The Graduate program at Simon Fraser University School of Communication hosts an annual conference, CONDUITS, this year entitled Ex:tension.
The 2023 CONDUITS Conference will take place on Friday, May 12th, in-person at Simon Fraser University's Harbour Centre Campus in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
We are very excited to host 28 presenters from universities across Canada and the United States, as well as a keynote presentation from Dr. Rianka Singh. Panels will be chaired by a host of academics from Simon Fraser University. See the full schedule here.
Register to attend here. If you are presenting at the conference, you will be automatically registered.
With keynote speaker
Dr. Rianka Singh
York University Department of Communication and Media Studies
Platforms as Extensions of Power: A Feminist Media Theory of Objects That Elevate
This talk proposes a new feminist media theory that positions the platform as a media object that elevates and amplifies some voices over others while rendering marginal resistance tactics illegible. I develop the term “Platform Feminism” to describe an emerging view of digital platforms as an always-already useful form of empowerment. I argue that Platform Feminism has come to structure and dominate popular imaginaries of feminist politics.
Rianka Singh is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Media Studies at York University. Singh’s research is primarily concerned with the relationship between platforms and feminist politics. She is co-editor with Dr. Sarah Sharma of Re-Understanding Media: Feminist Extensions of Marshall McLuhan (Duke University Press, 2022). Singh’s research has been published in First Monday, Feminist Media Studies and ADA: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology and the Canadian Journal of Communication. She is currently working on a monograph titled Platform Feminism and the Politics of Elevation.
Call for Proposals
The graduate program at Simon Fraser University’s School of Communication annual CONDUITS conference invites scholars to think through our 2023 theme of Ex:tension
Extension, the act of lengthening, is a dynamic movement, and Marshall McLuhan suggests that the use of media as a tool is a mutual shaping process: elongation shapes the direction and understanding of that medium, and in turn, the use of media to extend shapes how we make sense of the world.
Since its publication in 1964, McLuhan’s theory of extension has been subject to critique in both scholarly and non-scholarly work. Scholars have suggested such conceptualization as being too deterministic (Postman, 1985; Carey, 1989; Williams, 1990; Poster, 2010), limited in scope (Murray, 1997; Bolter and Grusin, 1999; Hayles, 1999), reductive (Williams, 1974; Debrays, 1996; boyd, 2014), insular and narrow-minded (Rushloff, 2013; Kittler, 2002), optimistic (Carr, 2010; Lanier, 2010), and inattentive to dimensions of power and control (Dean, 2010; Lovnik, 2011; Turkle, 2011; Noble, 2018).
More recent interventions have emphasized that McLuhanian extension is both singular and universalizing. It is not all bodies being extended, but rather one very specific body, resulting in a theory that doesn’t meaningfully consider the ways media and technology structure contemporary experiences of race, gender, sexuality, and class (Sharma & Singh, 2022). Rather than entirely disregard McLuhan, these interventions suggest that we instead think about his work as a springboard to explore the more generative dimensions and understandings woven into extension.
Drawing upon the idea that McLuhanian extension doesn’t account “for everything and everyone” and is “up for grabs” (Sharma, 2022, p. 180), the theme of Ex:tension encourages emergent and contemporary understandings, reworkings, expansions, complications, deepenings, remixes, resistances, and refusals of what technological and mediated extension is, was, and can be. We also invite work that considers the gaps, fractures, and slippages along extended lines, as well as explorations of liminal spaces that negotiate the boundaries of mediated and technological extension.
Submissions that engage with the theme of Ex:tension might include, but are not limited to the following:
Feminist, environmental, Indigenous, queer, critical race, intersectional, and/or interdisciplinary theories and approaches that illuminate and animate contemporary forms of mediated and technological extension
Over/extensions of state or corporate power and/or the corresponding contestations of that power
Studies of social movements such as the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising, Extinction Rebellion, and Indigenous Rising
Considerations and practices of futurisms and radical imaginaries through creative communication
Case studies of intertextual extension and immersion into/of emerging media technologies
Extractivist and neo-colonial ideologies of overextension in environmental and data studies
Reflections on mediated and technological formations of compassion and care
Popular culture as extension of pedagogy, informal learning, and entertainment as education
Digital in/visibility and the positioning of migrants in liminal space through questions of identity, representation, sovereignty, voice, and subjectivity
Political economic analyses of creative and technological industries, platforms, and labour dimensions
The CONDUITS organizing committee values the interdisciplinary nature of the graduate program at the School of Communication at SFU, and as such, we welcome submissions from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Past presenters at CONDUITS have come from a wide range of different fields and disciplines, including media studies, film production, geography and urban studies, environmental sciences, computer sciences, anthropology, gender studies, sociology, and political science.
Submission guidelines and additional details
We welcome individual and co-authored proposals for paper presentations as well as artistic interventions:
Submissions should include an abstract of approximately 200-250, providing a brief description of the topic’s relevance to the conference theme, keywords, a title, and the authors’ full name(s), as well as institutional affiliations, if any. We also ask for a short biography of 50-100 words, and contact information of the presenter(s). Paper presentations must plan to accommodate, at maximum, 15-minute individual presentations.
Art works can be audio-visual, up to 10 minutes in length (mp3 or mp4), or up to 10 images (JPG, PNG, or GIF). Submissions may take the form of a short excerpt, up to a third of the length of the final submission. Please include a short (50-100 words) description of the topic’s relevance to the conference theme, keywords, a title, and the authors’ full name(s), as well as institutional affiliations, if any. We also ask for a short biography of 50-100 words, and contact information of the presenter(s).
The conference will have a hybrid format. We are committed to creating an accessible conference for everyone. For participants attending the conference in-person, we are pleased to welcome you at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver Campus at the Harbour Centre. We will also facilitate Zoom panels, discussions, and presentations for those unable to make it to the SFU campus. If you have any questions or requests for accommodation, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.