CNM welcomes new department head, Professor Mohan J. Dutta!

Professor Mohan J. Dutta

 

Professor Mohan Dutta has taken over from Associate Professor Milagros Rivera as the Head of Department of CNM with effect from 1 July 2012.

Prior to this, Professor Dutta was Professor of Communication and Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Education in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University.  He also served as a Service Learning Fellow and a fellow of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy in Purdue.

Professor Dutta is acknowledged as one of the most prolific scholars in health communication internationally. He teaches and conducts research in international health communication, critical cultural theory, poverty in healthcare, health activism in globalisation politics, indigenous cosmologies of health, subaltern studies and dialogue, and public policy and social change. Currently, he serves as Senior Editor of the journal Health Communication and sits on the editorial board of seven journals.

Concurrently, Professor Dutta will also establish the Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) within CNM for research in health communication and social change in Asia, and serve as its Director.

Meanwhile, Dr. Millie is looking forward to becoming a “civilian professor” after serving as Head for eight years. During her term, she transformed the Information and Communications Management programme into the interdisciplinary Communications and New Media, with a unique curriculum in Asia. Subsequently CNM was upgraded by the university to a full-fledged department, with one of the largest enrollments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

She also pushed the envelope by introducing an internship programme with academic credit and hiring full-time teaching assistants to cater to the large cohorts of students.

For all these efforts, the 2012 QS World University Rankings by Subject has recognised CNM as the third top department worldwide in the discipline of Communication and Media Studies.

A pleasant surprise for Dr. Ganga Sasidharan

Dr. Ganga Sasidharan recently presented her paper titled “Dialectics in corporate discourse on CSR in India: Key themes and drivers” at the ICA Conference 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. This paper was among the top papers in the Division of Public Relations of this year’s conference. What came as a pleasant surprise for Ganga was the announcement from the division committee that her paper had also been chosen for the 2012 Bob Heath Top Paper Award for the top of the top papers!

Described it as a pleasant surprise turned into pure delight, Ganga said, “For this achievement so early in my academic career I must thank my supervisor Millie Rivera and my dissertation committee members, Mohan Dutta and Linda Perry who gave me the intellectual space and freedom to develop as a scholar in my own right.  I believe that this freedom enabled me to make a distinctive contribution to the body of knowledge.”

Congratulations, Ganga!

 

Dr. Ganga Sasidharan delivering her presentation at the conference

 

 

Dr. Ganga Sasidharan and her pleasant surprise

 

 

Research Talk by A/P Milagros (Millie) Rivera

“Mobile phones and the creation of alternative spaces by South African youths”

 

Date & time:

Wednesday, 11 April, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue:

COM1/202

School of Computing

13 Computing Drive

Singapore 117417

 

Abstract:

Many studies focusing on developing countries or marginalized communities have framed mobile phones as an effective strategy for poverty reduction, citing their relative lower infrastructural cost compared to landlines, relative affordability compared to the personal computer, important role in information dissemination, and ease of use (Bhavnani, Chiu, Janakiram, & Silarszky, 2008; Diga, 2008; Slater & Kwami, 2005; Cecchini & Scott, 2003). While poverty and social inequalities are important issues, research focusing on the social use of mobile phones would provide a greater understanding on how people in developing countries have appropriated the technology and the role that it plays in their lives. Moreover, such a study could help assess the cultural impact of the mobile phone and uncover the symbolic meanings that are attached to the artifact and its use. Finally, although much research has been conducted on marginalized communities, these communities are made up of pockets of people who differ in social status and life circumstances. For instance, among the economically disadvantaged there may be various groups who face different challenges and for whom the mobile phone may play a different role.

This paper focuses on such a group. Specifically, we examined how South African youths from the township of Makhaza in Khayelitsha, transitioning from high school to tertiary education or full time employment, used their mobile phones and the meanings that the devices hold for them. Using “space” as a key construct, this paper relies on Victor Turner’s theory of ‘liminality’ (Turner, 1979), Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopias as conceptualized by Wearing (1999), and the power of contexts and spaces Shields (1991), to understand the uses of, and meanings ascribed to, mobile phones by youth in transition. The interplay between these theoretical approaches paints a bigger picture of the youths’ lives and social circumstances and how these, in turn, are represented and expressed through the everyday use of mobile phones.

 

Bio:

Associate Professor Milagros (Millie) Rivera is the Head of the Department of Communications and New Media in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Rivera’s work centers on new media regulation and the impact of new media on society and individuals. Her work has been published in Communication Education, New Media and Society; Communications of the Association for Computer Machinery; Journal of Science, Technology and Society; Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies; Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal; Media Asia; Asian Journal of Communication; Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs; Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly; Journalism History; Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal; Federal Communications Law Journal; World Internet Law  Report; and Communications and the Law.

Guest Lecture by A/P Melissa Fitch, University of Arizona

A/P Melissa Fitch, Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona, will deliver a guest lecture at CNM this week. The talk will be for 40 minutes followed by a 30-minute Q & A session. Here are the details:

Date & time: 16 March, 4:00 PM

Venue: CNM Conference Room

Topic: Living the Border: Life, Death and the American Dream

Abstract:

This presentation examines the tensions surrounding Mexican illegal immigration to the Southwestern border state of Arizona in the United States. We will consider the period immediately following the passage of anti-immigrant legislation by the state in April, 2010 and view the mass media depictions of Mexican immigrants found in editorial cartoons of major U.S. publications. The online responses to these cartoons will also be addressed. We will explore the semiotic coding of race, gender and social class found in these depictions and, following a Performance Studies model, we will evaluate how each cultural narrative “interacts with those who view it, thus evoking different reactions and meanings; and how it changes meaning over time and in different contexts”(Schechner, 2002). Additional topics to be addressed include the “American dream,” human rights, racial and ethnic identity, nationalism and transnationalism, and the multiple meanings of the borderlands.

Please note that A/P Melissa Fitch will be available for discussion on 19 and 20 March (Monday & Tuesday respectively). All graduate students and faculty members are welcome.

Dr. Margaret Tan joins the CNM’s PhD graduate guild

The year 2011 ended beautifully for CNM Department with a surprise party to congratulate Dr. Margaret Tan on her PhD conferment. As part of the tradition, Margaret was presented a number “3” jersey by CNM Head Dr. Millie Rivera. She also received the symbolic flame from Dr. Carol Soon, CNM’s second PhD graduate.

Margaret is currently a Fellow at Tembusu College and Research Fellow with the Science, Technology, and Society Research Cluster at Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

For more information about Dr. Margaret Tan, please visit: http://tembusu.nus.edu.sg/people/margaret_tan.php

 

Research Talk by Dr. Iccha Basnyat

“Navigating Inequalities for Survival in Kathmandu: Lived Experiences of Former Street Based Commercial Sex Workers”

 

Date and Time:

Wed, 8 February, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue:

CNM Playroom

AS6, #03-38

11 Computing Drive

Singapore 117416

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract:

Marginalization is arguably located in political and economic systems such as: development, housing, labor, migration, education and access to health services. Impoverished structures that limits women’s education, jobs, access to resources is often manifested into commercial sex work. Therefore, this paper aims to (re)position sex work, among Nepalese women as an effect of macro policies (i.e. lack of access to education and resources) that place women in the margins. Examining lived experiences offer an entry point to locating Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) as active participants enacting agency for day-to-day living. In-depth interviews were conducted with former CSWs currently working as community mobilizers (CM) for a community based organization that reaches out to current CSW’s for voluntary testing and counseling (VCT). The interviews allowed inquire about navigating structures for day-to-day living, access to macro structures, maintaining health and long term needs. Women’s narratives illustrate that ‘reducing’ her body to a sexual function is influenced by the macro limitations within which she is bound. Yet, she engages as an active participant in every day resistive strategies within her available set of structural possibilities and limitations.

Bio:

http://ap3.fas.nus.edu.sg/fass/cnmib/

Research Talk by A/P Lim Sun Sun

Just fight. Nobody died. Everybody is safe.

Reflections on studying youth, media and delinquency

 

Date & time:

Wed, 25 Jan, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue:

CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38

11 Computing Drive

Singapore 117416

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

 

Abstract:

In this talk, I share my motivations for and experience of studying media use by an under-studied and marginalised youth population – juvenile delinquents and youths-at-risk – reflecting on the challenges I encountered at various stages of the research process. I will also present key findings relating to the relationship between media use and delinquency, notably, that fraternisation with delinquent peers and the mobilisation of friends for fights or substance abuse sessions seem to be facilitated by mobile phone and Internet connections. In addition, digital connections and participatory media appear to amplify negative peer influence and significantly, youths who try to make a clean break from their delinquent past find it challenging to make a fresh start in life given the persistence of their social networks. Whereas the dominant discourse on participatory media and Singaporean youth is that of the empowered self-learner who uses blogs and social networking sites in academically and socially productive ways, the experience of youths caught in the throes of delinquency and crime suggests engagement in participatory media that is potentially risky. For youths-at-risk, participatory media can become a platform through which they are unwittingly drawn into criminal behaviour, and post-rehabilitation, participatory media may offer an insidious route to recidivism.

Bio:

http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/cnmlss/

Research Talk by Dr. Lynde Tan

Date & time:

Wednesday, 12 Oct 2011, 15:30 – 16:30.

Venue:

CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38

11 Computing Drive

Singapore 117416

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=216145972968108395697.0004aac0a1d6b58712a85

Title:

Adolescent Literacies, Multimodal Textual Repertoires, and Digital Media: Exploring Sites of Digital Literacy Practices and Learning Inside and Outside School

Abstract:

In this presentation, I would like to suggest the use of the term multimodal textual repertoires to emphasise the relevance of New Literacy Studies (NLS) in studying adolescents’ multimodal literacy practices. Drawing on ethnographic research in ten adolescents’ school and out-of-school literacy practices in Singapore, I explain my use of the term and argue that adolescents’ multimodal textual repertoires, in and out of school, comprise the collective assembly, production on the go, multitasking and fun. This study involved participant observations in school, in-depth and semi-structured interviews, analysis of students’ school productions as well as other qualitative methods of collecting outside-school data, such as participants’ research diaries, self-taken photographs, students’ cultural artefacts and visual methods of finding out adolescents’ everyday literacies.

I discuss how these 14-year-old adolescent students in my study engaged in school collaborative multimodal and multimedia text productions. Specifically, I argue that literacy practices may be best understood as a complex configuration of school and home practices which cannot be easily disaggregated into separable school and home practices. Whilst my study suggests that literacy and learning are inseparable in social practice regardless of the sites of their occurrences, it also attends to the tension in adolescents’ identities in learning.

Bio:

Dr. Lynde Tan is a lecturer at the Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group, NIE/NTU, Singapore. She has recently completed her PhD in Applied Linguistics at Lancaster University, United Kingdom, where she is researching adolescents’ digital literacies in and out of school. Before joining NIE, she was an Educational Technology Officer at MOE HQ where she supported teachers in using emerging technologies for teaching and learning. Her current research interests lie in literacy studies pertaining to digital literacies in and out of school, language education as well as multimodality in English texts.

Selected publications:

Guo, L.B., Amasha, S., & Tan, L. (2010). Multimodal Literacy In Extended Learning Activities. In Ho,C., Anderson, K., & Leong, A. (Eds.), Transforming Literacies And Language: Multimodality And Literacy In The New Media Age (pp. 70-84). London: Continuum.

Tan, L. (2010). Putting the cart before the horse: Interrogating media literacy education in school English lessons. New Horizons in Education, 58(3), 67-77.

Tan, L., Bopry, J. & Guo, L. (2010). Portraits of new literacies in two Singapore classrooms. RELC Journal, 41(1), 5-17.

Tan, L. & Guo, L. (2009).  From print to critical multimedia literacy: A Singapore teacher’s first foray into new literacies practices. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 53(4), 315-324.

Tan, L., Guo, L., & Chia, A.L. (2009).  Teaching English in new times. In P. Teo, M.Y. Tay, & C. Ho (Eds.), Exploring new frontiers: Challenging students in the language and literature classroom (pp. 15-29). Singapore: Pearson Longman.

Research Talk by Mr. Renick Bell

“Handling improvisational issues in live coding with conductive”

Date & Time: Friday, 7 October 2011, 4:00pm

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38

Summary:

Live coding is a growing area of computer music research in which a program producing music is written live as a performance. As a form of improvisation, live coding shares some of the difficulties faced by improvisers and other computer musicians, as well as some that are unique to performing music through an interactive programming session.

Difficulties common to all improvisational music include things such as the need to make rapid changes with specific timing in real time.

Like other forms of computer music, a large numbers of parameters are accessed through what is sometimes a clumsy and unintuitive interface.

In addition, live coders often face unique challenges such as a potentially fragile environment with limited feedback about running processes. An environment called Conductive was developed to mitigate such challenges. How Conductive achieves this to some degree will be explained and briefly compared to some methods used by other live coding environments. A demonstration of Conductive will also be given.

Bio:

Mr. Renick Bell currently lives in Tokyo and has lived in Asia since 2001. He was a research student and doctoral student at Tokyo Denki University. He received a masters of science in music technology from Indiana University, and his undergraduate degree is from Texas Tech University. He is originally from Texas.

More information about Mr. Renick Bell can be found at:

http://renickbell.net

http://twitter.com/renick

http://the3rd2nd.com

Research Talk by Mr. Tim Merritt

“The impact of team-mate identity on cooperation in games”

Date & time: Wednesday, 5 Oct 2011, 15:30pm – 16:30pm

Venue: CNM Playroom, AS6, #03-38

Abstract:

Much attention in the development of artificial team-mates has focused on replicating human qualities and performance. However, all things being equal, do human players respond the same to human and artificial team-mates – and if there are differences, what accounts for them?

Although there have been a few comparative studies of how players respond to humans and agents in the context of cooperative interactions, the work to date has not been extensive and no attempts have been made to explain the findings. This talk reports on research to understand differences in player experience, perception, and behavior when playing with either human or AI team-mates in real-time cooperative games. A number of game-based experiments were conducted to explore the impact of team-mate identity. Results suggest that people feel, perceive, and behave differently with human and AI team-mates in various ways. It will be argued that the differences observed are broadly the result of being unable to imagine that an AI team-mate could have certain attributes (e.g., emotional dispositions). One of the more surprising aspects of this insight is that the “inability to imagine” impacts decisions and judgements that seem quite unrelated (e.g., credit assignment).

Bio:

Tim Merritt is pursuing his PhD at the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering under the supervision of A/P Kevin McGee in the Partner Technologies Research Group.  His thesis research focuses on understanding how human players respond to human and artificial team-mates in cooperative games.  Before joining NUS, he was a researcher in the Agora Game Laboratory at the University of Jyväskylä working on the Nordic Serious Games Project. Tim also worked as a consultant designing, implementing and maintaining enterprise monitoring and management solutions for Siemens. He has obtained an M.A. in Digital Culture from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Xavier University, OH, USA.