CFP Journal of Communication Special Issue

Call for Papers: Ferments in the Field
Ferments in the Field: The Past, Present and Futures of Communication Studies

In 1983, Journal of Communication (JoC) published the special issue “Ferment in the Field” (Volume 33, Issue 3, co-edited by George Gerbner and Marsha Siefert). The issue focused on “questions about the role of communications scholars and researchers, and of the discipline as a whole, in society” (Gerbner & Siefert, 1983, p. 4). The 35 contributions reflected “on the state of communications research today; the relationship of the researcher to science, society, and policy; the goals of research with respect to social issues and social structure; and the tactics and strategies for reaching their goals” (ibid). In 1993, two comparable JoC issues were dedicated to “The Disciplinary Status of Communication Research” (Volume 43, Issues 3-4, co-edited by Mark Levy and Michael Gurevitch). In 2008, a JoC special issue discussed “Epistemological and Disciplinary Intersections” (Volume 58, Issue 4, edited by Michael Pfau).

More than three decades after the original Ferment issue, it is again time to reflect on disciplinary transformations in communication studies. By calling this new special issue Ferments in the Field, we see historical continuity in our efforts along JoC’s tradition of inviting communication scholarship to reflect upon itself. Meanwhile, we ask questions with a special eye on the increasing complexity and diversity of the field:
• What does the field of communication research look like?
• What have been the key tendencies and developments in communication(s) research and its subfields?
• How has the field developed in the past decades? What have been long-term continuities and discontinuities since the 1980s?
• What is the actual and desirable role for communication studies in contemporary academe and society?
• What is the status of theory, methods, critique, ethics, and interdisciplinarity in our field?
• What is the status of critical research and theories?
• How should the field position itself vis-à-vis key contemporary processes and challenges?
• What does the future of communication studies look like?

With these questions in mind, we hope to encourage authors to revisit the classic “ferment” themes as identified by past contributions to JoC. It is our belief that past arguments and issues need to be re-examined given new developments in communication in contemporary societies, changing media systems and communication processes, the digitization of communication, global and regional crisis, and the dynamics of knowledge production in academic institutions around the world.

Contributions to a new edition of “Ferments in the Field” should be provocative essays that offer bold ideas with broad implications for the field as a whole and areas of specializations. This special issue speaks of ferments in the plural in order to spur reflections beyond established academic boundaries and stimulate discussions that encourage scholars to think beyond comfort zones. From multiple theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary perspectives, it asks about the continuities and discontinuities in communication research in an attempt to initiate a new round of debates about the past, present and futures of the field.

The special issue will be published in 2018. The editors are Professor Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster) and Professor Jack Qiu (Chinese University of Hong Kong).

Authors are welcome to submit extended abstracts to the Editors by December 1, 2016. Extended abstracts should have a length of 400-1,000 words (excluding tables, figures, and references). Abstracts should be submitted to c.fuchs[at] and jacklqiu[at]

After the editors review the abstracts, authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection by early February 2017. In reviewing abstracts, special attention will be given to whether the proposed pieces take a broad view on the past, present and future of communication studies from specific angles. Subsequently, authors who were asked to submit complete papers will need to submit their manuscripts by May 2, 2017. Each manuscript should not exceed 4,000 words (including tables, figures, and references). Manuscripts should be submitted to Please indicate submission for the special issue “Ferments in the Field” in the cover letter.

Extended abstracts and manuscripts must conform to JoC guidelines, including the use of APA 6th edition.

Besides extended abstracts and manuscripts, the editors welcome expression of interest in reviewing submissions. Questions and comments should be directed to Jack Qiu and Christian Fuchs.

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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