CFP Theorizing Communication from the South

Publication OpportunitiesCall for Papers, Special Issue of Communication Theory: Theorizing Communication from the SouthGuest Editors: Mohan J. Dutta, National U of Singapore, and Mahuya Pal, U of South Florida.

In this special issue, we take forward emerging calls for decolonizing communication to explore communication theories anchored in the cartographies of the Global South. We encourage submissions that question assumptions regarding internationalization, de-Westernization, and globalization, along with other key concepts, and that consider new directions for approaches to theorizing communication. Submissions should engage with questions concerning the production of knowledge, the role of communication in global relations, and the potential for communication to contribute to advancing imaginaries of the Global South.

The special issue will offer opportunities for theory construction that challenge the Eurocentric bases of communication theories, taking seriously scholars from and in the Global South. In doing so, we hope to foster new grounds for debate, conversation, and practice relevant to communication scholarship. While our emphasis is precisely on theorizing communicative imaginations from the South, scholars situated in the Global North engaged with the practical politics of centering theories from the Global South are also welcome.

The deadline for submission of full papers is 1 December 2017.

See submission guidelines, and submit. For queries regarding the Special Issue’s theme, please contact Mohan Dutta (cnmmohan AT and Mahuya Pal (mpal AT

CFP Latin American Communication Theory Today

Communication Theory Special Issue
Latin American communication theory today: charting contemporary developments and their global relevance
Guest Editors: Florencia Enghel (Stockholm U, Sweden) & Martin Becerra (U Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina)

This Special Issue aligns itself with Communication Theory’s intention to encourage “authors and editors to highlight the historical, cultural, and political contexts in which theoretical approaches are articulated” (Wilkins, 2016)1. Its goal is to address the paucity of Latin American theorization in the journal2 with a focus on state-of-the-art theoretical contributions beyond the much referred-to “Latin American tradition”3. To this purpose, we invite contributions that provide an update of the outstanding theoretical developments produced by Latin American communication scholars in the past ten years (2005-2015) and examine their relevance to the global field of communication studies.

Contributions from the Global South have been rather absent from communication journals published in English in recent years. Graham, Ojanpera and De Sabbata’s (2015) analysis of “the geography of knowledge” reveals that most submissions to SAGE journals in 2014 came from the Global North, and that most countries in the Global South had very low acceptance rates for the small amount of articles submitted4. By presenting the region’s recent theoretical production and unpacking its critical relevance to transnational debates, we expect that the Special Issue will contribute to de-westernizing communication studies (Waisbord & Mellado, 2014), and in the process expand Communication Theory‘s coverage to Latin American countries that have been absent from the journal in terms of their theoretical production and/or the affiliation of contributing authors.

The Special Issue welcomes substantial updates of the Latin American contributions to the theorization of communication and media in recent years combining rich descriptions of conceptual advances well-grounded in the wider sociopolitical contexts in which they have developed, with critical analyses of their significance to global debates.

The Special Issue invites papers that address the following questions:
1. How has communication theory developed in specific Latin American countries in the past ten years (2005-2015)?
2. Which lines of research have been in the foreground, and in which ways is their prominence linked to wider country and/or regional sociopolitical trends and events?
3. To what extent have scholarly agendas been promoted by national research systems, distinct academic units, the private sector, civil society and/or social movements?
4. To what extent have changes in media technologies impacted the development of new concepts and theories?
5. What continuities and discontinuities can be observed in comparison with the region’s theoretical production in the late twentieth century?
6. How do theorizations originated in the region in recent years engage with theoretical developments in other parts of the world?

We particularly encourage papers from communication and media scholars based in Latin America, as well as from Latin American scholars affiliated with institutions abroad.
The deadline for submission of full paper proposals is 1 March 2017.

For submission guidelines, see To submit, go to For queries regarding the Special Issue’s theme, please contact Florencia Enghel (florencia.enghel AT and Martin Becerra (aracabecerra AT

Communication Theory Book Reviews Wanted

Communication Theory
Call for Book Review Proposals

The journal Communication Theory invites book reviews of one to three texts (maximum length 1500 words) of works relevant to the topic of communication theory, particularly those contributing to diversity in perspectives. Although Communication Theory is currently limited to publication in English, this new feature seeks to promote inclusivity through reviews of publications that are themselves not available in English. We prefer proposals to review books that have been published within the last ten years. Our aim is to facilitate comprehensive dialogue across linguistic and other boundaries, on our core communication issues. Proposals for book reviews will be considered on a rolling basis. These reviews would address one to three texts in 500-1500 words.

Please send proposals to the Editor-in-Chief, Karin.wilkins[at], who will consult with Associate Editors in determining approval.

Communication Theory offers a distinguished global forum for dialogue on critical theoretical issues in communication, through publication of insightful and innovative articles and reviews. This journal is committed to integrity through rigorous peer-reviewed processes that promote standards of excellence. We encourage submissions that reflect and recognize strength in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of communication, that consider diversity in perspectives, and that contribute to public engagement. Research articles and reviews are appropriate when they clearly advance theoretical approaches relevant to communication scholarship. We respect and invite diversity in areas of academic interest and research approaches, as well as in gender, sexuality, ethnic, national, and regional origin.

Building bridges from theory to practice

I’m currently teaching a course on communication theory.  It’s an undergraduate class, one of those that’s designed to recruit majors.  Recently, one of my students, Joel, raised his hand in class.  You know the type:  he’s talkative, friendly and bright, a bit overbearing, and trying to figure out ‘what does it all mean’.  And that is precisely what he asked in the middle of a lecture/discussion on the importance of communication theory:  “But Miriam, what’s the point?  How does this stuff work in the real world?  Why should I care?”

It’s an age-old question, and one that students and teachers alike often struggle with, particularly in the social sciences and the humanities:  what is the connection between abstract, above-the-clouds theory and the pragmatic, day-to-day life we lead in the world?  But the question is, really, neither mundane nor naïve.  Indeed, I would argue that, in intercultural communication, this question is particularly important and yet woefully under-addressed.  We come up with all of these amazing theories to describe alienation, assimilation, identity processes, cultural difference—but we publish them in reputable journals and exorbitantly-priced textbooks and provide ‘in real life’ examples primarily at the undergraduate level.  Meanwhile, interculturalists who work in the world (outside of academic research), in such areas as refugee counseling, immigration, study abroad, international business, etc., are often working with little-to-no theoretical training, or with outdated approaches to difference such as the U-Curve or Iceberg models.

Where is the dialogue between theorists and practitioners?  What’s the point of doing such great and important work, on theories such as cosmopolitanism, hybridity, critical race theory, and others, if they are only accessible to other academics?  Those of us who identify as critical intercultural scholars are constantly talking about teaching others that difference should be embraced rather than feared, and yet here we are, talking in a language that is only accessible (literally, in terms of access to academic articles; and figuratively, in terms of being able to translate the academese we learn in graduate school) to a small portion of the population: those most like us.

In a discussion of intercultural dialogue, we would do well to listen to questions like Joel’s—the “how does this work” and “why should I care” questions.  If we are the idealists that the field really demands, then shouldn’t we be taking our work outside of the academy and applying it to those who need it, such as those who work with migrant populations, underserved urban youth, patients without health insurance, and on and on?  How can we build bridges between the important work that is done by university researchers and the communities we intend to serve?

I don’t propose that we stop building intercultural theory.  I think the work we do in intercultural research, particularly with today’s critical and postcolonial turns, is imperative to thriving in a world in which difference is coming closer to our doors rather than farther away.  However, with this divide between town and gown, between theory and practice, particularly in intercultural communication research, too much is lost in the translation.  I’d like to call for creative ways of applying academic theory to real world contexts, in ways that get our students jazzed about life beyond college, to see futures for their intercultural understandings of the world they learn in the classroom.  Programs such as Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo’s work with adolescent literacy, called Space2cre8, are heeding such calls, but there is room for so much more.  Students like Joel, those who understand that there could be more to theory than just memorization and regurgitation on an exam, can start to build these bridges, but only once we realize that our work needs to go further.  Let’s get this conversation moving outward, starting by answering Joel’s question:  “You should care because this work is essential to living in a multicultural world.”  This is the opening of our dialogue.

Miriam S. Sobre-Denton
Assistant Professor | Intercultural Communication
Southern Illinois University Carbondale


CFP Pragmatism & Communication conference

Conference: Pragmatism and Communication
University of Helsinki
4-5 June, 2014

From the sign-theoretical approach of C. S. Peirce to the pragmatic analyses of Robert Brandom, matters of communication have figured prominently in pragmatist thought. Beginning with John Dewey and Robert E. Park, pragmatism has also directly influenced communication scholarship; and interest in pragmatist ideas is currently on the rise in media and communication studies. But what roles does ‘communication’ actually play in pragmatisms of various stripes? What are the
distinctive contributions of pragmatism to our understanding and study of communication?

This two-day interdisciplinary conference aims to explore these and closely connected questions. The organisers welcome proposals for papers discussing any aspect of the relationship between pragmatism and communication, ranging from philosophical discussions of the nature and scope of communication to applications of pragmatist ideas in communication studies. Suitable topics include (but are not restricted to):

– Different pragmatist perspectives on communication
– The historical/contemporary contribution of pragmatist thought to the development of communication theory
– The relationship between inquiry and communication in pragmatist philosophy
– Limitations of symbolic communication
– Pragmatism and scientific communication
– Pragmatism and deliberative communication
– Pragmatist philosophy of journalism and the media
– Pragmatic grounds for the possibility or impossibility of objective communication
– Pragmatist ethics of communication and media
– The role of communication in democracy
– Criticisms of pragmatist approaches in communication studies

Please send an extended abstract of 500-1000 words to Aki Lehtinen  by 1 March 2014. The submitters of the selected proposals will be informed of acceptance by 15 March 2014. A time slot of 30 minutes will be allotted for each accepted paper.

Confirmed speakers include: Robert T. Craig (University of Colorado, Boulder), Eli Dresner (Tel Aviv University), Klaus Bruhn Jensen (University of Copenhagen), John Durham Peters (University of Iowa), Stephen J. A. Ward (University of Oregon), Merja Bauters (Aalto University), Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen (University of Helsinki / Tallinn University of Technology), and Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki /University of Jyväskylä).

Organising committee: Mats Bergman, Aki Petteri Lehtinen, Henrik Rydenfelt

Co-organised by:
– The research project Pragmatic Objectivity
– The Philosophy of Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association
– The Nordic Pragmatism Network
– The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Transformative Power of Dialogue

Review of:
Stephen W. Littlejohn & Sheila McNamee (Eds.). (2014). The coordinated management of meaning: A festschrift in honor of W. Barnett Pearce. Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

by Robyn Penman

In 1980, Barnett Pearce and his colleague, Vern Cronen, published Communication, Action and Meaning, a seminal work introducing scholars to the theory of the coordinated management of meaning (CMM). Over the ensuing decades, CMM theory has continued to grow, reaching a wider and wider audience as the practical and theoretical relevance of Barnett’s work became increasingly acknowledged.

In recognition of Barnett’s outstanding scholarship, a conference, entitled the Transformative Power of Dialogue, was held in his honour in January 2011. The essays in this book collection emerged from that conference. I am one of the contributors to this volume and, as such, this review is more of a commendation than any conventional critical review.

The book opens with an essay written by Barnett shortly before his death, reflecting on what it could take for personal and social revolution to be brought about. As he put it, he has “bet my professional life” on following the risky, high stake path that this evolution “could be promoted by explicit attention to what we are making together in the forms of communication in which we engage” (p. 44).

Barnett’s bet has reaped its rewards, not the least of which is the extent to which he has inspired, encouraged and collaborated with an extraordinary range of scholars and practitioners, a sample of which is contained in the current volume. The very breadth, scholarship and wide-ranging practical import captured in the 15 essays bear witness to the rich offerings to be found in CMM and its broader communication perspective.

For those interested in intercultural dialogue, the central importance placed on dialogue in Barnett’s work, and in the essays in this volume, makes the book especially pertinent. One part of this volume is specifically devoted to the theme of dialogue. The topics include the role of systemic questioning (Victoria Chen), moral conflict and managing difference (Stephen Littlejohn), framing and conflict transformation (Linda Putnam), and generative community dialogue (Stanley Deetz).

Dialogue also emerges as a powerful theme throughout the other parts in the book. For example, I (Penman) consider the core relationship between dialogue and presence and what this means for understanding participation in mediated life. John Lannamann explores the key role of dialogue and its practice in cosmopolitan communication in making better social worlds. And Kim Pearce sums up the volume by talking about the pathway to personal and social evolution in terms of the “life of dialogue…that holds in tension, and compassion, the various stories, actions and people who loves us, or don’t, who are like us. . . . , or aren’t and who may challenge us to the core to remain civil and open” (p. 328).

For anyone interested in dialogue and its role in making better social worlds, this book should be a rewarding read.

COMM 365: NCA is 100 years old

COMM 365: Celebrating 100 years of communication research

In honor of the National Communication Association‘s Centennial, COMM 365, a project celebrating 100 years of communication research, begins this week. Five times per week brief, accessible write-ups of impactful concepts, theories, and research findings from our discipline will appear. The entries began on January 13, 2014 and run throughout the year.

The daily entries were created by NCA interest groups and represent the breadth of our discipline. Entries on topics related to intercultural communication were posted between January 27 and February 4.

The entries will be interesting for NCA members to read and can serve as a resource for undergraduate students enrolled in basic theory and research methods courses. For example, instructors may assign students to review the findings, which will be posted daily and neatly archived by topic, to generate research ideas for papers or extra credit projects. The entries have been written and edited in such a way as to be useful to teachers in secondary educational settings who have an interest in drawing from the discipline for class instruction or related activities.

COMM 365 is Chaired by Zac Gershberg of California State University Stanislaus and sponsored by the Centennial Committee.

The National Communication Association (NCA) is one of the member organizations of the Council of Communication Associations, the parent organization of CID.

Miike reflection on international/cultural communication

On Inheriting the Fields of International and Intercultural Communication: A Personal Reflection*
Yoshitaka Miike (University of Hawai‘i at Hilo)

To inherit is to receive as legacy, place adequate value on and make a part of one’s life. But to be a custodian of a great legacy is to guard, preserve, expand and promote it. It is to honor it by building on and expanding it and, in turn, leaving it as an enriched legacy for future generations.

Maulana Karenga (1996, p. 551)

The International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) of the National Communication Association (NCA) was founded as a commission in 1971 and later formed as a division in 1984. I am thus the 42nd incoming chair of this flourishing division. When I think about the history of the IICD and its critical role in advocating diversity and advancing internationalization within the NCA, I feel the heavy weight of the gavel that Dr. S. Lily Mendoza at Oakland University passed to me in Washington, D.C. With an eye on the 100th Anniversary of the NCA next year, I would like to offer a personal year-end reflection on how we may inherit the fields of international and intercultural communication. More specifically, I wish to suggest that we (1) “create a community of a larger memory” of our fields (to borrow Dr. Ronald Takaki’s [1998] words), (2) clarify our theoretical ideas  and practical issues without sacrificing their complexities, and (3) generate knowledge that bridges differences especially from non-U.S. and non-elite perspectives.

*Source: Miike, Y. (2013, December). On Inheriting the Fields of International and Intercultural Communication: A Personal Reflection. National Communication Association’s International and Intercultural Communication Division Newsletter, pp. 4-7.

Utah State U job ad

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Utah State University
The Department of Languages, Philosophy, & Communication Studies at Utah State University invites applications for a tenure-track, Assistant Professor in Communication Studies. Candidates should have a Doctorate in a Communication related field completed by August 12, 2014. Other qualifications include: specialization in intercultural/international communication with a particular focus on human interaction, desirable secondary areas of specialization include organizational communication, conflict mediation, and communication theory. Applicants should have a demonstrated ability to conduct and publish scholarly research and to effectively teach a variety of courses in support of our Global Communication and Communication Studies majors, as well as an interest in mentoring undergraduate students. Typical teaching load is 2/2.

See here for full job description and to apply online.  Review of applications will begin October 7, 2013 and will continue until position is filled.


Questioning geocultural boundaries


Communication Theory special issue on “Questioning geocultural boundaries of communication theories: De-Westernization, cosmopolitalism and globalization”

Guest editors: Silvio Waisbord and Claudia Mellado
Submission deadline: April 1, 2013

Although Western perspectives have been dominant in the study of communication, scholars have called for the emancipation of non-Western theories and new conceptual and theoretical perspectives. Researchers have shown the importance and vitality of communication theories grounded in various philosophical conceptions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This call should not be understood as an effort to “de-Westernize” communication studies. On the contrary, the task is to explore whether non-Western perspectives expand the analysis and challenge central assumptions and arguments.

Communication Theory therefore invites authors to submit papers for a future special issue on “Questioning geocultural boundaries of communication theories: De-Westernization, cosmopolitalism and globalization.” Contributions could analyze current theoretical developments in communication studies across the world, revisit epistemological and historical foundations, examine the integration of Western and non-Western perspectives in communication studies, the uses of theories of global comparative research, discuss the relevance of non-Western theories and models, and successful and failed efforts at theoretical cross-pollination. Submissions may address but should not be limited to the following

– Amidst the globalization, indigenization, and hybridization of communication and cultures, what do we mean by non-Western and Western theories?
– What are non-Western communication theories? Are they primarily based on non-individualistic, communitarian notions of self and universalistic premises?
– What are the commonalities and differences among non-Western theories? What contributions and differences do they offer?
– How do non-Western theories reframe questions and arguments grounded in Western theories?
– Is it valid to denominate theories on the basis of geo-cultural origin? How are essentialist positions reaffirmed? How and by whom or what are they challenged?

Manuscripts must be submitted by April 1, 2013, through the online submission system of Communication Theory. Authors should indicate that they wish to have their manuscript considered for the special issue. Inquiries can be sent to Silvio Waisbord (waisbord AT and Claudia Mellado (claudia.mellado AT