2nd Annual CRDM Research Symposium: Environments, Risks, and Digital Media

Following the smashing success of last year’s inaugural CRDM Research Symposium–“Materializing Communication and Rhetoric”–comes the announcement and CFP for this year’s offering to take place April 15-16 at NCSU. Organized by Dr. Bill Kinsella, who was recently featured as the News & Observer’s “Tar Heel of the Week,” the symposium will showcase research on digital media and its relationship to risk communication, with special attention to the environment.

Titled “Environments, Risks, and Digital Media: Communicating, Governing, and Managing Risks in a Mediated World,” the Symposium’s featured speakers include:

  • G. Thomas Goodnight, U. of Southern California
  • Graham Murdock, Loughborough University
  • Matthew Nisbet, American University
  • Tarla Rai Peterson, Texas A&M University
  • Blake Scott, University of Central Florida

Check out the Symposium website to learn more, download the symposium poster as a .pdf, or read the CFP below:


Recent events—the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the subsequent nuclear failures—illustrate how environments and human action entangle in a complex and risky formation. The overarching problem of global climate change, operating on a very different time scale, challenges society’s ability to comprehend and address the risks emerging from its own activity. These and other examples raise a multitude of questions regarding the relationships among environments, risks, and digital media. How do public discourses constitute risks, and how might digital media change those constitutive processes? How do publics, governments, and communities respond to risks, and how do digital media enable and constrain those responses?

This two-day research symposium will advance research and debate on a timely but underdeveloped problematic: the role of digital media in constituting, discursively constructing, managing, governing, communicating, and responding to risks. As conceptualized by sociologist Ulrich Beck, contemporary “risk society” is constituted by “modernization risks” that emerge as consequences of technological development and are managed increasingly through technological means. In this context, digital media are points of articulation or sites of emergence for discursively constituted risks. Some of these risks, such as threats to individual privacy in an era of increased surveillance, acts of terrorism facilitated by communication tools, and electronic bullying and harassment, are generally viewed as direct consequences of new media technologies. In these cases new media are seen both as sources of problems and as potential sources of solutions. In other cases, such as well-known environmental, health, and safety risks, new media provide potential tools for evaluation, democratic deliberation, and public awareness and response.

The CRDM Research Symposium convenes presenters and participants from a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches spanning rhetorical, critical/cultural, and social science approaches to communication. We invite participation from CRDM faculty and graduate students; from other departments and programs across NC State University; and from corporate, governmental, and academic institutions throughout the Research Triangle (e.g., the US Environmental Protection Agency, pharmaceutical companies, digital media and information management companies, and Triangle universities) and at the national and international levels.

Call for Proposals

Proposals are requested for 15-20-minute presentations addressing of the symposium topic within the tracks suggested above or on other related themes. To submit a proposal, send a 250-word abstract by April 4 to William Kinsella (see below). The featured speakers listed above will present longer talks and one or more keynote addresses. Conference registration will be free of charge and open to presenters and non-presenters.

To submit a proposal, email your abstract by April 4 to:
William Kinsella, Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Science, Technology and Society
North Carolina State University
email: wjkinsel@ncsu.edu

Hope to see you there!

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