Exclusions in the History and Historiography of Communication Studies

International Communication Association Remote Preconference

May 27, 2021

Organizers: David W. Park, Jefferson Pooley, Peter Simonson

The broader field of communication studies is in a moment when we are—or should be—intensively interrogating patterns of exclusion and hegemony that have continued to constitute it: around global region (de-Westernizing, theory from the South, persistent patterns of American influence/hegemony), race (#communicationsowhite), gender (#metoo, #gendercom, Matilda effects,), and indigeneity/colonization (postcolonial and decolonial initiatives). To frame these exclusions as constitutive is to head off any easy solutions in terms of greater inclusivity, though that needs to be part of the mix; rather, it is to invite us to consider all of the ways in which these and other exclusions have functioned to center certain problems, theories, methods, languages, nations, social identities, and publication venues; and to exclude or marginalize others that are cast as differentially less valuable, lower status, Other, and more. To frame them as constitutive is also to draw attention to how those exclusions are performatively enacted on an ongoing basis through the full range of practices, social and epistemological, through which the field (re)produces itself.

It is time to animate our histories of communication and media studies with similar problematics, recognizing the patterns and performances through which the field(s) has organized itself around constitutive exclusions and continues actively to do so in its historiography. How have particular geopolitical locations (including but not limited to nations) achieved centrality, established standards and status hierarchies, and accumulated advantages and various forms of capital through marginalization and exclusion? How has colonialism and its persistent structural effects fueled communication study around the globe, and how does our historiography maintain that form of dominance and exclusion? How have gender/patriarchy, race/racism, and ethnicity fueled analogous processes? What forms of resistance and counter-hegemonies have arisen or persisted?

We invite papers that address these and related questions through historical registers. Examples might include:

  • Decolonial or postcolonial approaches to the history of the field

  • Histories that focus on regions and geopolitical contexts that have traditionally been marginalized in the main body of English-language writing—particularly those from the Global South, the former Soviet bloc, and East Asia

  • Feminist historiography of the field as well as efforts to recover overlooked or forgotten women researchers and educators

  • Communication research and education conducted by, aimed at, or otherwise connected to indigeneous peoples around the globe

  • Histories of the very recent past that investigate patterns of constitutive exclusion that implicate the contemporary moment

  • Histories that document, or challenge, the center-periphery patterns that have characterized the field’s first century

  • Papers in a more theoretical register that interrogate the communicative and sociological patterns through which exclusions, marginalizations, and the hegemony of normative patterns have constituted the received historiography of the field

Reflecting both the conference’s original location in Denver and ICA’s efforts to encourage participation from Latin American researchers, the preconference will make a particular effort to emphasize Latin America as a region. To that end, the preconference organizers are committed to trying to secure Spanish/Portuguese/English interpretation capacities for the video conference and other ways of promoting South-North dialogue.

Abstracts of 300 words (maximum), in Spanish or English, should be submitted no later than 20 December 2020. Draft papers will be pre-circulated in advance of the preconference, with all participants expected to read in advance. Send abstracts to the pre-conference organizers at: exclusionsinhistoryofcomm@gmail.com

Authors will be informed regarding acceptance/rejection for the preconference no later than 10 January 2020. There will be a modest registration fee required to help offset the costs of simultaneous interpretation.

Papers will be considered for publication in a special section of the forthcoming open access journal History of Media Studies (hms.mediastudies.press).

2020-11-20T12:18:41+00:00