Affect, Propaganda, and Political Imagination Symposium June 7-9, 2019, University of Toronto

This weekend, 16 participants from six countries are coming to University of Toronto to participate in my (SSHRC Connections Grant-funded) invitational Symposium on the subject of “Affect, Propaganda, and Political Imagination”. The invited interdisciplinary scholars will share works-in-progress to be published as an edited book with Taylor and Francis and a special journal issue. The aim of our collaborative symposium is to develop better understandings of the following issues:

Public attention to the targeting of emotion and affect — ideologically labelled “post-truth” politics —  confirms what many scholars have long recognized regarding the central role of emotion and affect in reproducing hegemony.  Yet scholarship in the humanities and social sciences falls far behind the political realities. Despite the “emotional” and “affective” turns across many disciplines over the last 30 years, there remains a glaring need for conversations across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, to develop new approaches to understanding the rapidly changing configurations of affect, propaganda, and politics within digital media landscapes.

Invited participants are: Asma Abbas, Carolyn Pedwell, Adi Kuntsman, Yasmin Jiwani, Merlyna Lim, Ed Cohen, Luke Stark, Leslie Regan Shade, Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, Stephen Kovats, Marnie Ritchie, Rob Hunt, Giulia Evolvi, Dan Adleman, Elizabeth Davis, Michael Primrose, and Hoda Gharib.

Navigating the News Workshop

My fabulous Graduate Research Team will be conducting a workshop with me at a local Toronto Housing Cooperative Community this April 10.

Navigating the News: Panel and Discussion with Professor Megan Boler (Social Justice Education, OISE/University of Toronto) and Navigating News Research Team: Kate Jackson, Gordon Katic, Michael Primrose

Overwhelmed or confused by the news media environment?  How to choose what to read? How to identify trustworthy sources?  Debating whether to quit Facebook? The panel provides an overview of the challenges posed by information overload and digital propaganda in the news media environment. We address:

  • the phenomenon of filter bubbles, fake news, increasing political polarization and public mistrust of media
  • the history of journalistic ethics and commitments to democracy
  • how the alt-right capitalizes on social media to disseminate ideologies, influence and recruit
  • debates about “disconnecting” from Facebook and other social media

We will conclude with a discussion of whether critical reading skills provide sufficient defense in the face of new modalities of propaganda.  

“Democracy and Digital Media Conference,” Media in Transition, MIT May 17, 2019

I am excited to participate in the upcoming conference on “Democracy and Digital Media” in Boston at MIT.  I look forward to presenting on this panel May 17, with the following scholars:

Elizabeth Losh, William & Mary College, “Emoji Democracy: Digital Literacy and Political Communication”
Dave Karpf, George Washington University, “Is the Pace of the Digital Revolution Slowing Down?”
Ethan Zuckerman, Center for Civic Media, MIT, “Unreal”
Megan Boler, University of Toronto, “Affect and Algorithms: Evolving Synergies of Military, Corporate, and Government Propaganda Strategies”

Boler, upcoming 2019 talks

American Educational Research Association, April 5-9, 2019, Toronto

“Skeptical and Affective Literacies: Redefining Critical Media Pedagogies in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era,” Fri, April 5, 12:00 to 2:00pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 100 Level, Room 104A

“Bringing Affects into Education: The Radical Contributions of Feminist Politics of Emotion and Feminist Pedagogies,” Sat, April 6, 10:25 to 11:55am, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Second Floor, City Hall

“Critical Quantitative Methodologies: Measuring Emotion and Affect for Research and Pedagogies,” Mon, April 8, 4:10 to 6:10pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 200 Level, Room 205B

Navigating the News, Panel and Discussion, Toronto, April 10, 2019

Keynote, Smith Lecture, Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society, September 2019

 

Affect, Propaganda, and Political Imagination Symposium

Funded by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connections Grant, I am convening an international summer symposium on Affect, Propaganda, and Political Imagination. Invited participants will participate in the 3-day working Symposium, from which we anticipate an edited book and special journal issue.  Participants include: Carolyn Pedwell (Kent University); Ed Cohen (Rutgers University), Adi Kuntsman (Manchester Metropolitan University ), Merlyna Lim (Carleton University), Yasmin Jiwani (Concordia University), Giulia Evolvi (Ruhr University Bochum), Luke Stark (Microsoft), Leslie Regan Shade (University of Toronto), Asma Abbas ( Simons Rock), Ezekiel Dixon-Roman (University of Pennsylvania), Stephen Kovats (Open Culture Agency), Elizabeth Davis (University of Toronto), Hoda Gharib (University of Toronto), Michael Primrose (University of Toronto).

Affect & Algorithms, 2018-19 McLuhan Working Group

Funded by a 2018-19 award from the McLuhan Centre for Technology and Culture, I have convened a Working Group since September to host visiting speakers and reading group on Affect and Algorithms.  Our Working Group includes faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from across UT Departments. We have hosted the following guests:

Professor Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku), “Conceptualizing Affect and Media” https://susannapaasonen.org/

Dr. Kate Starbird  (University of Washington), “Information and Social Media Warfare and Challenges,” http://faculty.washington.edu/kstarbi/publications.html

Dr. Ian Reilly (Mt. Saint Vincent University),  “Media Hoaxing and The Yes Men” https://msvu.academia.edu/IanReilly

Forthcoming speakers include:

March 1, Professor Tero Karppi discussing his 2018 book Disconnect.

March 31, Dr. Selena Nemorin (University College London), Dr. Whitney Phillips (Syracuse University), and Dr. Sun-Ha Hong (Simon Fraser University), “Mediated Subjects and (Ir)rationalities”.  These invited scholars will also present at the April 1 Monday Night Seminar, McLuhan Centre for Technology and Culture.

“The Affective Politics of Post-Truth Era”: New Findings: SSHRC KSG

I was awarded a Knowledge Synthesis Grant in 2017, “Safeguarding democracies: An interdisciplinary synthesis of digital media studies and the politics of emotion to understand identity, belonging and trust in the post-truth media landscape.”  Working with doctoral student Elizabeth Davis, our research resulted in the following publication:

“The Affective Politics of Post-Truth Era: Feeling Rules and Networked Subjectivity”

The essay can be found through this link:

http://www.academia.edu/36734381/Boler_Davis_Aff_Politics_Network_Subjects