Call For Papers: Theorizing Communication from the South

Call for Papers: Communication Theory Special Issue

Theorizing Communication from the South

Guest Editors:
Mohan J. Dutta, National University of Singapore
Mahuya Pal, University of South Florida

In this special issue, we take forward emerging calls for decolonizing communication to explore communication theories anchored in the cartographies of the Global South. We encourage submissions that question assumptions regarding internationalization, de-Westernization, and globalization, along with other key concepts, and that consider new directions for approaches to theorizing communication. Submissions should engage with questions concerning the production of knowledge, the role of communication in global relations, and the potential for communication to contribute to advancing imaginaries of the Global South.

The special issue will offer opportunities for theory construction that challenge the Eurocentric bases of communication theories, taking seriously scholars from and in the Global South. In doing so, we hope to foster new grounds for debate, conversation, and practice relevant to communication scholarship. While our emphasis is precisely on theorizing communicative imaginations from the South, scholars situated in the Global North engaged with the practical politics of centering theories from the Global South are also welcome.

The deadline for submission of full papers is 1 December 2017.

For submission guidelines, see To submit, go to For queries regarding the Special Issue’s theme, please contact Mohan Dutta ( and Mahuya Pal (

CNM Research Talk: Deep Learning, An Overview And An Application To Sound Design- Presented by Lonce Wyse

Advances in deep learning AI systems are changing human-computer interaction in many different aspects of our lives.

In this illuminating talk, Associate Professor Lonce Wyse will introduce deep learning, reflect on its impact on new media research and practices, and delve into recent research on deep learning and style-transfer in sound design.

22 September 2017
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-33
CNM Meeting Room

Register at:

Communicative Challenges in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 report, the World Health Organization discusses the burgeoning yet underestimated popularity of traditional medicine. Recognising that the dominance of western medicine has created unequal structures which reinforce the legitimacy of different healing systems, the report emphasises the importance of understanding the needs and uses of traditional medicines in healthcare systems.

CNM’s Professor Mohan Dutta, PhD candidate Pauline Luk, researchers Lily Lee and Desiree Soh tackle this urgency by establishing a groundbreaking study to examine how decisions made by patients and practitioners help promote Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a viable means of healing. 25 TCM practitioners (the quintessential sinseh) and 51 TCM patients were interviewed between 2015 and 2016, where they described their practices of applying TCM, common meanings, daily habits of using TCM, concerns in communicating their choices in using TCM, the challenges they experience, and their day-to-day negotiations of these challenges.

The results are instructive. They reveal that both culture and structure can either complement or challenge the use of traditional medicine in Singapore’s multi-ethnic society. Patients, TCM practitioners, doctors trained in western medicine and the general public participate in the negotiation of TCM, constituted amid cultural constructions of TCM, and are guided by the overarching structure of healthcare in Singapore. Significantly, communication continues to play a critical role in shaping interpretations and understanding the key concepts and uses of TCM.

In a broader climate that privileges bio-medicine, the study demonstrates the advantage of underpinning policy decisions on TCM to conversations that are already taking place on the ground. This would help encourage collaboration between doctors trained in Western medicine and TCM practitioners, thus improving patient access to care in a distinctly local context of multiple healing traditions.

Do you use TCM in your life? Why not extend your thoughts here? If you need more information on this important research, reach out to us.

CNM Research Talk: Making BIG Talk- Presented by Kalina Silverman

Three years ago, Kalina Silverman wanted to see what could happen if she approached strangers and skipped the small talk to have more meaningful conversations with them instead. She made a Youtube documentary, where it went viral. As a result, she started delivering workshops, and even a TEDx talk on the subject. It now has > 3,000,000 views on YouTube, and has garnered feedback from people around the world who have shared their stories of making BIG TALK. The feedback she received from Singapore in particular, inspired her to come here to pursue research around how Big Talk can be used to bridge communication gaps across different kinds of relationships.

8 September 2017
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-33
CNM Meeting Room

Register at:

CNM Research Talk: Hollywood Made In China- Presented by Aynne Kokas

China is about to become the largest theatrical box office in the world, yet only allows a limited number of foreign films to be imported each year. To overcome China’s film import quota and thereby gain access to the Chinese market, Hollywood studios have begun to engage in a range of collaborative ventures. In Feb 2016, Shanghai-based US-China joint venture Oriental DreamWorks released Kung Fu Panda 3, which went on to dominate the box office worldwide. Disney opened its first theme park in Chinaa USD 5.5 billion investment– a mere four months later. Cash-rich Chinese conglomerates like the Dalian Wanda Group have begun securing major stakes in foreign studios, spurring US government efforts to regulate foreign direct investment in Hollywood. Prof Aynne Kokas will deliver a talk that demonstrates how the growth of China’s media market is transforming Hollywood from the inside out.

23 August 2017
4:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-41
CNM Meeting Room

Raka Shome Receives Prestigious Charles Woolbert Award

We’re really proud to announce that CNM’s Dr Raka Shome has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the National Communication Association’s (NCA) prestigious Charles Woolbert Award for her work in postcolonial studies and its impact on the field. Of particular note is the essay, Postcolonial Approaches to Communication: Charting the Terrain, Engaging the Intersections, which Raka co-authored with Radha Hegde.

The NCA states:

…the award recognizes a journal article or book chapter whose influence has grown with time, has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication phenomena, and is reflective of the diversity of the discipline and its scholarly pursuits. Thus, the award will be reserved for an article or book chapter that at the time of the award is in its 10th through 15th year in print (i.e., published in 2002–2007 for consideration in 2017) and has not previously received an NCA-sponsored award (though previous winners of interest group-level awards are eligible). The recipient will be recognized at the awards ceremony during the NCA Annual Convention and will receive a plaque supported by Life Member Fund. A panel about the recipient’s scholarship will also take place at the NCA Annual Convention in the following year.


Dr Raka Shome joins an honour roll of other distinguished award winners like Linda Putnam, Rod Hart, Dennis Mumby, Carole Blair and Ed Schiappa.


Edited by Mohan J. Dutta & Raka Shome, National University of Singapore

International Journal of Communication

We are inviting high quality papers on mobilities and communication from interdisciplinary scholars working in the Asian context.

The global movement of capital, commodities, and labor is constituted amid political and economic structures that render salient certain meanings of mobility while at the same time erasing other possibilities for interpreting mobility. Further, the global movement of capital, while enabling and encouraging mobility for some, also render many others immobile, disconnected/erased from the possibilities of movement. To that extent, mobility and immobility are not binaries but are interrelated—an interrelation that expresses and captures the numerous desires and violences of globalization. The figure of the migrant and the various processes of migration make these relations visible while rendering invisible other imaginations of migrancy. Linked to this are mediated and communication practices—such as technology, films, music, social media, remittances, cultural commodities, and more—that play an intrinsic role in shaping and informing various types of migratory movements or lack therefor. Additionally, the transnational migration of communication practices themselves constitute new forms of mobilities and immobilities, agency and identity formations, imaginations and desires.

Communication is central to these above-mentioned processes. For example, technology firms are constantly developing new communication language through software that requires a constant flow of transnational expert workers who are often treated in problematic ways (in terms of cultural recognition and wages) in “host” nations. Similarly, finance capital globally circulates through communicative values and processes (including migrant remittances to their nation of “origin’—a process itself underwritten by non-western values of domesticity and familiality). Transnational movements of celebrities and popular culture (for instance, in Asia) serve diasporic populations in many parts of Asia that have implications for their migrant experience as well as the production of a transnational Asian identity. Disempowered and often stateless migrants (for instance migrant Bangladeshi workers in Asia) connect to or engage their music in their diasporic situations —to produce some sense of cultural security in an otherwise coercive exploitative condition (lacking decent food, shelter, wages and more).

Relations of gender, sexuality, religion, class and nationality are central considerations in these phenomena since migration itself is often wrought with gender and religious violences, discrimination and exploration of poor laborers, and the devaluing of peoples of particular nations in global migratory practices (for instance, White Europeans or Americans are usually seen as “expatriates” while the word migration is reserved for mobilities of non-western peoples even within non-western ‘host’ nations).

Communication Studies as a formal field has hardly paid attention these issues—issues that require urgent exploration from a communication perspective. Such an exploration will further move the field of Communication Studies into considerations of the many dilemmas and challenges of the 21st century that are grounded in the politics of migration.

This edited Special Section seeks to comprehend such phenomena, with specific attention to Asia. It will examine the interplay of communication (broadly considered)—particularly mediated practices—and im/mobilities, attending to how the intersection between the two illustrate the movement of people, labor, representations, commodities, technology and more, across global circuits of culture, economy, and geopolitics.

Submissions will be limited to 6000 words, all-inclusive.

We first solicit detailed abstracts of approximate 500-600 words.

Due: April 31, 2017. Please send abstract to Mohan Dutta at

Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by May 31, 2017.

Final papers due: July 31, 2017. Please submit to Mohan Dutta at

Please follow the author guidelines at


Research Talk – The Design of Physical Rehabilitation Games: The Physical Ambient Abstract Minimalist Game Style

Mr Niels Quinten will be giving a talk on 13 April 2017 (Thursday), from 2 PM to 3 PM. His talk is titled “The Design of Physical Rehabilitation Games: The Physical Ambient Abstract Minimalist Game Style”, and will be held at the CNM Meeting Room.

Abstract: Physical neurorehabilitation is essential for a large number of individuals who have physical impairments and disabilities as a consequence of a stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS). Through neurorehabilitation therapy, people may regain the physical abilities they have lost or retain the physical abilities they have and thereby maximize their quality of life. Based on insights from previous research, we believe digital games can transform often tedious rehabilitation experiences into pleasurable game experiences, which may increase the intensity and length of time spent on the rehabilitation and eventually its efficiency.

However, the translation of neurorehabilitation therapy into digital games presents a number of challenges. One challenge is the integration of physical rehabilitation exercises into the mechanics and dynamics of a stimulating game. Digital games are difficult to design even without the rehabilitation context, and constructively adding specific physical exercises makes this even harder. A second challenge is digitally representing the exercises in a manner that takes into consideration the physical, cognitive and visual impairments of persons who have had a stroke or persons with MS. The physical, cognitive and visual skills needed to play an off-the-shelf game are often high, and may potentially cause difficulties for a target audience that does not fully possess these skills.

In this presentation, I describe how we created the novel physical abstract minimalist rehabilitation game style in order to addresses the above two challenges. Specifically, its design process as well as four resulting game artifacts is discussed. The results of this research present one possible view of how a digital game world can be constructed for rehabilitation games starting from physical exercises and game mechanics while taking into consideration a number of physical, cognitive, and visual impairments.

About the Speaker:

Niels Quinten is an interaction artist, designer and researcher. He is currently roaming through Asia in search of interesting and thought provoking conversations. Before that, he was a lecturer and research coordinator at the Leuven University College of Arts in Belgium. He received his PhD in audiovisual and visual arts at Hasselt University performing practice-based research on the creative design of physical rehabilitation games, his work has been published and exhibited internationally.





Venue: AS6, 03-33, CNM Meeting Room

Date:  13 April 2017 (Thursday)

Time: 2 PM – 3 PM

Repertoires of Collective Action in the IT Capital of India

In recent years, better access to the internet has dramatically changed the character of collective civic and political actions. It’s a global phenomenon that Dr Anuradha Rao and Prof Mohan J Dutta from NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media investigate in an article published in Communication Monographs (November 2016). They pay special attention to the motivations and collective actions of Internet-based urban civil society groups in Bangalore, India’s IT City.

Their paper identifies a range of factors that influence collective action, including attitudes toward the Internet as a tool for democratic engagement, ideological motivations, and the tensions that seethe between traditional and new civil society actors in the city. The authors argue that such ethnographic enquiry is significant in highlighting the potential impacts as well as dangers of any collective action that is fueled by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The paper recommends more of such grounded assessments of the nuances, limits, and impacts of ICT application in collective action within the complex, developing societies in Asia.

How Digital Media Designers Can Help Field Biologists

Dr Andrew Quitmeyer, who recently starred in the groundbreaking Discovery Channel documentary “Hacking the Wild”, has been on a lifelong quest to investigate the boundless potential that digital media can play in biological field work. Now a faculty member of NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media, Andrew will present at Creativity and Cognition 2017, detailing his exciting collaboration with field biologists. The outcome of the research seeks not only to create, but also evaluate a design framework for inventing digital devices that help to explore animal behaviours in their natural habitat.

Andrew’s paper quickly shares the main concepts and theories from the fields that form Digital Naturalism’s foundation, and describes the key challenges emerging from these critical intersections between field biology and computational media. It then reviews the development of this research’s hybrid methodology that was designed specifically for its multi-year series of Qualitative Action Research fieldwork carried out at a rainforest field station.

This paper analyses the resulting on-site ethnographies, workshops, design projects, and interactive performances, whose takeaways are synthesised into design guidelines for digital-natural media. The framework, itself, is then evaluated via an extra iteration of fieldwork and the results discussed. Finally, the paper identifies targets for continued research development. Further areas of interest, which will promote Digital Naturalism’s progression into its own topic of study, will also be explored.

With Andrew’s seminal work, designers now possess a reliable set of guidelines to develop digital tools for field biologists. The framework is important precisely because they strive to support their scientific process from the ground up. This can lead to better tools allowing the scientists to pose new questions about the natural world.