[Air-l] Call for Participants: Swarm CES 2007 Project

Julian Kilker julian.kilker at gmail.com
Tue Nov 21 15:47:57 PST 2006

 Swarm CES 2007 call for participants

The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is one of the focal points
in the landscape of contemporary consumer culture, but one which as of yet
has been mostly overlooked by scholars of technology, society, and popular
culture. Its massive sprawl—both conceptually and physically—far outweighs
the abilities and resources of any single scholar, so we propose a different
approach: this January 2007, we invite academics from across the humanities
and qualitative social sciences to join us at in Las Vegas for 3 days of
collaborative, on-site research. No predetermined topics, no disciplinary
approach preferred – the only requirements are that you study some aspect of
technology in a social/cultural context, and that you be willing to try a
new approach to research and collaboration.

The premise underlying this "swarm scholarship" is straightforward: if we
each take a crack at CES, but in a coordinated way, the result will be more
interesting, more inclusive, and potentially more insightful than otherwise
possible. We hope to demonstrate that such scholarship can be fast, agile,
and responsive to contemporary events. Costs should be little more than a
plane ticket and in some cases a car rental; housing will be available with
UNLV faculty members, some of whom will be participating in the project, and
free Press/Analyst credentials can be arranged for the trade show itself.

Here's the plan: CES runs from Monday, January 8th through Thursday, January
11th, 2007. We will gather for an introductory dinner Sunday evening (the
7th), in order to meet each other and discuss ideas. Monday and Tuesday are
relatively unstructured in the daytime; participants are encouraged to
attend the show, inductively developing and fine-tuning research questions
and gathering material. In addition, the resources and Special Collections
of the UNLV research library located about one mile from the convention site
will be available. Both evenings, we'll reconvene for dinner and debriefing,
exchanging materials, and discussing ideas and suggestions for the following
day. Finally, on Wednesday morning we'll gather on the UNLV campus for a
more structured activity: 10-minute "idea-in-progress" talks, each followed
by discussion.

After we all head home and decompress from this intense (and hopefully fun)
few days, we'll each write something sooner rather than later, aiming for
generally accessible 20-30 page articles. We'll collectively decide how to
publish the results (potential options include a journal special issue or an
edited volume, as well as more unconventional new media options), but the
goal is to produce a finished work by July 1 (within six months of the show

Interested? Contact us by December 1 to sign up (so that we can plan
appropriately)... We currently have plans for about eight participants.

Julian Kilker, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (kilker at nevada.edu)
Josh Greenberg, George Mason University (jgreenb2 at gmu.edu)
Schedule summary: January 7th-10th, 2007

   - Sun: Participants arrive in Las Vegas throughout the day, gathering
   for dinner and planning that evening.
   - Mon: First day of CES, possible early evening introduction to UNLV Special
   - Tues: Second day of CES, evening discussion of publishing genres and
   - Wed: Presentations with feedback time, leave evening

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