Sunday, June 23, 2019

6 marathon presentations at the ICA-Washington

It was one of my busiest times I have had at the International Communication Association, the largest annual gathering of communication and media scholars. This year it was held in Washington DC. I presented a diverse set of papers at the main and pre-conference and also landed up having a pre-launch for the new University of California Press journal Global Perspectives where I will serve as the Section Editor for the media and communication section.

It kick-started with me speaking alongside a wonderful panel of speakers - Frank Pasquale and Thomas Poell on 'The Moral order of Datafied Publics' at the Justice and Order in the Datafied Society Pre-conference.  My talk was drawn from the recently published paper with First Monday on Benign Dataveillance? Examining novel data-driven governance systems in India and China. Additionally, did some intellectual judo with Joseph Turow as we clearly had different perspectives on how we viewed the datafication systems in developing countries. While I critiqued the Western-centrism and moral righteousness of the West towards these countries on their approach to democracy and the inherent pessimism bias embedded in Western media studies scholarship, Turow had a far darker and deterministic perspective of this "surveillance capitalism" regime.

Other presentations involved me speaking about my upcoming chapter on Oromo activism and social media for the Sage Handbook of Media and Migration due to come out in 2020. Another paper I was very proud to present on was driven by a very smart student of mine Saskia Muhlbach on Platformization of Cultural Production. Our work was chosen out of more than a 100 paper submissions for their Special Issue. Lastly, I presented on my recently published work Decolonizing privacy studies where I push for a rethinking of the field and re-examining the embedded biases in the approaches to this topic. 

Overall pretty crazy time changing gears from one topic to another but worked out well in the end. Was glad to engage with such a variety of disciplinary experts on topics of datafication and democracy, cultural platformization, digital privacy and surveillance and activism and rights.




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