Call for Papers – The 17th Chinese Internet Research Conference

The 17th Chinese Internet Research Conference  “Digital Cultures: Chinese Internet and Beyond”   28 June 2019, Friday Singapore Co-organized by National University of Singapore & Murdoch University, Singapore and Australia   Preamble The Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore, together with Murdoch University, Singapore … Continue reading

CNM and ARI Research Talk: The Question of China and the West in World Philosophy- Presented By Steve Fuller

Abstract:

This talk will survey the changing relationship between the ‘West’ and ‘China’ as representative of certain cultural and philosophical ideals, especially the contemporary significance of that relationship, given the recent re-emergence of China as a global superpower. In this context I will pay special attention to the claims made in Bryan van Norden’s new book, Taking Back Philosophy: A Multicultural Manifesto, which appeals in part to Chinese philosophy as a foil for Western philosophy.

Speaker: 

Steve Fuller is Auguste Comte Professor of Social Epistemology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick, UK. Originally trained in history and philosophy of science, Fuller is best known for his foundational work in the field of ‘social epistemology’, which is the name of a quarterly journal that he founded in 1987 as well as the first of his more than twenty books. From 2011 to 2014 he published a trilogy relating to the idea of a ‘post-‘ or ‘trans’ human future, all published with Palgrave Macmillan under the rubric of ‘Humanity 2.0’. His most recent books are Knowledge: The Philosophical Quest in History (Routledge 2015) and The Academic Caesar (Sage 2016). His works have been translated into over twenty languages. He was awarded a D.Litt. by the University of Warwick in 2007 for sustained lifelong contributions to scholarship. His latest book, Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game, is published by Anthem Press in 2018.

24 April 2018
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS8, #04-04
ARI Seminar Room

If you are an NUS Staff or Student, register online at: https://cnmn.us/taSr6

 

CNM Research Talk: Queer will: Hikikomori as willful subjects- Presented By Dr Rosemary Overell

Abstract:

This presentation considers hikikomori as willful subjects. The hikikomori are a portion of the Japanese population who withdraw into their homes. These are mostly young people (between 15 and 35) and mostly young men. The focus of this presentation is how hikikomori constitute a challenge to dominant national imaginaries of Japan as a ‘corporate-family system’ (Allison 2013). This presentation analyses popular media and psychiatric representations of hikikomori, particularly from Saitô’s (2013) work as exemplifying Ahmed’s (2014) notion of willful subjects. It is argued that the hikikomori’s apparent willfulness produces them as Queer subjects who are out of place and pace with the dominant heteronormative, masculinist culture of contemporary Japan.

Speaker: 

Rosemary Overell completed a doctorate, majoring in cultural studies and Japanese studies, at the University of Melbourne in 2012. Her thesis, Brutal: Affect Belonging In, and Between, Australia and Japan’s Grindcore Scenes, explored how fans of grindcore metal music feel ‘at home’ in scenic spaces. Rosemary’s research included two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Osaka, Japan, as well as in Melbourne, Australia. Rosemary has taught for a number of years at the University of Melbourne in cultural studies, Asian studies, media studies and cultural geography. Between 2011 and 2013 she co-ordinated subjects on popular music cultures and lifestyle and consumer cultures.

In 2014, Rosemary published her book Affective Intensities in Extreme Music Scene with Palgrave. Currently, she is teaching two second-year communications subjects and working on nikkeijin migrants and youth cultures in Nagoya, Japan. She is also interested in experimental ethnographic methodologies.

She is also a member of the Performance of the Real research theme steering group.

20 April 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

NUS Central Library
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

If you are an NUS Staff or Student, please register at cnmn.us/queer

Random Blends 2018

Random Blends is 10 years old. It’s the showcase event for NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media, and will feature over 25 compelling projects by students, alumni and staff. Playing on the prefix ‘re’- commonly used in reduce, reuse and recycle– Random Blends is our re:ply to an environment desperately crying out for change. We challenge your ideas about the environment through interactive and out-of-this-world exhibits. Experience innovative applications of technology, and join us as we explore the socio-political environments that surround us. Immerse yourself in thought-provoking artifacts, stories and campaigns that are firmly anchored in urgent social issues.

Together with Zero Waste SG, PM Haze, Seastainable Co.,The Sustainability Project, Books and Beer, and Haikini, CNM invites you to a space of collective responses, thoughts, emotions and hopes for environmental sustainability. Be part of a unique eco-sustainability movement that blends modern tech with environmental awareness.

Random Blends will be at University Town on 5 – 6 April 2018. Join us!

CNM Research Talk: Defamiliarisation and Poetic Gameplay in Art Games- Presented By Assistant Professor Alex Mitchell

Abstract:

Certain video games tend to be perceived as somehow different from the mainstream, not conforming to the expectations that most players bring to games. One common feature of these art games is the way that they often defamiliarize some aspect of the game experience by undermining player expectations so as to achieve a poetic effect.

Starting from Shklovsky’s notion of defamiliarization and Utterback’s concept of the poetic interface, Alex Mitchell draw parallels between poetic language and the techniques used in games to create what he refers to as poetic gameplay: the structuring of the actions the player takes within a game, and the responses the game provides to those actions, in a way that draws attention to the form of the game, and by doing so encourages the player to reflect upon and see that structure in a new way.

In this talk, Alex will provide an overview of the work done to develop the concept of poetic gameplay, including a series of close readings of art games, empirical studies of player response to art games, and the development of a collection of “literary devices” that appear in these games. He will also discuss ongoing work to describe these literary devices in the form of design patterns, and preliminary results from a study of the use of these patterns by game designers. He will then conclude by sketching out proposed future work to explore the relationship between defamiliarization and repeat experience of interactive artworks, and to understand the relationship between poetic gameplay and aesthetic experience.

Speaker: 

Alex Mitchell teaches interactive media design in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Alex’s current research investigates various aspects of computer-based art and entertainment, focusing in particular on games and interactive stories. He has a BSc and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, Canada, and a PhD from the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering. His recent publications include “Rereading and the SimCity Effect in Interactive Stories” in Interactive Storytelling (2015), “Making the Familiar Unfamiliar: Techniques for Creating Poetic Gameplay” in DiGRA/FDG 2016, and “Making it Unfamiliar in the Right Way: An Empirical Study of Poetic Gameplay”, in DiGRA 2017. His creative work has been shown at venues such as the Displacements exhibition (13 Wilkie Terrace, 2013); Passports: Through the Red Dot Into Other Worlds (Lorong 24A Shophouse Series, 2013); Seni Mini (Mi Casa Su Casa, 2014); Print Lab (Grey Projects, 2014); Interstitium (Lorong 24A Shophouse Series, 2015); 50 Obsessions (LaSalle College of the Arts, 2015); and Repurposing Nostalgia (42 Petain Road, 2016). His fiction has been published in Dark Tales, Balik Kampung 2, and in several issues of the Twenty-Four Flavours series, a collection of flash fiction published by Math Paper Press. He was the general chair for the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (ICIDS) 2014, and is a member of the ICIDS steering committee.

23 March 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

NUS Central Library
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

Register at cnmn.us/gameplay.

Student Showcase: Take 3, Fight HPV- Prevent Cervical Cancer

Join CNM students at University Town, who are currently doing an Independent Study Module to outreach to female students about HPV vaccinations. Where to find them? Date: 15 – 16 March 2018 Venue: University Town Plaza Other Resources: Microsite: https://take3fighthpv.wordpress.com/ Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/take3fightHPV/

Opinion: Rahul Gandhi In Singapore- The Truth Vs The Fake

Professor Mohan Dutta discusses the controversy generated by a question and answer (Q&A) session with Mr. Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition party, Indian National Congress, during his visit to the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. Gandhi’s style of participation in the question and answer session, the article argues, teaches the world the spirits of argumentation and dialogue that form the soul of Indian democracy.

Theoretically and empirically, I have many points of disagreement with Rahul Gandhi. I disagree with his unfettered celebration of connectivity and fiber optic cables when narrating the story of India at the cost of obfuscating the narratives of poverty, in access, and inequality.

Source: The Citizen

CNM-CARE Research Talk: Rethinking Censorship In An Age of Authoritarian Resilience- Presented By Professor Cherian George

 

Abstract:

Most discussions on media freedom implicitly contrast it to totalitarian control. While it is intuitively appealing to think of liberty as the opposite of tyranny, this binary framework does not help us understand how today’s authoritarian regimes sustain themselves. Integrating empirical research on censorship practices, this presentation considers how media policies contribute to authoritarian resilience, with a particular focus on Asia, including Singapore. Although not ideologically opposed to spectacularly repressive methods, many states have shifted to stealthier forms of censorship. They also apply differential levels of censorship, allowing selective liberalisation to enhance their legitimacy among publics and co-opt large segments of the media and culture industries, while stifling communication that would potentially challenge their political dominance.

Speaker: 

Cherian George is professor of media studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. He researches media and politics, including freedom of expression, censorship and hate propaganda. He is currently working on a book on media and power in Southeast Asia for Cambridge University Press. His previous books include Hate Spin: The Manufacture of Religious Offense and its Threat to Democracy (MIT Press, 2016), and Freedom from the Press: Journalism and State Power in Singapore (NUS Press, 2012).

28 March 2018
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

VENUE CHANGED!

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Block AS4, #01-19

Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium
University Town

Register at cnmn.us/censorship.

CNM Research Talk: Journalism and Media in the Age of Trump- Presented By Professor Lars Willnat

Abstract:

This past year, the political press in the U.S. has faced relentless assault from President Trump. Media organisations are accused of bias and for circulating fake news. At the same time, Facebook, Twitter and other digital media have disrupted mainstream media, offering users a continuous stream of news curated by proprietary algorithms. While these developments have undermined the credibility of traditional media, persistent scandals in the White House have provided the U.S. press with an opportunity to demonstrate that Journalism Matters. Professor Lars Willnat examines the current state of the media in the U.S. and abroad, and delve into issues of political polarisation and populism.

Speaker: 

Lars Willnat is the John Ben Snow Research Professor, an endowed chair, in the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. He was previously the director of the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, and earlier taught at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He also served as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Malaysia and South Korea and currently holds a 1000-Talent Chair Professorship at Tianjin Normal University in China. His teaching and research interests include journalism studies, media effects on political attitudes and behaviors, cross-national and comparative survey research, and international communication. He is author of more than 50 journal articles and book chapters and coeditor of five books: The American Journalist in the Digital Age (2017), Social Media, Culture and Politics (2014), The Global Journalist in the 21st Century (2012), Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods in Political Science (2010), and Political Communication in Asia (2009).

16 March 2018
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

NUS Central Library
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

Register at cnmn.us/ageoftrump.

Student Videographer: Fast Fashion, What’s Your Waste Size?

With the domination and affordability of the fast fashion industry, many Singaporeans are quick to exchange their old clothes for new fashion trends. What many may not realize however, is the increasing amount of textile waste produced as a result of our ‘buy and throw’ consumption behavior. How then can we tackle the problem of textile waste in Singapore?

CNM Alumnus Ashok Kumar Scales New Heights With Charitable Cause

Now a celebrity with a unique social initiative, Ashik Ashokan is a CNM alumnus who is making waves, one charitable cause at a time.

Heart2Climb was founded by Ashik and his former Innova Junior College classmate Ashok Kumar in 2014. To date, they have raised raised a total of $200,000. They are currently embarking on a new adventure to the world’s highest volcano Ojos Del Salado in South America. They aim to be the first Singaporeans to complete the 7 volcanic summits.

The beneficiary of their present expedition is the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH), which supports Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents with certified low vision or blindness. The motivation behind this climb is to highlight the challenges that the handicapped face on a daily basis. According to Ashik, they climb mountains every day.

Ashik currently works as a digital strategist with VML Southeast Asia & India. He specialises in target audience analysation and also client liaison.

Central to his success are the many opportunities that were available while he was a Communications and New Media student in NUS. As a hardworking sub-editor of the NUS CNM magazine Campus Eye, Ashik helped cover hot topics like the 2015 General Elections- interviewing key politicians and the public.

Working with companies such as Grab and Sony Pictures after graduation, he developed a keen sense of working closely with companies and other initiatives. In the initial stages of Heart2Climb, he had a difficult time trying to secure sponsorships. However, through sheer grit and hard work, he succeeded in convincing Starhub and RedBull to sponsor his first expedition and social initiative.

Written by Aby Tirza, CNM Student, Year 2

CNM’s Participation at Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Marie Angela Ordoñez recently presented at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Papua New Guinea Communications Capacity Building Workshop.

Held at the historic Port Moresby between December 7 and 8, the workshop aims to help the government of Papua New Guinea foresee and overcome logistical and communications challenges as the country prepares to host the APEC forums in 2018.

The presentations were based on her experience in coordinating operations as a government communications officer when Philippines hosted APEC in 2015, with topics spanning from media evaluation and messaging traction, to crisis management, and inter-agency coordination and media operations.

Marie, or Magel as we know her in CNM, is currently a 2nd year Master’s candidate. She is working on her thesis with Dr. Elmie Nekmat to examine the formation and effects of public opinion perception on individual expression and information credibility evaluation in social media.

We wish Magel the best for her studies and look forward to her future contribution to the field!

Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India- By Assistant Professor Taberez Ahmed Neyazi

Any generalisation about the Indian media is problematic because there are diverse media systems within the country. The Hindi language media has the widest circulation, reaching almost 40 per cent of India’s total population, and the Hindi- speaking population accounts for over 40 per cent of the national population and is regionally concentrated in the northern and central parts of India. The success of the Hindi media should not be compared with other vernacular language media such as Tamil and Bengali, because the Hindi language press enjoyed state support both during the colonial period and in newly independent India that helped the Hindi media attain privileged status. Hindi, together with other vernacular media, has a far wider reach than the indigenous English media, catering to both elite and popular constituencies, and is a politically significant player. While the English language media is often described as the ‘national media’, its reach is limited to a much smaller percentage of the population – the English-speaking elites and the middle class. The process of political communication is, therefore, more nuanced because of the complexity and diversity of the Indian news media market than in most countries.

Moreover, the complexities associated with the size of the political economy of India requires special focus on how ethnic, religious and sectarian diversity impacts media markets/systems, political campaigning, protest movements and grassroots mobilisation. This is largely because of the many languages in India and the existence of numerous regional and local media systems in vernacular languages. Despite the fact that similar large economic forces operate in the globalising Indian market place, there are still stark socio-cultural differences in the media systems of different states in India and, thus, many media systems exist within one country. At the same time, the process of political communication is affected by the gap between urban and rural, as well as inter- and intra- state differences on various development indicators such as literacy, poverty, urbanisation and media availability. In contrast to many western democracies that have experienced a largely linear process of media evolution with the rise of print followed by radio then television and more recently the cell phone and the internet, India has witnessed tremendous growth across all media simultaneously over the past decade. The non-linear development of India’s communication processes and the proliferation of different sources of information have deepened the fragmentation in the already fragmented media.

Scholars writing about the Indian media tend to overlook these complexities and have focused instead on the Indian media as a singular entity. The lack of political autonomy is another issue that has been raised with respect to television and press. Since the rise of television in the 1990s, there is a growing literature suggesting the rise of ‘infotainment’, ‘Murdochisation of news’ and ‘commodification of news’ without reference to language, in part because these trends are common across most Hindi and vernacular media. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, news media in India has played a significant role in influencing politics and affected the transformation at the grassroots. There is a simultaneous presence of commercialisation and infotainment along with a concern for the poor and the marginalised in the Indian media. This hybrid character is clearly reflected in the Hindi media-mediated democratic transformation, defined here as mobilisation for electoral politics as well as civil society activism.

The core argument of this book is that the Hindi media has played and continues to play a catalytic role as mobilising agents in the ongoing democratic transformation in India. The mobilising role of the Hindi media was also evident in colonial India where the Hindi media aligned with the freedom struggle and helped mobilise public opinion against the British. Instead of viewing the Indian media as a singular entity, this book demonstrates its diversity and complexity to understand the changing dynamics of political communication that is shaped by the interactions among the news media, political parties and diverse public. In the process, I show the ways the media in India tread the diverse space in this comparatively young democracy by encouraging political and social mobilisation while dealing with complex local realities. I also show how the new forms of media are being used by people, movements and political parties for social and political mobilisation in a rapidly transforming media environment.

I provide insights into the profound and messy, yet quiet, transformations taking place in the countryside and small towns, away from the glare of the Delhi-based TV studios. In a growing economy such as India’s, what role do media play in mobilising political awareness? What role does the Hindi language media, accessed by over 40 per cent of the people, play in building this political awareness? And when nearly 30 per cent of the population is illiterate, how is the work of the media relevant to their lives?

This study is located in the larger context of mobilisation and political awakening that is growing at the grassroots level in India, and at an important juncture in the evolution of the Indian state when the Indian economy is increasingly driven by a private sector orientation after the economy began to open up after the financial crisis in 1991. Critics have questioned whether the neo-liberal measures have really helped improve life chances for the marginalised through betterment of education, health and job opportunities. This is where the rise of the vernacular media, which started to discuss local issues, politics and society of its own local public, assumes significance, since media plays both an important and a critical role in evaluating the day-to-day functioning of the state and society. There have also been growing debates about the increasing influence of markets and governments in the functioning of the media. Several studies have analysed the ramifications of the corporatisation of the media and ownership concentration for democracy. Along with the increasing commercialisation of media in India, there is a cosy relationship between the government, the media and corporations, as well as the issue of opaque media ownership. The phenomena of paid news, where media outlets produce content on behalf of politicians, celebrities and companies for payment that is passed off as news and not advertising, is a serious challenge that questions the independence of Indian media from external influence.

The instrumentalisation of media, where proprietors use media to advance their political and business interests outside of publishing instead of serving the public, is a major concern in the current context. Despite making financial losses, the media business offers disproportionate political gains and, hence, the media business cannot be understood solely in terms of profits and losses on the books or the way conventional businesses operate. The political elites, by using their power and political muscle, have inhibited news diversity and undermined the potential of the media to offer diverse perspectives on issues. The political economy of the media and convoluted media ownership is thus more complex in the Indian context than in other nations.

In my book- Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India– I focus both on mobilisation for electoral politics, which has been the main concern of political scientists, as well as provide cases of grassroots mobilisation where citizens and groups from different class and caste backgrounds actively participate in mediated public arena activities. The book examines recent developments such as the movement against corruption led by Anna Hazare that propelled him and the country into world news throughout 2011 and mobilisation in the 2014 national election campaigns, and examines the interactions between traditional and social media and how they have changed the structures and dynamics of political communication in contemporary India.

Assistant Professor Taberez A Neyazi’s book, Political Communication and Mobilisation: The Hindi Media in India, is published by Cambridge University Press, and is out now.

CNM Research Talk: See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception, The Sensory Apparatus And The Future Of Human- Presented By Professor Madeline Schwartzman

Abstract:

Did you know that we can see with our tongue? Will robotic hair become our next important digital tool? What ways will we use technology to remember plants after they have been destroyed? Madeline Schwartzman presents her research of artists and designers exploring the future of the human senses, the human head, and our technological relationship with nature. Her talk stems from her personal design, architecture, and artistic practices along with her research from her two books and current exhibition.

See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (2011)– is the first book to survey the fascinating intersection between design, the body and the senses over the last fifty years, from the utopian pods, pneumatics and head gear of the 1960’s, to the high-tech prostheses, wearable computing, implants, and interfaces between computers and the human nervous system of the recent decade.

See Yourself X focuses in on our fundamental perceptual domain- the human head—presenting an array of conceptual and constructed ideas for extending ourselves physically into space. This includes all forms of physical head augmentation, including new organs, hair extensions and hairdos, masks, head constructions and gear, headdresses, prosthetics and helmets by artists, designers, inventors and scientists.

See Yourself E(x)ist looks at how artists envision our human future in nature- our poetic attempts at agency, our technological advances, and our futile role in the intricate and complex web of all living things.The art acknowledges the elegance of futility, the strangeness of attempts at permanence, and the absurdity of technological advances.

Speaker: 

Madeline Schwartzman is professor at Columbia, Barnard and Parsons. This writer, filmmaker and architect explores human narratives between art, design, technology and nature. Her books, See Yourself Sensing, See Yourself X and current exhibition See Yourself E(x)ist propose insights into a weird and wonderful future.

20 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

NUS Central Library
CLB-04-04, Theatrette 1

Register at cnmn.us/exist.

CNM Research Talk: Making Sense of Public Culture- Presented By Professor Nikos Papastergiadis

Abstract:

In this lecture, Professor Nikos Papastergiadis explores the challenge of making sense of culture that occurs in public spaces. Unlike the performances and displays of culture within interior spaces, the experience of culture in an urban and networked public environment presents new challenges for cultural interpretation and evaluation. Relying on traditional art historical categories or emergent digital ethnographic tools may be either too narrow or too focused on technological affordances. Instead, he proposes to explore a new conceptual approach that seeks to grasp the wide range of artistic projects and diverse modes of public interaction. It will draw on research conducted at Melbourne’s Federation Square to discuss how the concept of ambience helps make sense of both the production and experience of public culture.

The first section of the article introduces the changing settings for culture: from an almost exclusively interior presentation to an increasingly mediated, networked and outdoor experience.

The second section situates this exteriorisation of culture in terms of a shifting urban environment that is increasingly interwoven with media networks, systems and infrastructure. This section also introduces the case study: Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The third section describes some of the different forms of engagement that take place in Federation Square and how this problematises traditional expectations of cultural experiences. Finally, he concludes with a reflection on these findings and draws out implications for cultural programming of public space.

Speaker: 

Nikos Papastergiadis Professor at the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. He studied at the University of Melbourne and University of Cambridge. Prior to returning to the University of Melbourne he was a lecturer at the University of Manchester. T His sole authored publications include Modernity as Exile (1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (1998), The Turbulence of Migration (2000), Metaphor and Tension (2004) Spatial Aesthetics: Art Place and the Everyday (2006), Cosmopolitanism and Culture (2012), Ambient Perspectives (2013) as well as being the editor of over 10 collections, author of numerous essays which have been translated into over a dozen languages and appeared in major catalogues such as the Biennales of Sydney, Liverpool, Istanbul, Gwanju, Taipei, Lyon, Thessaloniki and Documenta 13. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and co-chair of the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, and Chair of the International Advisory Board for the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore.

7 February 2018
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
National University of Singapore
Blk AS6, #03-38, CNM Playroom

Register at cnmn.us/publicculture.