cfp for Dialogues: Imagining Surveillance Futures

Dear Colleagues,

We are very excited to announce a call for contributions to a joint Dialogue Section-Art Forum of Surveillance & Society we are calling “Surveillance Stories: Imagining Surveillance Futures.” Storytelling has the ability to capture the imagination and to attract a wide audience. Stories can also generate important meanings, engage metaphors, and explore new possibilities in ways that conventional academic papers often cannot, or at least typically do not.

Therefore, for this special project, we invite contributions that creatively engage with the possibilities of the surveillant future. Submissions should inform how we ought to think about surveillance, regulate surveillance, or study surveillance to achieve/avoid the futures depicted in the stories. These pieces can take the form of a short narrative piece (~800 to 2000-words, if text-based; ~2-5 minutes if time-based media), including speculative stories. They can also involve artistic interventions that explore and visualize this topic. Contributions can be fictional, quasi-fictional, or nonfiction stories (presented in a narrative fashion) that draw on surveillance studies research and theory to imagine what possible surveillance futures might look like. 

Our interest here is to encourage stories that imagine utopian as well as dystopian futures, and that utilize creative text, images, video, and other forms of artistic expression (the range of media for artworks that can be presented is subject to the technological limitations of the journal’s platform, but can include video and limited photography or images—please get in touch if you have questions about what might be possible). For selected pieces, we will also request that authors include a closing paragraph or two at the end of each piece that specifically links the elements of the story to existing surveillance studies research (including research previously published in Surveillance & Society or elsewhere, or that builds on the authors’ own fieldwork or other research). (Media not based in text should also include a transcript of dialogue, basic description of the visuals, etc.)

Along with the narration of surveillant futures as a mode of creative address, our goal with this special project is to make space for explorations that focus on and derive from various regions and perspectives often under-represented in surveillance studies research. We are interested in bringing into conversation a collection of works that capture a range of approaches and from a multitude of viewpoints. As such, we will prioritize submissions against those criteria, in addition to excellence and fit with the full set of accepted pieces.

For inspiration and as examples of similar sorts of projects, we refer you to a new publication from the UW Tech Policy Lab, “Telling Stories” (https://techpolicylab.uw.edu/telling-stories/), that contains fictional stories about artificial intelligence. You may also find Dr. Casey Fiesler’s new paper, “Innovating like an Optimist, Preparing like a Pessimist: Ethical Speculation and the Legal Imagination” of interest (find it online at https://ctlj.colorado.edu/?page_id=1283). Within the Value Sensitive Design field, Nathan, Klasnja, and Friedman’s “Value Scenarios: A Technique for Envisioning Systemic Effects of New Technologies” (https://doi.org/10.1145/1240866.1241046) may also be of interest.  

Submission: 

If you are interested in proposing piece for the Surveillance Stories section, please send the following to us on or before the end of day on April 16, 2021 (to both bcnewell@uoregon.edu and susan.cahill@ucalgary.ca):

  • Your name
  • Details of your institutional affiliation (if applicable)
  • Link to your online profile, website, etc., with list of your publications or artistic pieces (if available)
  • A title and ~300- to 400-word abstract for your proposed contribution (which can describe the storytelling approach, the media to be used, and/or present a narrative element from the story)

Timeline:

Authors will be notified of initial acceptance decisions on or before May 15, 2021. Final drafts/versions of provisionally accepted pieces will be due on September 1, 2021. Final acceptance will follow shortly thereafter, with anticipated publication in the December 2021 issue of Surveillance & Society.

Please note that Dialogue and Art pieces are not refereed, but are subject to editorial review and, if (tentatively) accepted, possible requests for revision. Depending on time constraints, we also hope to allow authors of accepted contributions the chance to read or view and engage with the other accepted pieces prior to publication, to create a real dialogue within the section, when possible. We will only be selecting a limited number of pieces for inclusion in this special section. Recent Dialogue sections have focused on Surveillance and the COVID-19 Pandemic (coming in March 2021), Surveillance as EvidenceThe State of Sousveillance, and Decolonizing Surveillance Studies.

We look forward to reading your proposals.


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