequality, and social justice.

The keynote speaker for this year is scholar David Lyon, author of many books on surveillance technologies and society (most recently Liquid Surveillance with Zygmunt Bauman), who will discuss the significance and nuances of surveillance in the social and digital media environment. How well do pre-existing theories of social observation, such as panopticism, map onto new realities such as Facebook? Do we need new conceptual tools?

We encourage critical and theoretical explorations of digital technologies, including, but not limited, to:

  • Surveillance, sousveillance, (post-)panopticism, synopticism
  • Privacy/publicity, visibility/invisibility, fame, micro-celebrity
  • Virality and the attention economy
  • Preservation, remembering, and the right to forget
  • Identity, subjectivity, self-concept
  • Capitalism
  • Racism and diasporas
  • Work, play, leisure, and post-Fordism
  • Consumption and consumer society
  • Modernity & social change: liquidity, risk, isolation, anomie
  • Social movements, protests, and repression
  • Drone warfare, cyber warfare
  • Knowledge, epistemology, algorithms, filters, and truth
  • Digital dualism
  • The mobile web, mapping, and critical geographies
  • Speculative fiction, futurism, and literature
  • Rise of visual social media
  • Technological autonomy and determinism
  • Intersections of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, and other forms of inequality
Submit abstracts online:
Theorizing the Web is a conference for works-in-progress. Full papers are not required in order to submit and the paper does not need to be in finished form when presenting. However, we plan to organize a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal in conjunction with Theorizing the Web 2013.The Theorizing the Web conference values public engagement. We encourage papers to be written and delivered with an inter/non-disciplinary audience in mind. Further, all panels will be video recorded and streamed live.

More information can be found at the conference website:

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