The Media Fields Collective at UC Santa Barbara is excited to announce its fifth biennial conference exploring the intersections of media and space. We propose “encounters” as a framework through which these intricate relationships may be addressed. This term has been strategically deployed to think about exchanges, contact zones, and interactions among agents, institutions, and technologies in various positions of power. Our goal is to reexamine the ways in which the encounter has been deployed and to explore its potential as a critical framework that may be applied to emerging trends across media studies. We invite participants to consider encounter’s potential for creating mutualities among parties and explore the ways particular encounters reflect, overturn, cloud or reverse this potential. How do we grapple with the slippage between the ideal possibilities of an encounter and its uneven actualities? What are theoretical, aesthetic, political and practical fields where we may locate such slippages and what is at stake? How can we think of casual encounters at media interfaces, platforms and screens? How do ways of conceiving proximity, isolation, autonomy, and agency shape notions of an encounter?We encourage submissions that enable us to think of encounters as layered processes that may imply varying degrees of friction and fluidity, productivity and enclosure. Essays could use the idea of the encounter to trouble borders, physical and nonphysical, by identifying seepage, flow, explosion, blockage, creativities across layers in ways that challenge linear understandings of power and agency. Problematizing seemingly stable and selfevident dichotomies like the global/ local, public/private, licit/illicit, and thinking about how they fold into each other may provide an initial framework for envisioning encounters. We are particularly interested in multidimensional viewpoints that bring together the fecund exchanges and pernicious outcomes of these meetings.

The following themes might serve as catalysts for these conversations:

  • Interdisciplinary encounters involving film and media.
  • How can we understand media texts as encounters.
  • Who controls the spaces where these generative encounters may take place.
  • Interactions involving governance and global/local media practices.
  • How may we conceive of “placeless” encounters and how they allow us to rethink space.
  • New types of encounters facilitated by social media and how these encounters shape our identity.
  • Interpenetrations between media and sociocultural discourses of difference.
  • What kinds of meetings are produced through media industrial practices.
  • The interplay between piracy and intellectual property rights.
  • How might hapticity, interface, and software be understood as matters of interactive and technological encounters?.
  • What kinds of encounters are produced through surveillance or clandestinely?

Each panelist will have 15-20 minutes to present his/her paper. Please email a 300-350 word proposal and a brief bio of the author (in Word format) to conference@mediafieldsjournal.org. The deadline for submissions has been extended to 12:00 midnight (PST) of January 18, 2015.

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