[Air-L] CFP: Studying Selfies: Evidence, Affect, Ethics, and the Internet’s Visual Turn

Andrew Herman aherman at wlu.ca
Tue Apr 15 09:42:32 PDT 2014

Please publish this in three weeks so I can use it in my course I am teaching this summer!
Associate Professor
Department of Communication Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5
>>> Kate Miltner  04/15/14 12:27 PM >>>
*Studying Selfies: Evidence, Affect, Ethics, and the Internet’s Visual Turn*
*A special section of the International Journal of Communication (IJoC)*
Guest-edited by:

Dr. Theresa Senft
Master Teacher in Global Liberal Studies
New York University
Terri.senft at nyu.edu

Dr. Nancy Baym
Principal Researcher
Microsoft Research
baym at microsoft.com


The fact that “selfie” was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for
2013 indicates that the selfie is a topic of popular interest. Yet for
scholars, the selfie phenomenon represents a paradox. As an object, the
selfie lends itself to cultural scorn and shaming. As a cultural practice,
however, selfie circulation grows by the moment, moving far beyond the
clichéd province of bored teenagers online. The rapid spread of
camera-enabled mobile phones worldwide means that selfies have become a
global phenomenon. Yet dominant discourses about what selfies are, and what
they mean, tend to be extremely U.S. focused.

In this special section, we aim to provide international perspectives on
selfies.  As an act of production, we are interested in why selfie-making
lends itself to discussions featuring words like “narcissistic” or
“empowering.” As a media genre, we are interested in the relationship of
the selfie to documentary, autobiography, advertising, and celebrity. As a
cultural signifier, we ask:  What social work does a selfie do in
communities where it was intended to circulate, and what happens when it
circulates beyond those communities?

As an emblematic part of the social media’s increased “visual turn,”
selfies provide opportunities for scholars to develop best practices for
interpreting images online in rigorous ways. Case studies of selfie
production, consumption and circulation can also provide much needed
insight into the social dynamics at play on popular social media platforms
like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, WeChat and Tumblr.

We are seeking scholarly articles from diverse fields, and a wide range of
theoretical and methodological approaches, including: media studies,
communication, anthropology, digital humanities, computational and social
sciences, cultural geography, history, and critical cultural studies.

*Possible topics include, but are not limited to:*

*Selfie as discourse:* What is the history (or histories) of the selfie?
How do these histories map to contemporary media and scholarly discourses
regarding self-representation, autobiography, photography, amateurism,
branding, and/or celebrity?

*Selfie as evidence*: What are the epistemological ramifications of the
selfie? How do selfies function as evidence that one attended an event,
feels intimate with a partner, was battered in a parking lot, is willing to
be “authentic” with fans, or claims particular standing in a social or
political community? One uploaded, how do selfies become evidence of a
different sort, subject to possibilities like “revenge porn,” data mining,
or state surveillance?

*Selfie as affect:* What feelings do selfies elicit for those who produce,
view, and/or circulate them? What are we to make of controversial genres
like infant selfies, soldier selfies, selfies with homeless people, or
selfies at funerals? How do these discourses about controversial selfies
map to larger conversations about “audience numbness” and “empathy deficit”
in media?

*Selfie as ethics:* Who practices “empowering” selfie generation? Who does
not? Who cannot? How do these questions map to larger issues of class,
race, gender, sexuality, religion and geography? What responsibilities do
those who circulate selfies of others have toward the original creator of
the photo? What is the relationship between selfies and other forms of
documentary photoan selfies be used as case studies to better
understand the visual turn in social media use? How do selfies “speak,” and
what methods might we develop to better understand what is being said?

*Formatting and Requirements*

To be considered for this collection, a paper of maximum 5,000 words
(including images with captions, footnotes, references and appendices, if
any) must be submitted by *June 15, 2014*. All submissions should be
accompanied by two to three suggested reviewers including their e-mail
addresses, titles, affiliations and research interests. Submissions will
fall under the category of “Features” which are typically shorter than full
research articles.

All submissions must adhere strictly to the most recent version of the APA
styleguide (including in-text citations and references).  Papers must
include the author(s) name, title, affiliation and e-mail address. Any
papers that do not follow these guidelines will not be submitted for peer

The International Journal of Communication is an open access journal (
ijoc.org). All articles will be available online at the point of
publication. The anticipated publication timeframe for this special section
is March 2015.

*Contact Information*

All submissions should be emailed to* ijocselfieissue at outlook.com
 by June 15, 2014*. Late submissions will not
be included for consideration.
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