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:

Additionally, any questions can be directed to either Daniel Trottier ( or to our team at: .

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.

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

  • 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.

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 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.


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.


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 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.

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. 

Call for Creative Submissions

Surveillance & Society has two new sections dedicated to artistic engagements with surveillance. Both “Artistic Presentations” and “Art Review” seek to highlight the ways in which broadly defined notions of creative practices not only reflect, but also produce, modes of thinking about themes and issues related to surveillance. Please see the description of the sections below, and feel free to circulate widely. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me at if you have any questions or require further information.

Artistic Presentations

Surveillance & Society encourages submissions that make use of the possibilities offered by the electronic medium. We therefore welcome creative engagements with surveillance in the form of photography, video, multimedia, hypertext prose/poetry, codework, etc.

However please note that we cannot act as curators, and would generally expect only prepared pieces that have not previously been available online or in this form, with any accompanying explanatory text and guidance for the viewer / reader to be provided or arranged for by the creator(s).

Please contact the Arts Editor ( if you wish to submit such a piece.

Art Review

Surveillance & Society is dedicated to art and creative practice as unique and productive ways to engage with topics related to surveillance. As such, the journal welcomes the inclusion of written reviews that critically address creative engagements with surveillance. In addition to soliciting work, we accept proposals for writing that could fit into the following three formats:

Art in Process
Published works about art primarily examine the piece after its completion. Here, we would like to include writing by artists about their process, the ways in which creative thinking, research, and production come together in the making of the artworks.

Art in Conversation
We encourage discussion pieces between artists, curators, and scholars discussing the state and place of art as a mode of surveillance address.

Artwork or Exhibition Review
Artwork or Exhibition Reviews should examine a contemporary creative work—either a single piece or a larger exhibition—in relation to the larger contexts of surveillance themes.

We also invite requests from artists or curators who would like to have their work reviewed. Please note that it is the author’s responsibility to obtain permission to reprint any included images.

In general, art review submissions should:

  • be no more than 2500 words in length (not including references);
  • otherwise follow the general author guidelines.
  • Please contact the Arts Editor ( if you wish to submit such a piece.

Surveillance & Society is aware of and sensitive to many people’s uncertain situations right now. If you are interested in submitting a visual or written piece, but unsure of what the commitment or timelines might be, please contact the Arts Editor for a discussion.

Call for Nominations: SSN Book Award: 2020

The Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) invites nominations (including self-nominations) for the annual Surveillance Studies Book Award.

The award is given in recognition of an outstanding monograph on surveillance published during the preceding year. We are currently inviting nominations for 2020 (i.e., books with a ‘2019’ copyright date).

Single or multi-authored works are eligible, but not edited volumes.

The winner will receive an award amount of £100 (to be split among authors if there is more than one), as well as a 1-year membership for the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN), which provides benefits including discounts on all SSN-sponsored conferences and events. The winner/s will be announced in late 2020 and will be honored at the 2021 SSN conference, if possible.

Using the subject heading “SSN Book Award 2020,” please email the committee chair, Philip J. Boyle ( to nominate a book. Please include the title of the book, year of publication, author, publishing house, and a paragraph of no more than 250 words detailing specifics about why thisbook would be suitable for the award.

The deadline for receipt of books from the publisher is September 30th, 2020. A copy of the book must be sent to each member of the prize committee (addresses will be provided). Hard copies are preferred where possible. Please note that books will not be returned.

SSN Book Award Committee Members:

  • Philip J. Boyle, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Legal Studies, University of Waterloo
  • Julia Chan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cinema & Media Arts, York University
  • Greg Wise, Professor of Communication Studies and Social Technology, Arizona State University

Call for Chapters: Power, Media, and Covid 19

Power, Media, and the Covid 19 Pandemic: framing public discourse

Edited by Stuart Price and Ben Harbisher (Media Discourse Centre, De Montfort University, UK)

Deadline – 20th May 2020:

Send Name, Title, Affiliation, followed by a 300-word Abstract (as an attachment and in the main body of the email) including focus, approach/method and academic references. Editorial response will be sent by or before 1st June. Send to cc’ing (Early Publication Date tbc – needless to say, we seek polished, well-referenced material that will help us meet our editorial deadlines – method of referencing will be Harvard, blended with our ‘house style’)

Read more ›

5th CRISP Doctoral Training School, called off.

The Fifth CRISP Doctoral Training School

Applications Open
June 15 –19, 2020

Deadline for applications: Friday 27th March 2020

CRISP is proud to announce that applications can be submitted for its fifth biannual Doctoral Training School. The School takes place at the University of Essex from Monday 15– Friday 19 June 2020. The School will feature five days of intensive training in multi-disciplinary research methods and skills in the field of Surveillance Studies. It will also feature a range of knowledge-exchange and research-training activities, as well as providing social and networking opportunities.

Call: The SSN Mentorship Program

Call for Mentors and Mentees:

Dear Colleagues,

The Surveillance Studies Network is beginning its 2020 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 March 2020. As an informal mentorship arrangement, the program is intended as a supplement to students’ pre-existing mentorship relationships.

The time commitment is minimal, but the program greatly assists young surveillance scholars in conceptualizing their projects and networking with established scholars in the field.

Over the one-year period, each pair will have a minimum of two discussions, in person if possible (such as at a conference), or 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.

If you are interested in participating, please email mentorship coordinator Julia Chan ( by March 4, 2020 with your name, contact information, and 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!