Call for SSN Mentorship Program

Dear Colleagues,

The Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) is beginning its 2021 mentorship program for doctoral students engaged in research topics on surveillance. 

We are calling for faculty members and PhD students who are interested to participate this year as mentors and mentees, respectively. 

One faculty member mentor will be paired with one PhD student mentee for a one-year period beginning in June 2021. The time commitment is minimal, but the program greatly assists young surveillance scholars in developing their scholarship and networking with established scholars in the field. 

Over the one-year period, each pair will have a minimum of two discussions via phone or video chat. The focus of the discussions can be determined individually by each pair, but they might cover the mentee’s research or research interests, related literatures, the academic job market, or other matters relating to career. (Please note that, as an informal mentorship arrangement, the program is intended only as a supplement and not a replacement to students’ pre-existing supervisor/mentorship relationships.) 

If you are interested in participating, please email mentorship coordinator Julia Chan (julia.chan@carleton.ca) by June 14. 2021 with your name, contact information, and up to five keywords of research interests. We will do our best to match faculty members and PhD students who share similar interests. 

Note: It is expected that PhD students participating in the program will become SSN members, if they are not already. 

We look forward to hearing from you! 
Julia

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, Early Career Researcher Awards, News

Call: SSN Small Research Grants

We are pleased to announce the 2021-22 Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) Small Research Grant competition (call as pdf). The SSN Small Grants scheme provides funding to support junior/early-career scholars working in economically under-resourced regions of the world. This year, we will be able to fund two awards of up to £1500 each, to be used during the 2021-2022 academic year in support of surveillance studies research (for more information about what constitutes surveillance studies research, we recommend reviewing articles published in Surveillance & Society (http://surveillance-and-society.org/), the SSN’s international journal of surveillance studies). These awards will also be accompanied by a two-year SSN membership. The Small Grants Committee will review and select recipients based on the following criteria and process.

Read more ›
Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls

Early Career Researcher Awards 2021

The Surveillance Studies Network is pleased to announce the winners of the Surveillance Studies Network’s 2020 “Early Career Researcher Awards” for publications in Surveillance & Society

The winning papers are…

Congratulations to the winners!!! Please check out their papers (again)!

Posted in Early Career Researcher Awards, News

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.

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, News

Call for Dialogue: Terrorism, White Supremacy, State Surveillance

Dear Colleagues,

as the Dialogue Editor of Surveillance & Society, I invite expressions of interest to write short (~2000-word) papers for an upcoming Dialogue section of the journal focused on the interrelated topics of “Domestic Terrorism, White Supremacy, and State Surveillance.” We aim to publish the section in either the June or September 2021 issue of Surveillance & Society.

In this Dialogue, we seek contributions that examine how concerns about domestic terrorism, white supremacy, and/or nationalism have impacted domestic state surveillance practices and surveillance powers in countries around the world. The attack on the U.S. Capitol Building in January 2021 represents just one recent and high-profile instance of how nationalism and white supremacy have resulted in calls for greater domestic surveillance practices and powers. There have been others in many parts of the world in recent years. Thus, in this section we call for proposals to submit Dialogue pieces to the journal that reflect on, unpack, or critique how domestic state surveillance powers have been affected by domestic terrorism concerns in countries around the world (especially those related to white supremacy and nationalism), how surveillance studies research might inform the path forward, and (where relevant) how a surveillant focus on white nationalists and domestic terrorism might also negatively impact communities of color, exacerbate inequalities, and/or promote discrimination.

Specifically, we are looking for short contributions that answer (some of) these questions and, in the process, also critically examine the role that such surveillance may play in societies around the globe and suggest ideas, theories, or methods to approach surveillance studies research in the future. We are hoping to curate a small set of papers from scholars in various parts of the world, including in the Global South and areas not as commonly the focus of surveillance studies research. As such, we will prioritize submissions against those criteria, in addition to excellence and fit with the full set of accepted papers.

If you are interested in proposing a short paper for inclusion in this discussion, please send the following to me on or before the end of day on Feb. 28, 2021 (to bcnewell@uoregon.edu):

  • Your name
  • Details of your institutional affiliation (if applicable)
  • Link to your online profile, website, etc. with list of your publications (if available)
  • A title and 300-400 word abstract for your proposed contribution (proposals should connect to the themes identified above and also have a strong normative/critical/argumentative element)

Please note that Dialogue 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 papers the chance to read and engage with the other accepted papers prior to publication, to create a real dialogue within the section. We will only be selecting a small number of pieces for inclusion in this special section.

I look forward to reading your proposals.

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, Journal, News

New MA in Surveillance Studies in Rotterdam

We are proud to introduce our new Master Programme entitled “Digitalisation, Surveillance & Societies”, starting next academic year (2021-2022) at Erasmus University Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. 

While digitalisation brings many opportunities, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and social media platforms involve an unprecedented collection of personal information and raise global challenges about privacy and security. Social media monitoring and manipulation can sway elections, spark civil strife and help predict expected social patterns and behaviour. Algorithms determine who gets to see which online information and advertisements, but also who is considered a public threat. In everyday life, many very useful apps and tools may provide the potential for new forms of (unwanted) surveillance.  Surveillance cameras make it possible for neighbours to report suspicious activity on WhatsApp groups and participate in local official and unofficial policing practices. Location tracking of family and friends is perceived to be both caring and controlling. Health and lifestyle apps promote physical and emotional well-being, all the while provoking their own privacy and ethical concerns.

The integration of digital technologies into a range of everyday practices create and perpetuate a number of contemporary and cross-sector issues that require better understanding and critical reflection about data collection, discrimination, privacy violations, and disruptions by and through digital media. The MA programme “Digitalisation, Surveillance & Societies” enables students to develop scientifically informed responses to these challenges by focusing on social, intercultural, political, technical, and international dimensions of digitalisation. It advances evaluative thinking and problem-solving skills that are vital for socially responsible technology design, as well as developing effective personal, social, organisational, political and policy responses or strategies to digital media practices. Understanding societal implications of digitalisation allows citizens, companies and governments to harness their potential while safeguarding the interests of those who could be vulnerable or exploited by them.

Please refer to our website for more information: https://www.eur.nl/en/master/digitalisation-surveillance-societies.

Additionally, any questions can be directed to either Daniel Trottier (trottier@eshcc.eur.nl) or to our team at: https://www.eur.nl/en/master/digitalisation-surveillance-societies/contact .

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, News

Winner SSN 2020 Book Award

The SSN Book Award Committee is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2020 SSN Book Award is:

Insurgent Aesthetics. Security and the Queer Life of the Forever War (Duke UP) by Dr. Ronak K. Kapadia, Associate Professor in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Book Award Committee found Dr. Kapadia’s book to be a theoretically sophisticated, empirically fascinating, and beautifully illustrated contribution that pushes the field of surveillance studies forward.

From the publisher:

In Insurgent Aesthetics Ronak K. Kapadia theorizes the world-making power of contemporary art responses to US militarism in the Greater Middle East. He traces how new forms of remote killing, torture, confinement, and surveillance have created a distinctive post-9/11 infrastructure of racialized state violence. Linking these new forms of violence to the history of American imperialism and conquest, Kapadia shows how Arab, Muslim, and South Asian diasporic multimedia artists force a reckoning with the US war on terror’s violent destruction and its impacts on immigrant and refugee communities. Drawing on an eclectic range of visual, installation, and performance works, Kapadia reveals queer feminist decolonial critiques of the US security state that visualize subjugated histories of US militarism and make palpable what he terms “the sensorial life of empire.” In this way, these artists forge new aesthetic and social alliances that sustain critical opposition to the global war machine and create alternative ways of knowing and feeling beyond the forever war.

The committee would also like to recognize Pacifying the Homeland: Intelligence Fusion and Mass Supervision (University of California Press) by Dr. Brendan McQuade as runner-up for the 2020 Book Award.

Dr. McQuade’s book tells a fascinating story of how intelligence fusion centers are becoming a generalized apparatus for the mass supervision and pacification in the United States. The committee considered many excellent books, and it was truly difficult to select a single winner. We thank all nominated authors for their contributions to surveillance studies.

Posted in News, SSN book prize

Call: Dialogues on Surveillance and Covid-19

As the Dialogue Editor of Surveillance & Society, I invite expressions of interest to write short (~2000-word) papers for an upcoming critical Dialogue section of the journal that takes stock of “the surveillance and privacy implications of COVID-19 one year on from its global emergence.” We aim to publish the section in the March 2021 issue of Surveillance & Society.

The big-picture questions we are seeking to examine are: Looking back over the past year, how has the global COVID-19 pandemic affected state or private surveillance around the world? Have new forms of surveillance emerged? How do these new surveillance systems (such as, but not limited to, automated contract-tracing programs) fit into or break out of existing models or theories of surveillance in society? Are we seeing very different surveillance responses in different parts of the world? Are these new developments examples of surveillance as a means of providing “care” (and, if so, how should we think critically about these forms of surveillance)?

Specifically, I am looking for short contributions that answer (some of) these questions and, in the process, also critically examine the (new) role that such surveillance may play in societies around the globe and suggest ideas, theories, or methods to approach surveillance studies research in the future. We are hoping to curate a small set of papers from scholars in various parts of the world, including in the Global South and areas not as commonly the focus of surveillance studies research. As such, we will prioritize submissions against those criteria, in addition to excellence and fit with the full set of accepted papers.

If you are interested in proposing a short paper for inclusion in this discussion, please send the following to me on or before the end of day on Dec. 13, 2020 (to bcnewell@uoregon.edu):

  • Your name, details of your institutional affiliation (if applicable), and information about your connection to the region of the world that you propose to examine in your proposed Dialogue paper.
  • A title and 300-400 word abstract for your proposed contribution (proposals should connect to the themes identified above and also have a strong normative element)

Please note that Dialogue 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 papers the chance to read and engage with the other accepted papers prior to publication, to create a real dialogue within the section. We will only be selecting a small number of pieces for inclusion in this special section.

I look forward to reading your proposals.

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, News

SSN Small Research Grant, ext. deadline

SSN is happy to announce that the next funding round for small research grants is now open, with a December 1 deadline for applications. See https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/announcement/view/299 for the full CFP (ignore the earlier deadline noted in that post). The text is also presented below:

We are pleased to announce that in response to feedback from our members we have made available some funding to support scholars working in economically under-resourced regions. Through a “Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) Small Research Grant,” we will be able to make up to six awards of up to £500 each available for the 2020-2021 academic year. These awards will also be accompanied by two-year SSN memberships. The Small Grants Committee will review and select recipients based on the following criteria and process.

Eligibility

Surveillance Studies Network members (or non-members who conduct surveillance-related research and would like to become part of SSN) are encouraged to apply, with preference given to persons who:

  • justify themselves as working in an economically under-resourced region;
  • are early career researchers (i.e., a doctoral student or researcher who has earned their PhD in the last five years);
  • have not previously received funding through the SSN Small Research Grant; and,
  • submit all required criteria prior to the application deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

We will be evaluating applications based on their articulation of specific research-related activities that would significantly augment the applicant’s program of research, but that would not be feasible without additional funding. Additionally, we will take into consideration the overall feasibility of the proposed work and the extent to which it is likely to make a significant contribution to surveillance studies.

Process

Please submit a brief proposal (1-page maximum) outlining:

  • the activities to be conducted with the funding,
  • the importance of these activities to your program of research,
  • justification of your region of residence as economically under-resourced,
  • description of your suitability for the award based on the other criteria of preference, and
  • a timeline for completion of the activities planned. (All awarded funds must be spent by June 30, 2021.)

Additionally, please also submit a budget (1-page maximum) outlining your plans for using any awarded funds up to a maximum of £500 (e.g., transcription services, informant/human-subjects payments, technical equipment, conference fees, etc.).

Send your proposal and budget as one document (PDF preferred) to Bryce Newell at bcnewell@uoregon.edu on or before December 1, 2020. Please include the following text in your email subject header: “SSN Small Grants Application.” Notification of awards will be made as soon as possible after the deadline.

Posted in Conferences/seminars/calls, News

Statement of Solidarity

Dear Surveillance Studies Community,

In this moment of international reckoning with legacies of anti-Black and settler colonialisms, we stand in solidarity with those protesting police violence, racial capitalism, and white supremacy. And we recognize that the embodied stresses, strains, and violences of enduring and mobilizing for change in this context fall unevenly on people of color, including gender non-confirming and trans people. These lived realities heavily influence who has the space, energy, and choice to participate in scholarly activities, and whose voices and viewpoints are represented at this time.

The directors and board of the Surveillance Studies Network and the editorial board and staff of Surveillance & Society are committed to care for and solidarity with scholars who face oppression, violence, and inequality, in academic contexts and beyond. This solidarity is even more important in a moment when the inequities of time, labour, resources, and precarity are increasing. In the present historical moment of unprecedented social crises and public health emergencies, we acknowledge the unequal burdens of work and collective care. Many scholars, students, and practitioners are struggling right now to balance responsibilities of home, work, and care for others, as well as dealing with financial precarity and managing mental, physical, and emotional health. These responsibilities and stresses disproportionately target BIPOC scholars, queer and trans writers, women, and people with disabilities, whose voices may then be marginalized, silenced, and suppressed in this moment of upheaval and emergency.

We acknowledge these longstanding—and currently exacerbated—imbalances and are committed to redoubling our efforts to correct them within our own community. Some of our new and ongoing interventions include

  • 1. Funding up to four small research grants (of up to £500 each) a year to support underrepresented scholars.
  • 2. Providing travel grants for underrepresented junior scholars to offset the costs of attending our biennial international conference.
  • 3. Building out our existing mentorship program to foster meaningful support, mentorship, and community for underrepresented minorities.
  • 4. Recruiting additional BIPOC surveillance-studies scholars to join the SSN board and the journal’s editorial board.
  • 5. Extending revise and resubmit deadlines for manuscripts under review at Surveillance & Society to reduce stress and accommodate the time constraints of scholars during this period of anxiety and labor imbalance.

The vigilance to provide more thorough representation in the work appearing at our conferences and in the journal is ongoing. We are committed to expanding the range of work appearing in these venues, and we welcome your suggestions and contributions. For instance, the journal is prioritizing contributions on its blog, blink, which focuses on timelier dispatches than those allowed by the labor-intensive (but necessary) process of journal peer-review. We also encourage authors to consider the multiple ways they can contribute to dialogues around surveillance offered by the journal. Sections such as Review Articles and Opinion Pieces offer spaces for speculative and generative work with shorter and more flexible formats that may feel more manageable and responsive to current discussions. 

As an international community of scholars and practitioners devoted to the critical study of surveillance, we are dedicated not only to promoting research and scholarship in its multiple forms, but also to supporting and upholding those who undertake this work. 

Posted in News