CFP: Excavating Media Conference / University of Cambridge, June 30 – July 1, 2017 | Deadline: 22 April 2017

‘Excavating Media: Devices, Processes, Apparatuses’, an interdisciplinary conference addressing new approaches to media theory and history

The two-day conference will be held at the University of Cambridge on June 30 – July 1, 2017.

Details are available at:

Media often escape articulation, even as they shape articulation itself. Today, we increasingly express ourselves through and within digital media, yet our critical vocabulary for these devices, their processes, and the apparatuses in which they are enmeshed, remains thin. Even as the study of media has become an increasingly prominent feature of the scholarly landscape in recent years, it remains a notoriously difficult field to define. This conference will explore the methodologies with which we might excavate past media forms and the knowledge they produce, as well as practices with which we might usefully juxtapose new and old media in order to reframe these technologies in the present.

We invite proposals that consider new approaches to media theory and history. We are interested in papers that will critically examine recent developments in the field, or offer an analysis of specific media, whether new or old, digital or analogue, that will suggest new ways to think through our understanding of media and their epistemological frameworks. A place to begin may indeed be with the term media, or perhaps medium, itself—which is notoriously ill-defined, yet essential to our theoretical frameworks. The programme committee welcomes submissions in the form of 20-minute presentation papers from any discipline. Topics which these might address include, but are not limited to:

Media and the construction of historical narrative
How do media transpire and expire?
How have digital media transformed our perception of older media forms?
The philosophy of technology: technics and techne
How do we distinguish between media and the intermedial?
Polemics on recent approaches, such as ‘media archaeology’ and ‘cultural techniques’
How do media condition and produce knowledge?

The conference will bring together individuals from a variety of disciplines to discuss how we might enhance our articulations of media. Focusing on media will offer a new avenue towards the consideration of the conceptual and material frameworks that undergird the more traditional subject matter of humanistic and social-scientific work. Such questions might radically alter our understanding of interdisciplinary work and the theoretical models in which we trade. An interrogation of the epistemologies bound up with media remains essential in questioning the binary of the old and the new, the antiquated and the relevant, the useful and the remainder.

Plenary addresses will be given by:

Jussi Parikka (Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics, Winchester School of Art)

Bernhard Siegert (Gerd-Bucerius-Professor for History and Theory of Cultural Techniques and Director of IKKM, Bauhaus Universität Weimar)

Abstracts for individual papers should be no more than 300 words in length and should be sent, along with a biographical note, to by Saturday, 22 April 2017. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by the end of April.

Conveners: James Gabrillo (Faculty of Music) & Nathaniel Zetter (Faculty of English)