PhD in media history at the Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG), Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, USI Università della Svizzera italiana

The Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG) in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at USI (Università della Svizzera italiana) invites applications for 1 fully-funded PhD position (4 years), supervised by Prof. Gabriele Balbi. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, the candidate will earn a PhD in Communication Sciences.

The PhD position

PhD candidate will be expected to design and carry out research in the field of media and communication history, with a specific focus on maintenance of communication infrastructures and maintenance of media in diachronic perspective. Maintenance can be declined in different perspectives: politics of maintenance and the relation to power, economics and business of maintenance for private companies, the social construction of “maintenance cultures”, the persistence and longue durée of communication technologies because of maintenance, the lack of maintenance and the abandonment of communication infrastructures, and others. The candidates should advance their theoretical framework, timeframes, methodological angles, and case studies. They will be discussed during the interview and later can be refined and changed during the research.

The PhD should author and present papers at conferences and write a monography or cumulative PhD consisting of three peer reviewed journal articles.
She/he will also be expected to provide support for the activities at IMeG, including support for teaching, research projects, service, and organization of events. Specifically, the candidate will be engaged in the “Global Media and Internet Concentration Project”, of which the Institute is the Swiss partner (see concentration-project). (Read more in the file enclosed: deadline for application, candidate’s profile, etc. )

Mahoney Prize 2023

The Mahoney Prize recognizes an outstanding article in the history of computing and information technology, broadly conceived. The Mahoney Prize commemorates the late Princeton scholar Michael S. Mahoney, whose profound contributions to the history of computing came from his many articles and book chapters. The prize consists of a $500 award and a certificate. For the 2023 prize, articles published in the preceding three years (2020, 2021, and 2022) are eligible for nomination. The Mahoney Prize is awarded by the Special Interest Group in Computers, Information, and Society (SIGCIS) and is presented at the SIG’s annual meeting.

Please email copies of nomination articles to the 2023 Prize Committee by April 30, 2023. Please direct any questions to the 2023 committee chair, Kevin Driscoll.

2023 Mahoney Prize Committee:

Kevin Driscoll (Committee Chair), Associate Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia,

Valérie Schafer, Professor, Contemporary European History, University of Luxembourg,

Janet Toland, Associate Professor, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington,

Previous winners:

2022: Theodora Vardouli and David Theodore, “Walking Instead of Working: Space Allocation, Automatic Architecture, and the Abstraction of Hospital Labor,” in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 43, no. 2 (April-June 2021): 6-17.

2021: Colette Perold, “IBM’s World Citizens: Valentim Bouças and the Politics of IT Expansion in Authoritarian Brazil,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing42, no. 3 (July-September 2020): 38-52.

2020: Oliver Belcher. “Sensing, Territory, Population: Computation, Embodied Sensors, and Hamlet Control in the Vietnam War,” Security Dialogue 50.5, (2019) 416-436.

2019: Nikhil Menon. “‘Fancy Calculating Machine’: Computers and planning in independent India.” Modern Asian Studies 52, no. 2 (2018): 421-457.

2018: Joanna Radin. “Digital Natives: How Medical and Indigenous Histories Matter for Big Data.” Osiris Vol. 32, No. 1 (2017): 43-64

2017: Erica Robles-Anderson and Patrik Svensson, “’One Damn Slide After Another’: PowerPoint at Every Occasion for Speech.” Computational Culture (January 15, 2016). 

2016: Andrew L. Russell and Valérie Schafer, “In the Shadow of ARPANET and Internet: Louis Pouzin and the Cyclades Network in the 1970s,” Technology and Culture 55, no. 4 (October 2014): 880-907.

2015: David Nofre, Mark Priestley, and Gerard Alberts, “When Technology Became Language: The Origins of the Linguistic Conception of Computer Programming, 1950-1960,” Technology and Culture 55 (January 2014): 40-75.

ECREA Communication History Workshop 2023, CfP on “War, Communication, and Media Resilience in Europe”, Lund University, Sweden, 23–25 August, 2023

War is disruptive. It breaks trajectories of progress. It divides real and imagined communities. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and devastation of cities, its harmful effects on long established communication cultures, networks and infrastructures are fundamental. The disturbing instability of the world order caused by the escalating Russian aggression in Ukraine has led to deep concerns not only about the war itself. It has also highlighted the vulnerability of our global communication infrastructure, the ways to resist information warfare and propaganda, and the need to sustain an ethical media reporting in a deeply polarized world.

Dating back to 1970s discussions within fields such as psychology, pedagogy, and human ecology, the concept of resilience has drawn attention to how humans mentally cope with and learn from disrupting changes in the complex systems in which they are embedded. In recent decades, the concept has been tried out in much broader scholarly contexts, for example research on public health or social innovation, critical infrastructure studies, and disaster studies. Although studies within applied communication research and crisis communication may sometimes thematize resilience, it can be noted that in media studies more generally, the concept is yet to be thoroughly theorized and systematically discussed. And particularly the interplay between resilience and resistance needs further exploration, not least to underscore agency and to counter the conservative tendency built into the concept of resilience.

Alongside this lacuna within media studies, historical studies on resilience are also surprisingly rare. Most often, it is framed as a contemporary phenomenon, ideal, and solution. This is remarkable since the term resilience itself implies key issues of change, transformation, adaptability, adjustment, and temporality – and sometimes also the absence of change. By critically investigating processes of resilience and resistance in wartime, media and communication historians can offer deep insights into everything from sustainable communication technologies and infrastructures to cultural memory work and collective trauma. Through concepts such as residual media or remediation, historians can shed light on processes of media convergence and divergence in wars of the past, but also old media persistence, resistance, or resilience in new wars.

The aim of the 2023 ECREA Communication History workshop is to invite a scholarly discussion on war and media resilience in terms of, first, the ability of media and communication agents, cultures, and institutions to act in, resist and recover from disturbances caused by war and armed conflicts. Second, it engages with media technologies and materialities, not least in terms of the stability or instability of analogue or digital communication infrastructures. And third, the concept of media resilience raises issues of media ethics, sustainable war reporting and photojournalism, and the spectacles of suffering. Media in contemporary armed conflicts need to be put in context and analysed alongside their historical precedents. Historical perspectives are necessary since media resilience addresses issues of media change and transformation, the ability of media technologies and media agents to absorb change or the stubborn persistence – or even comeback – of old media in disruptive times.

The ECREA Communication History Section welcomes contributions from all scholars in different fields who are interested in the workshop theme. Topics include, but may not be limited to, historically informed media perspectives of the following:

•    The mediatization of war and armed conflict
•    Conflicts and/as media events
•    Resilient and ethically sustainable war reporting, including censorship
•    Journalism, diplomacy, and negotiation
•    Wartime resistance and underground media
•    Propaganda and psychological defence
•    Old cables in new wars – vulnerable communication infrastructures
•    Information warfare and resistance, cyber-crimes, and cyber security
•    Gendered approaches of media and communication during wars
•    Preserving audiovisual or digital cultural heritage in times of war
•    Residual media and old media persistence in contemporary wars
•    Trauma, memory, and war commemoration

The deadline has passed. We do not accept more abstracts. The venue is the lovely Old Bishop’s House in central Lund. The workshop will begin late afternoon on the 23 and end at lunchtime on the 25 August.  Confirmed keynote speaker is Prof. Gabriele Balbi, Media Studies, Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG), USI Università della Svizzera Italiana. A preliminary programme will be available here soon.

The conference is organised by the ECREA Communication History Section and the Section for Media History at the Department of Communication and Media at Lund University in collaboration with The Centre for European Studies at Lund University. Local organisers and contact persons are Allan Burnett, Marie Cronqvist, Rosanna Farbøl, and Martin Lundqvist.

CfP : Gender and Internet/Web History (special issue)

Special issue of Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and Society
(editors of the special issue: Leopoldina Fortunati, Autumn Edwards & Janet Abbate)

This call for papers will take stock of the historical entanglement of gender and the Internet/Web. Facing a critical juncture both in terms of the technological development of the Internet (e.g., the nascent Web 3.0, radical decentralization, the integration of AI and machine learning) and also in terms of sociopolitical struggle on the part of women and gender-linked identity groups on local and global levels, we ask: How can we root the analysis of gender and the Internet on a historical level? How can histories that integrate gender and the Internet/Web help us comprehend the sociological, cultural, and political meaning and dimensions of each? 

This special issue will explore these questions and many others through a diachronic approach that includes global, transnational, national, regional, and local histories.

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