CFP: "Global Perspectives on Surveillance" -- Jump Cut

Gary Kafer's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Borderlands, Communication, Film and Film History, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Global Perspectives on Surveillance

Call for Papers

Special Section of Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media

Full Paper Submission Deadline: January 15, 2023

Editor: Gary Kafer (University of Chicago)



This special section of Jump Cut seeks original research and review essays that examine the global circuits of surveillance that increasingly mark contemporary social and political life.

Towards the end of the twentieth century, surveillance studies scholars proclaimed the arrival of a “surveillance society” (Marx 1985; Gandy 1989; Lyon 1994), which soon became global by the turn of the century following the attacks on 9/11 and the War on Terror (Lyon 2004; Murakami 2009; Ström 2020). In many ways indebted to the emergence of novel digital and communication tools, such critiques called attention to increasing levels of tracking practices by national governments and corporations to preempt threats and safeguard capital. No doubt, the global parameters of surveillance were put on full display with the Snowden leaks of 2014 as the world became cognizant of The Five Eyes intelligence alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States), which was soon followed by media coverage of China’s vast social credit system and internment camps.

And yet, even as such developments exposed the globality of surveillance systems, such frameworks tend to maintain the ‘global’ as simply a reference point for the ‘Global North’ and its centers of data accumulation and exchange. Such narratives are troublesome, not in the least for the way that they ignore how surveillance has historically always been transnational in scope, such as in the development of biometrics and identification documents in chattel slavery and penal colonies across colonial and imperial regimes (Browne 2015; Heynen and van der Meulen 2019). At the same time, some global frameworks ignore how many surveillance devices are first developed and tested in sites of settler colonial and capitalist violence – often in the Global South – before being sold on the global market, such as in Israel’s occupation of Palestine (Halper 2015) or the repression of indigenous communities at the borders of settler states (Schaeffer 2022).

Building on such debates in surveillance studies, this special section of Jump Cut explores how the global remains a fraught, if not necessary, framework to grapple with how surveillance is inextricable from racial violence, capital accumulation, and settler colonial rule. In particular, we invite research that approaches such issues from the fields of media studies, film studies, visual studies, communication studies, and related disciplines to consider how surveillance technologies – whether data-based or otherwise – are used, viewed, and resisted in particular geographic contexts. To sure, scholars of these fields have already taken stock of the global formations of infrastructure and labor through which surveillance is made possible, such as in the case of transpacific fiber-optic cable systems (Starosielski 2015), lithium mining (Crawford 2021), and outsourced content moderation (Gray and Suri 2019). They have also examined the emergent visual regimes of global surveillance within satellites (Parks 2018) and drones (Shaw 2016), as well as have interrogated the transnational politics of logistical systems (Hockenberry, Starosielski, and Zieger 2021). At the same time, many others have considered how entertainment media produce public imaginaries in the Global North about the exercise of surveillance elsewhere, such as in televisual and filmic depictions of border security (Fojas 2021) and video games about war and counterterrorism (Payne 2016). Finally, many activist communities are actively developing media counter-practices for resisting digital state surveillance within sites of social unrest and rebellion around the world (Choudry 2019).

For this special section of Jump Cut, we invite contributions that examine how surveillance is a global process located within specific cultural, political, and social practices of power. Such research might address (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Technologies of border security
  • Biometrics – past, present, future
  • Internet infrastructures
  • Ecologies of resource extraction
  • Platforms and outsourced labor
  • Militarization of police
  • Counter-practices to surveillance
  • Global surveillance and documentary aesthetics
  • Representations of global surveillance in entertainment media
  • Networked global cities
  • Social media in the Global South
  • Algorithms and discrimination
  • Public policy and regulation of surveillance
  • Transnational security regimes


Submission Information:

We welcome a range of submissions including article length essays, short reflection papers, opinion pieces, book reviews, and film reviews.

Submissions will undergo a peer-review and revision process prior to publication. Submissions should be original work, neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. All references to previous work by contributors should be masked in the text (e.g., “Author 2015”). Please submit your document in a MS Word-compatible format.



Submissions should be emailed to by January 15, 2023. Please put “JC – Global Surveillance” in the subject line.

Decisions will be communicated by the end of March 2023.

Final revisions will be due May 1, 2023.

The special section will be published in a forthcoming issue of Jump Cut in the winter of 2023.



Browne, Simone. 2015. Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness. Durham: Duke University Press.

Choudry, Aziz (ed.). 2019. Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression. London: Pluto Press.

Crawford, Kate. 2021. Atlas of AI: Power, Politics and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Gandy, Oscar. 1989. “The Surveillance Society: Information Technology and Bureaucratic Social Control.” Journal of Communication 39: 61–76.

Gray, Mary and Siddharth Suri. 2019. Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Fojas, Camilla. 2021. Border Optics: Surveillance Cultures on the US-Mexico Frontier. New York: NYU Press.

Halper, Jeff. 2015. War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification. London: Pluto Press.

Heynen, Robert, and Emily van der Meulen (eds.). 2019. Making Surveillance States: Transnational Histories. Toronto: Universiy of Toronto Press.

Hockenberry, Matthew, Nicole Starosielski, and Susan Zieger (eds.). 2021. Assembly Codes: The Logistics of Media. Durham: Duke University Press.

Lyon, David. 1994. The Electronic Eye: The Rise of the Surveillance Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Lyon, David. 2004. “Globalizing Surveillance.” International Sociology 19: 135–49.

Marx, Gary. 1985. “The Surveillance Society: The Threat of 1984-style Techniques.” The Futurist 6: 21–6.

Murakami Wood, David. 2009. “The ‘Surveillance Society’: Questions of History, Place and Culture.” European Journal of Criminology 6(2): 179-194.

Parks, Lisa. 2018. Rethinking Media Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror. New York: Routledge.

Payne, Matthew Thomas. 2016. Playing War: Military Video Games After 9/11. New York: NYU Press.

Schaeffer, Felicity Amaya. 2022. Unsettled Borders: The Militarized Science of Surveillance on Sacred Indigenous Land. Durham: Duke University Press.

Shaw, Ian. 2016. Predator Empire: Drone Warfare and Full Spectrum Dominance. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Starosielski, Nicole. 2015. The Undersea Network. Durham: Duke University Press.

Ström, Timothy Erik. 2020. Globalizing Surveillance. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Contact Info: 

Gary Kafer

Contact Email: