Contested Territories

A conference of the Media Fields Research Collective and the Film and Media Studies Graduate Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara

March 31 – April 1, 2011

Santa Barbara, California

The Media Fields research collective is excited to announce Contested Territories, its third conference exploring the relationship between media and space. We are interested in work that considers media about contested territories, media as contested territories, as well as the contested territories of media space. As a theme, ”contested territories” encompasses a range of sites, both physical and conceptual, where new possibilities can be born from struggle. The etymology of the terms lends to various interpretations of their meaning. For example, “contested” might immediately evoke thoughts of conflict and dispute but it can also refer to acts of questioning and doubting, or even witnessing and giving testimony. Although “territory” literally references an “earth place,” embedded within the term is also a sense of fear that things are somehow out of order. Territories and their contestations are both imagined and visceral; they are at once formed discursively and felt materially as lived experience.

We are interested in papers that approach the conference theme in multiple and even contradictory ways. Like past Media Fields conferences, Contested Territories is meant to deepen critical explorations of media and space across disciplines. The following topics might serve as a starting point for that conversation:

• representations and simulations
• maps and geographies
• broadcast spectrum and technological platforms
• public, private, and the boundaries in between
• identities, bodies, and performances
• borders and borderlands
• communities, regions, and nations
• programming and distribution
• virtual and digital realms
• niche audiences and fan communities
• war zones, green zones, and camps
• imaginaries and diasporas
• terrorism and counter-terrorism
• activist spaces and protest sites

We seek proposals for individual paper presentations that broadly explore and interpret the theme Contested Territories. Scholars working across departments and disciplines are welcome, though a focus on media and media space is encouraged.

Paper Proposal Due Date

February 15, 2011. Please email your 300-500 word proposal (in Word format) to conference committee co-chairs Ryan Bowles and Ethan Tussey at, making sure to include the words “CONFERENCE PROPOSAL” in the subject line. Please include a brief abstract of your proposed paper topic, name, affiliation, and current contact information. Conference presentations will be 15-20 minutes.

About the Media Fields Research Collective

The Media Fields research collective formed at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007 to advance scholarship on the spatial aspects of a range of media forms, including film, television, radio, and digital media. “Media Fields” encompasses research on representations of space in media, as well as on spatial and environmental characteristics of media forms and practices. We are interested in critical investigations of the many other dimensions of the term “field,” such as its methodological, disciplinary, and epistemological configurations. The collective has convened two successful conferences: the 2007 conference brought together media scholars and practitioners to reflect upon how their projects related to the idea of the “field,” and the 2009 conference showcased research on media infrastructures. In November 2010 the collective launched Media Fields Journal: Critical Explorations in Media and Space, which can be accessed online at