Venue: University of Reading      Date: April 21, 2017

This year’s annual conference of the BAAL Language & New Media SIG will take up the important issue of how the semiotic affordances, information architectures and communicative practices associated with digital media are affecting people’s constructions and interpretations of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ – including such phenomena as ‘filter bubbles’ and ‘echo chambers, ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories, the decline in influence of mainstream media, ‘post-truth’ politics and ‘alt’ movements, and the role of new media in the rise of authoritarian governments. The focus will be on what scholars of language and discourse can contribute to understanding 1) the new ways information circulates through digital media and the new norms of communication and interpretation that have developed around these flows of information, 2) the effect that new media communication is having on the status of such constructs as ‘truth’, ‘facticity’, ‘objectivity’, and ‘expertise’ and the new ‘ways of knowing’ it is giving rise to, and 3) the consequences of these new epistemologies on politics, public policy, governance and democratic institutions.

Proposals are invited for 20 minute paper presentations as well as posters/web-based presentations addressing the theme of ‘language, new media and alt.realties’.

Possible areas of interest include:

  • New media epistemologies and ontologies
  • New media discourse and political polarisation
  • Algorithmic pragmatics and political debate
  • Authoritarian and populist discourses online
  • ‘Trolling’ as a form of political discourse
  • Agnotology (the cultural construction of ignorance)
  • The crisis of ‘expertise’
  • ‘Fake news’ and ‘clickbait’
  • Hacking and disinformation
  • Infotainment and spectacle
  • Conspiracy theories and memes
  • Journalism in the age of social media

Please send your proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract to Prof Rodney Jones, University of Reading

Deadline for Submitting Proposals: March 25, 2017

Plenary Speakers

Dr Caroline Tagg, The Open University

Dr Philip Seargeant, The Open University

Dr Colleen Cotter, Queen Mary University of London