[EDLING:1043] CFP: Communication in Crisis

Francis M. Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Wed Oct 19 01:29:38 UTC 2005

Call for Papers

Communication in Crisis
Conference hosted by the Graduate Program in Communication
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
March 31-April 1, 2006

Keynote Speaker: Mark Crispin Miller, New York University

The new millennium thus far has been characterized by political, cultural, 
social, and environmental crises. Divisions and hostilities, born of 
transnational, domestic, and intercultural crises, have engendered 
contemporary scenes of communication that range from the repressive to the 
cathartic. This conference proposes to critically examine the notion 
of “crisis” as it shapes the study and practices of communication, and as it 
can be shaped by and through communication. We seek to explore the strategies 
of engagement with crisis employed outside of the discipline of Communication, 
as well as the ruptures that crises potentially engender within the discipline.

In times of crisis, we must ask: How are barriers imposed on the practices and 
outlets of human communication, and does crisis itself contain the potential 
for expanding, rather than limiting, the free flow of expression? How can 
lessons learned through the study of communication be applicable to moments of 
crisis, past and present, in political, economic, racial, ethnic, and sexual 
contexts? On what basis does one determine moral and/or ethical crisis in the 
first place? Is the scholarly tradition of disinterested investigation and 
reflection viable, or desirable, in the face of widespread crisis? Once crisis 
is identified, what forms of social action are effective, if any? In the 
context of crisis, are the theories and methods of Communication flexible, or 
are they in need of reconceptualization?

We invite submissions that interrogate the notion of “communication in crisis” 
from a variety of perspectives and areas of study: film, media, and cultural 
studies; critical theory and philosophy; social interaction; race, gender and 
sexuality; cultural policy and political economy; intercultural communication; 
rhetorical studies; critical pedagogy. Through critical interrogation of the 
notion of “crisis” we hope to generate productive responses to questions of 
theory and method, politics and culture facing communication scholars today.

Possible topics for investigation include, but are not limited to:

• crisis of representation and of recognition 
• crisis in understanding across cultural boundaries 
• crisis in the presence or absence of memory 
• identity crisis (individual, institutional, cultural, ideological, national) 
• crisis in academic freedom and purpose 
• representations of crisis 
• crisis in community (regional, national, imagined) 
• crisis of progressives in the face of moral discourse 
• crisis in the formation/deformation of public spheres 
• crisis and its rhetorical frames 
• commodification of crisis
• crisis of faith in institutions (political, religious, pedagogical, legal) 
• crisis of cultural studies in addressing both the mainstream and the margins 

Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words by January 6, 2006. Inquiries and 
abstracts should be sent to: conference at comm.umass.edu

Conference Organizing Committee
Graduate Program in Communication
University of Massachusetts, Amherst 

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