“Digital Expressions of the Self” (Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies)

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Call for Papers
April 16, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Communication, Digital Humanities, Educational Technology, Humanities, Journalism and Media Studies

Deadline for abstracts: 16 April 2021 / Expected date of publication: June 2022

Guest editors: Avishek Ray (National Institute of Technology Silchar), Gabriel Dattatreyan (Goldsmiths),
Usha Raman (University of Hyderabad), Martin Webb (Goldsmiths)

This issue of “Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies“
engages with the digital forms of expressions of the self. We invite papers that explore the ways in
which, for instance, digital techniques now allow the construction of selves that often rely more on
algorithms than any ‘original’ referent. Consider, for example, how algorithms simulate images, voices
etc. and have become the basis for facial recognition, biometrics and similar datafication concerning the
self. This shift is indicative of what we might term posthuman condition. Along these lines, we are
interested in papers that engage with how expressions enhanced by algorithms produce multiple,
fractured selves. Following Deleuze, we invite papers that engage with how the in-dividual has become
‘dividual’ in societies of post-control vis-a-vis the introduction of digital technologies. Finally we are
interested in how people experiment with creative expressions of the self. Constructing the self in the
digital sphere may involve processes of experimentation that in turn allow one to experience the self in
multiple ways. This is mediated of course by the apparatus of the digital-codes and algorithms. Digital
self-expression occurs both consciously and explicitly, and subconsciously and indirectly. Taking this as a
point of departure, this special issue examines the broad range of digital expressions of the self. The
issue will pivot around, but not be limited to, these concerns:
 What, in the digital context, defines the self and its boundaries? How is the self articulated in
digital culture and cultures of everyday life especially in relation to Web 2.0? When articulated
digitally, where do we locate its forms and ontology?
 How is the digital expression of the self different from its analogue counterpart? What
affordances of the digital, if at all, reconfigure the self? Consider, certain digital expressions can
be evidential (eg: the selfie), viral, emotive or even tactile. How do the materialities of the
specific platforms (eg: Instagram, MySpace.com, TikTok videos, Soundcloud, Tinder etc.) then
impact the digital self or its expression?
 These platforms have become not only media of self-expression but also experimentation. How
do users, especially youngsters, leverage these platforms to experiment with their gender,
bodies, sexualities and identities, creating self-representations that often challenge normativity?
 How (im)proximate, in terms of referentiality, is the digital self to the so-called ‘real’ self? What
does the digital expression entail epistemologically? How does it speak to the question of
referentiality? In other words, to what extent, if at all, can these expressions be perceived as
simulacrum? What is the nature of the human-algorithm interaction involved here?
 How does the notion of the (in)dividual play out while articulating one’s self in the context of
digitality, when the (post)human can be prosthetically ‘engineered’, Artificial Intelligence can
govern societies, and robots can acquire personhood (or even citizenship)?
Please send a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio-note to the guest editors:
avishekray@hum.nits.ac.in, g.dattatreyan@gold.ac.uk, usharaman@uohyd.ac.in, m.webb@gold.ac.uk
by 16 April 2021.
Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by 30 April 2021. Full papers will be due by 30 July 2021.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Avishek Ray

Assiatant Professor

Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,

National Institute of Technology