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Call for Participation: Social Media in The Anthropocene

The multiple and expanding uses of social media coincide with a major shift in the academy. Readership and the role of the scholar are being reformulated across the Post-, Digital, and Environmental Humanities.1 This shift in modes of knowledge dissemination, authorship, and reception impacts both the material footprint and the content of scholarly engagement with climate change, environmental degradation, and the problematic term that attempts to sum up our current crisis, the ‘Anthropocene’.2 In response to emerging areas of study in the Humanities and changes in modes of academic expression, a special issue on social media is planned for the journal Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities. The special issue’s focus is Social Media in The Anthropocene.

You are invited to participate in the special issue using several experimental activities to generate an academic paper. Together with other scholars you will test social media platforms and improve understanding of audiences of social media in relation to digital media, research in the Humanities, and resilience narratives. Reflections on the Humanities will explore social media in three ways, first as a process for generating intellectual work and ideas, secondly as a tool for writing about social media and its meaning for scholarship in the Humanities, and thirdly for reviewing using a combination of peer- and open review for crowd-sourcing commentaries and feedback on your contribution to the special issue. As scholarship increasingly ventures into popular venues for communication, complications of address, reception, and ethics ensue.

Contributions to Social Media in The Anthropocene will address some of these key tensions:

  • Boundaries between personal and professional writing
  • Sharing information and copyright
  • Veracity and visibility at odds with access and anonymity
  • Analogue à Digital: phasing out the old or hybridizing the new?

These topics resonate with research on tipping points (Gladwell, 2001) processes in social media, e.g. news gone viral, and experimental design which all contributes to the immediacy of social media and how its content is emphasised or appropriated by target audiences. This is indicative of how time dimensions affect narratives and how narratives are able to travel between media platforms and communities.

Contributors are invited to explore these processes of social media by adding to, or selecting from, a host of tools and platforms for generating content. The suggested social media tools include blogs and concept sketches (e.g. WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Tumblr), videos and podcasts (e.g. Youtube, Vimeo, SoundCloud) and forums (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).

Begin by sending an abstract (50-150 words) on ideas and social media to be used. Feel free to change ideas and tools when relevant. From this using and thinking with social media, you will develop and submit a paper by 3rd of August 2015. When writing up the paper it is encouraged to link and sample how social media has been used generating ideas and text.

When writing up the paper for the special issue, the contributors are encouraged to use linkages and samples of social media since it elucidates evolution of ideas through generating, sharing and commenting work in progress as well as the importance of formats and time dimensions for narratives. Each submission will be subjected to an open peer review process, where contributors’ work is made available for a limited time for public review at an assigned website. Every contributor will be asked to participate in the open peer review process and to offer comments on a minimum of 5 other submissions. After peer review and revisions, you will submit a final paper by 7th of December, 2015. The special issue is planned for publishing April 2016.

Social Media in The Anthropocene is curated by the KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL) in coalition with scholars within and beyond the Humanities.
Contact information and inquiries:

  1. See Wilko Graf von Hardenberg on ‘Digital’ for new platforms to explore within the Humanities, EHL VideoDictionary, KTH 2014. 
  2. See John McNeill on ‘Anthropocene’ for a critical discussion on its multifaceted and conflicting usages and meanings, EHL VideoDictionary, KTH 2014