[artinfo] From Samizdat to Blogging: Globalization and New Forms of Politics

Megan Boler mboler at oise.utoronto.ca
Sat Dec 8 13:40:23 CET 2007

   From Samizdat to Blogging: Globalization and New Forms of 
Political Expression

  International Workshop organized by the International Samizdat
  [Research] Association in cooperation with OSA Archivum, CEU Department
  of Political Science, CEU Curriculum Research Center and the
  Alternative Culture Beyond Borders Project, to be held in Budapest,
  Hungary 20-21 February 2007 (venue TBA).

  Deadline for submissions: 7 January 2008

  The conference aims to explore the changes in oppositional or
  alternative political expression that have followed in the wake of the
  end of the Cold War.

  The particular focus will be on the changes that have come about as a
  result of the revolution in communications technologies, which has
  brought about new forms and modes of alternative expression, but also
  new challenges to alternative politics. We will be considering the role
  played by the alternative press, gay and ethnic minority media,
  community radio, citizens' political mobilization in e-mail and SMS,
  blogging, and Indymedia.

  Possible questions to be addressed:

  * There are still authoritarian regimes which try to suppress freedom
  of information and expression. What are the means used today to bypass
  various forms of control? We might examine the use of both broadcast
  media and news-based websites in Belarus, Ukraine, and the former
  Yugoslavia, or the use of blogs as a means of personal expression in
  Iran or Russia.

  * Media in many parts of the world are also under growing restriction
  not so much from the state, but rather from political parties
  (populism) and pressure groups, and from market forces (concentration).
  Where can we see instances of alternative political expression that
  work around these extra-governmental concerns? Are these the same or
  different techniques used by those directly opposing government authority?

  * The study of samizdat often ignored those forms of samizdat that did
  not contribute to the cause of developing civil society along the
  democratic model endorsed by leading dissidents. Instances of
  ultra-conservative, nationalist, and anti-semitic samizdat in Russia,
  for example, remain underrepresented and under-explored in the critical
  literature about samizdat. How can we avoid making this same mistake
  when transferring the discussion to today's media environment?

  * The new media offer a powerful instrument against the pressures
  listed above. At the same time they are themselves subject to control,
  regulation and commercialization. How, for example, can we better
  understand the combination of governmental, commercial, and cultural
  restrictions that regulate political expression on the internet in China?

  Organizers: Jessie Labov (US), Barbara Falk (Canada), Olga 
Zaslavskaya (Hungary)

  Participants are encouraged as well to bring their own case studies and
  questions to the workshop, as it will ideally be shaped as much by
  their specific interests as the issues outlined above.

  The workshop is recommended to faculty with research and teaching
  interests in communications studies, cultural studies, media and
  multimedia studies, art theory and history, sociology, political
  science and other areas of study dealing with contemporary forms of
  political expression.

  The workshop will be organized in the framework of the CEU CRC session.
  Participants from the CRC target region can apply for fellowships at
  www.ceu.hu/crc by 7 January 2008

  for paper submissions:
  samizdatworkshop2008 at alternmativeculture.org
  for questions:
  Jessie Labov jlabov at stanford.edu
  Olga Zaslavskaya zaslavsk at ceu.hu

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