The Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association

To Be Held Virtually Via Zoom

Dystopic Futures – Media Ecology in an Algorithm Society

July 8–11, 2021

Extended Deadline: February 15, 2021

“Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival.” (Neil Postman, 1970). “It is the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs.” (Lance Strate, 1999)

THE MEDIA ECOLOGY ASSOCIATION (MEA) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for presentation at its 22th Annual Convention, which will be held from 8 to 11 July, 2021. In light of the effects of the pandemic on health and travel, we have decided to postpone hosting our annual meeting at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil until 2022, and will once again hold our convention online via Zoom. The deadline for submission is 15 February 2021.

The annual meeting of the MEA provides an opportunity for our community of scholars, educators, professionals and practioners to exchange experiences and ideas in a friendly environment. Participants at MEA conventions address a wide diversity of topics in our programs, and we encourage submissions that explore media ecological approaches from any number of different disciplines and fields of knowledge and social practice. We are interested in papers, thematic panels, roundtable discussion panels, creative projects, performance sessions, and other proposals of interest to media ecologists.

While we are open to explorations on any topic of interest to media ecologists, we also include a convention theme with the aim of generating further discussion and probes involving multiple perspectives. Submissions do not have to address the theme, but are invited to do so.

THE THEME OF THE 2021 CONVENTION is Dystopic Futures: Media Ecology in an Algorithm Society. Dystopian societies are represented in a variety of science fiction works as an effort to predict pessimistic consequences of our current practices. Films, books and other forms of art set their narratives in the future, to comment on our present culture while maintaining critical distance. However, nowadays we are living in a sort of dystopic present with undesirable and frightening realities. In addition to our natural, environmental, political, ethical, cultural, health and social problems, we have to deal with issues brought by technological advances. We are living in a technopoly (Postman, 1992), or in what some recent authors call an algorithmic society, “a society organized around social and economic decision-making by algorithms, robots, and AI agents, who not only make decisions but also, in some cases, carry them out” (Balkin 2016). What kind of dystopia can we envisage as consequence of our dystopic present?

General topics of interest related to the convention theme (but not limited to):

  • Fake news, and social media: discursive breakdown and political consequences.
  • Robots and transhumanism
  • Algorithmic media: data mining, subjectivity modelling and decision-making
  • Big Data, machine learning, AI, and society
  • Limits of AI development: is it reasonable to talk about an AI take over?
  • Movies and literature: mapping different kinds of dystopias.
  • Pandemics, economic crash, irreversible climate changes and other disasters: what now?
  • Any new (and better) world order on the horizon? Is avoiding dystopia possible?
  • Is media regulation still possible? In what sense and by what means?
  • Discourse and education in the era of technology hegemony.
  • Politics, health, citizenship, and media
  • Disinformation, censorship, and propaganda
  • Crazy talk and stupid talk in digital media
  • Orality and digital literacy in a dystopic world
  • Arts, technology, and cultural legacy
  • Utopia, dystopia and media ecology studies


Please submit paper and panel proposals, in English, by February 15, 2021 to MEA2021Convention@gmail.com. A maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted. Authors who wish their papers to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award must indicate this on their submission(s).

Submission Guidelines for paper and panel proposals:

  1. Include title(s), abstract(s) (maximum 250 words), and contact information for each participant.
  2. Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme.
  3. Authors with papers submitted as part of a panel proposal or as a paper proposal that wish to be considered for Top Paper or Top Student Paper must send the completed paper to the convention planner by May 5, 2021.

Submission guidelines for manuscripts eligible for MEA award submissions:

  1. Manuscripts should be 4,000–6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages)
  2. Include a cover page with your institutional affiliation and other contact information.
  3. Include an abstract (maximum 150 words).


Because we will once again be holding our convention via Zoom, we plan to offer the same lower registration fees that we did last year. Namely, 

  • MEA members: $25
  • MEA student members: $10
  • Non-members: $50
  • Non-member students: $25
All convention participants and attendees are encouraged to join the MEA.

Please direct questions to convention coordinator Adriana Braga, MEA2021Convention@gmail.com. For more on the Media Ecology Association, visit https://www.media-ecology.org.

Download a PDF version of this CFP in English (or in Portuguese) to print or share!

© 1999–2024 Media Ecology Association

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software