Friday , November 24 2023

69th Annual Conference of International Communication Association (ICA)! 24th-28th May, 2019


2019 Conference Calls for Papers


Washington, D.C. | 24-28 May 2019

The ICA 2019 conference theme of Communication Beyond Boundaries aims for an understanding of the role of communication and media in the crossing of social, political and cultural boundaries that characterize contemporary society, and encourages research that crosses the boundaries of research domains, of particular fields of research interest, and of academia and the outside world.

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Communication and media feature centrally in today’s crossing of boundaries that characterizes societal structures, institutions and cultures, themselves firmly founded in communications technologies, infrastructures and practices. The spatial dimension of the practice of communication, in the past, resulted in legacy media allowing people to be constituted as an ‘imagined community’ within the defined territories of the nation state, while today’s global digital technologies and networks have been central to the expansion in movements of people, capital, commodities, images and ideologies across national boundaries. This contributes, according to optimists like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (channelling Marshall McLuhan), a ‘global community’, while critical voices see them as markers of new forms of social inequality and cultural domination.

Beyond this, communication and media feature centrally in various other forms of social, political and cultural boundary crossing. These include:

  • the discursive work involved in thinking beyond binary boundaries in contemporary identity politics;
  • the role of social media in re-defining the boundaries between fact and fake and between science and beliefs, affecting the politics of knowledge and the epistemology of science;
  • the place of communication technologies in AI and the Internet of Things, questioning what it means to be human; and
  • the growing recognition of the role of the brain as a window in to attitudinal and behavioural change and its repercussion for marketing as well as children’s well-being.

Communication and media are part and parcel of these trends, sometimes as instigators, other times as the result, most often as important conduits for this crossing of boundaries.

Communication and media in both digital and analogue formats feature in the rise of movements that aim to counter these boundary-crossing developments, for instance, in populist nationalisms that challenges the claims about the irrevocable advance of globalization, as the role of tabloids in promoting the Brexit vote illustrates. Conservative movements employ legacy and social media to rally against political correctness and identity politics, and racism thrives in online hate communities, while activists turn to communication and media to help solve problems of our age, ranging from war and terror, human rights abuses, climate change to fake news, identity theft and (online) sexual predators.


These examples emphasize that it is timely to consider the boundary-crossing nature and relevance/impact of contemporary communication. This require interdisciplinary research that crosses the silos of disciplines and research fields. With the theme of Communication Beyond Boundaries, we encourage research that spans across particular research domains, and across the boundaries constructed by particular fields of research interest.

Within the field of communication, we invite researchers to look beyond divisional and sub-disciplinary boundaries, as diverse examples such as intersectionality and health communications’ current shift of focus to entertainment education have shown to be fruitful paths to new insights. Beyond that, communication has long been a highly porous field, shaping and being shaped by its interaction with many academic disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. With the rapid expansion of digital communication, and growing awareness of the environmental impact of human activity, the extent of its engagement with the Natural as well as the Human Sciences is increasingly apparent.


As communication scholars, we have important insights into areas as diverse as bioethics, artificial intelligence, robotics and cryptocurrencies, as well as how to create more just and equal multicultural societies. The final point also encourages us to think about the role of academics in crossing the boundaries of academia into society, as advisers and activists, reaching out to regulators, industries, civil society organisations and activist groups.

With the conference theme of Communication Beyond Boundaries, we encourage scholars to address key questions related to:

  • How to understand the role of communication in boundary crossing developments in politics, culture and society?
  • What is the role of communication in the counter-movements opposing/rectifying globalising boundary crossing?
  • Where do various strands of communication research need to (re)connected to tackle the issues and problems of contemporary boundary crossing?
  • How can communication research inform and be informed by other academic disciplines in understanding these boundary crossing trends and their counter trends?
  • What role for academics in crossing the boundaries of academia into society as policy advisors, activists and NGOs, industry researchers, or end-users of communication services?

Submission for the ICA 2019 theme must:

  • Focus on the topic of boundary crossing;
  • Demonstrate the need for research collaboration across boundaries within communication research and between communication and other disciplines and fields;
  • Panels should include contributions from at least two different countries, and not more than one contribution from a single Faculty, Department or School.


General Proposals

Submissions to theme sessions must follow all general guidelines put forward by ICA (8,000 words, not including tables and references). Proposals for papers and panels on the conference theme are invited from all sectors of the field, and will be evaluated competitively by anonymous referees. Theme-based submissions must be cross-divisional; that is, they must span the interests and purview of more than one ICA division or interest group, and should have broad appeal across all units of the association. Submissions deemed to fit the interests of one division or interest group rather than the conference as a whole will be forwarded to that group for consideration. Papers or panels must not be submitted simultaneously for consideration to any division or interest group.

Panel proposals on the conference theme must include a 400-word rationale explaining how the panel fits the conference theme and 150-word summary of the rationale to appear in the conference program. In keeping with ICA tradition, an edited volume focusing on the conference theme will be published. This volume will draw from presentations in divisions, interest groups, and theme sessions.


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About Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a writer with passion for cutting-edge news

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