Call for Papers

Here’s a call for papers for a symposium at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana entitled, Writing Research Without Walls: A Symposium for Interdisciplinary Writing and Collaboration.  The event won’t be until October, 2018, and the deadline for submission is February 1, 2018.  This could be a great opportunity, if you have the time to create a  proposal. The CUPE professional development fund could cover some of the cost.

Social Media and Censorship

Bill Kerr

I attended a number of Canadian Communication Association sessions at Congress and thought you might be interested in a summary of the keynote address by Tarleton Gillespie.

Here is the bio provided by the association:

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, an affiliated associate       professor in Cornell’s Department of Communication and Department of Information Science, a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, co-founder of the blog Culture Digitally, the author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007) and a co-editor of Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT, 2014). His next book (Yale University Press, forthcoming, spring 2018) examines how the governance of content and behavior by social media platforms has broader implications for freedom of expression and the character of public discourse.

His lecture distilled his current research on the quiet content moderation conducted by a complex hierarchy of checkers–paid and “volunteer”–by Twitter, Facebook and Google. Using Facebook’s removal of the famous image from the napalming of Vietnam as an illustrative case, he explained how censorship decisions based on algorithmic triggers and personal bias can determine what is culturally acceptable, often without our knowing it.

Here’s one of his YouTube lectures exploring similar questions in 2010, as well as an interesting article defining “platform.”

Gillespie’s twitter page is a rich source of alerts about ComCult issues. See also his blog, Culture Digitally.

Sometimes Great Conferences are Close to Home



Lake Nipissing South Shore (Northern Ontario Travel)

© Catherine Jenkins 2016

I enjoy travelling for conferences, but last July, I decided to stick closer to home. I submitted a proposal to the inaugural conference of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Arts and Sciences (CICAS—pronounced kick-ass) on The Future of Human(ity) at Nipissing University in North Bay. It was an inexpensive conference to attend. I booked a Porter flight on sale, and stayed in a very comfortable and secure university residence for $40 a night. I explored downtown North Bay the first afternoon: not much to write home about. I did, however, enjoy a Lake Nipissing cruise and explored two handmade carousels near the waterfront.

Not meaning to sound judgemental, but I wasn’t expecting much of this conference. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at the calibre of papers and the international presence (yes, in North Bay). As well as plentiful papers from U Nipissing, other Canadian universities were represented by U of T, York, Waterloo, the Royal Military College, and, of course, Ryerson. A few folks came up from the States, from Georgetown and U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. What was more surprising was representation from Istanbul University, Delhi University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Jilin University, China. One of the keynotes was Canadian, but others hailed from RMIT University of Australia (in Canada for two whole days!), and two presented virtually, one from CUNY, and the other from U of Amsterdam. One delegate, originally from Ghana, had travelled from his university in China, to North Bay for the conference; he experienced a certain culture shock. The conference supported the kind of rich cultural diversity one sometimes sees at European conferences, but not necessarily Canadian ones, and certainly not what I anticipated in a small northern Ontario town.

Papers for this far-reaching interdisciplinary conference ranged from the coalescence of virtual with non-virtual realities, post-humanism in everything from the arts to the military, death tourism, apocalyptic futures, ecology, and big history. In terms of interdisciplinarity and ideas stretching academic conventions, it was one of the richest conferences I’ve attended. The point is that exciting and illuminating conferences can happen anywhere, even close to home, and even in a backwater like North Bay. One doesn’t have to travel, or spend a lot of money, to connect with people doing fascinating work; it can happen in one’s own backyard.

(See post below for abstract of the paper Catherine presented at this conference)


Procom CUPE Conference Presentations


We know some of our members are engaged in interesting research, but we don’t always have a good sense of the specific work they’re doing.  See the links below for sample abstracts of conference presentations given by Rob and Catherine this summer. Congratulations to both of you!

Rob Badjko, “The Design and Implementation of Game-Based Learning Systems in Higher Education and Health Professions Education”

Catherine Jenkins, “Human versus Cyborg Life: Quality versus Quantity”