Third-Person Effect Symposium in latest Mass Communication and Society

Over half of the October-December 2008 issue of Mass Communication and Society (Volume 11, Number 4) is devoted to third-person effect research. The special symposium is edited by Stephen A. Banning.

“This special symposium section not only celebrates the third-person effect/perception, examining where the hypothesis is today, it seeks to push boundaries and cause scholars to question what avenues are yet to be explored. With this purpose in mind, four articles are presented. Jeffres, Neuendorf, Bracken and Atkin look at evidence that theories of third-person perception, agenda-setting, and cultivation can be interrelated and reveal how the third-person effect may interface with a panoply of other communication theories. Boyle, Schmierbach, and McLeod cast a critical eye on measurements of the third-person effect, testing the effectiveness of the diamond model against more common measures with surprising results. Frederick and Neuwirth examine new possibilities in regard to the second-person effect, applying the second-person effect to public relations theory. Golan and Day look at the first-person effect in a different light than previous researchers, suggesting it may be more than just the opposite of the third-person effect.” –Stephen A. Banning, from the Symposium Introduction

The issue is available online from the Library web.

Race and Reality TV

If you’re looking for more reading in preparation for the upcoming Scholars Symposium, Reality Television, Real Worlds: Global Perspectives on the Politics of Reality Television, December 5, 2008 here at the Annenberg School, the latest issue of Critical Studies in Media Communication (Volume 25, Number 4, October 2008) is devoted to Race and Reality TV, edited by Mark P. Orbe.

Articles include an opening piece by Orbe, Representations of Race in Reality TV: Watch and Discuss, followed by Black. White. and a Survivor of the Real World: Constructions of Race on Reality TV, by Katrina E. Bell-Jordan; Performing Race in Flavor of Love and The Bachelor, by Rachel E. Dubrofsky and Antoine Hardy; As Seen on TV: An Autoethnographic Reflection on Race and Reality Television, by Robin M. Boylorn. Catherine Squires and Mark C. Hopson supply critical responses to the issue with Race and Reality TV: Tryin’ to Make It Real – But Real Compared to What? and “Now Watch Me Dance”: Responding to Critical Observations, Constructions, and Performances of Race and Reality on Television, respectively.

The issue is available from the Library web page.



New Journal: The Senses & Society

The Senses & Society, begun in 2006, is now available from the Penn Library webpage and also in paper in the ASC Library. The November issue has just arrived and includes a lead article on Coney Island (Fantasy Lands and Kinesthetic Thrills: Sensorial Consumption, the Shock of Modernity and Spectacle as Total-Body Experience at Coney Island), followed by articles on gardening (as in: The Sensory Dimensions of), Javanese Kroncong music, and Ipods. The journal is edited by Paul Gilroy (London School of Economics), David Howes (Concordia University), and Douglas Kahn (University of California, Davis) who wrote a nice set-up piece for the whole endeavor in the first issue. From Introducing Sensory Studies:




“The appearance of The Senses and Society is a sign of the sensual revolution in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts. This “revolution” has disclosed the starting multiplicity of different formations of the senses in history and across (as well as within) cultures. The sensorium (meaning: “the entire perceptual apparatus as an operational complex”) is an ever-shifting social and historical construct. The perceptual is cultural and political, and not simply (as psychologists and neurobiologists would have it) a matter of cognitive processes or neurological mechanisms located in the individual subject.

In addition to loosening psychology’s grip on the study of perception, the emergent focus on the social life of the senses is rapidly supplanting older paradigms of cultural interpretation (e.g. cultures as “texts” or “discourses”, as “worldviews” or “pictures”), and challenging conventional theories of representation. The senses mediate the relationship between self and society, mind and body, idea and object. The senses are everywhere. Thus, sensation (as opposed to but inclusive of representations in different media) is fundamental to our experience of reality, and the sociality of sensation cries out for more concerted attention from cultural studies scholars.

While providing an antidote to the logocentrism and ocularcentrism of conventional historical and social scientific accounts of “meaning”, The Senses and Society will also help to problematize the increasingly homogenized version of “the body” in contemporary scholarship by advocating a modal and intermodal or relational approach to the study of our corporeal faculties. This relational focus will disrupt the presumption of the unity of the body (which has simply taken over from the modernist presumption of the unity of the subject) by highlighting the differential elaboration of the senses in diverse times and places, and underscoring the multiple forms of human sensuousness.”

Communication and Mourning

Two articles in the recent literature: “Remembrance of the Future”: Derrida on Mourning, by Joan Kirkby, in SOCIAL SEMIOTICS (Volume 16, Number 3, September 2006) which is devoted entirely to Derrida. And in CONTINUUM: JOURNAL OF MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES (Volume 20, Number 3, September 2006) Adi Drori-Avraham authors September 11th and the Mourning After: Media Narrating Grief. Just for fun, I checked the references of each to find they have only one in common: Freud’s On Metapsychology, Volume II of The Theory of Psychoanalysis, which includes “On Mourning and Melancholia.”

New Media Department at MoMA

This would make a great field trip!

From the Arts/Culture Desk of The New York Times, October 3, 2006:

The Museum of Modern Art announced yesterday that it had created a new curatorial department to focus exclusively on the growing number of contemporary artworks that use sound and moving images in gallery installations. The media department, once part of the department of film and media, will deal with works that use a wide range of modern technology, from video and digital imagery to Internet-based art and sound-only pieces, said Klaus Biesenbach, who was named chief curator of the new department. Mr. Biesenbach, right, who has been a MoMA curator since 2004 and the chief curator of P.S. 1, the museum’s Queens affiliate, since 2002, said that works relying on media techniques and ideas of conveying motion and time had become much more prominent over the last two decades at international art fairs and exhibitions. ”And it’s even more visible now,” he said. ”I think artistic practice is evolving, and so museums are evolving as well.” The creation of the new department brings the number of curatorial departments at the museum to seven. The other six are architecture and design, drawings, film, painting and sculpture, photography, and prints and illustrated books.

New issue of Flow

The new issue of Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture is out. It features columns by Jason Mittell, Nichola Dobson, Mark Andrejevic, John Corner, Amanda D. Lotz, and Michael Z. Newman.

Flow is published biweekly by the department of Radio, Television, and Film at the University of Texas at Austin. Some of you may know it featured our own Bill Herman (ASC PhD candidate) in a past issue writing on election fraud (The New “F” Word: Indexed Out of the Election Debate).

This issue’s columns in brief:
“The Best of Television: The Inaugural Flow Critics’ Poll” by Jason Mittell: Find out how Project Runway rates among academics!

“Wasn’t that show cancelled? – The increasing DVD phenomenon” by Nichola Dobson: The expectation seems to be emerging that at the end of any series, or season, the show will be distributed and sold on DVD.

“Reality TV is Undemocratic” by Mark Andrejevic: The adjective, “democratic,” like its somewhat more dramatic modern ancestor, “revolutionary,” is rapidly becoming one of the more overused and under-defined terms in the promotional lexicon of the “interactive” era. In its broadest sense, the term is invoked to indicate that the public has been given a choice of some sort, or even more generally that it has been provided with the opportunity to “participate.” Are these limited forms of engagement truly “democratic”?

“Television and the Practice of ‘Criticism'” by John Corner: How contemplating criticism for television calls into question the very nature of criticism itself.

“Rethinking Meaning Making: Watching Serial TV on DVD” by Amanda D. Lotz: The rapid rise of TV on DVD prompts us to rethink and reexamine television audiences.

“lonelygirl15: The Pleasures and Perils of Participation” by Michael Z. Newman: The Internet has been the site of a zillion hoaxes, so what is so special about lonelygirl15?

Copyright and Culture Blogs

Cinema Studies professor Peter Decherney taught a course this summer called Copyright and Culture (ENGL566.940/FILM595.940). Several library colleagues attended it after which they offered an informal debriefing session to fellow non-enrolled librarians. At the session I had a chance to look over the syllabus and noticed a list of “relevant Blogs” you may want to check out, if you haven’t already.

The Patry Copyright Blog –
Copyfight –
CopyCense –
Freedom to Tinker –
EFF: Deep Links –

MediaCommons Scholarly Publishing Network

The Institute for the Future of the Book (if:book) has introduced a new electronic scholarly publishing project focused on media studies. Dubbed MediaCommons, the project is described as “a wide-ranging scholarly network … in which folks working in media studies can write, publish, review, and discuss, in forms ranging from the blog to the monograph, from the purely textual to the multi-mediated, with all manner of degrees in between.”

Among the possible “nodes” in this network will be electronic monographs, casebooks, journals, reference works, and forums. The announcement with more details, including the structural and intellectual reasons behind if:book’s choice of media studies for this scholarly publishing project as well as lots of blogger responses to the initiativie, can be read at the if:book site.

Animated Soviet Propaganda

Now available in the ASC Library is a four-part series called Animated Soviet Propaganda. This series affords an in-depth look at the spectacular, often disturbing, animation produced by the Soviet propaganda machine from the Lenin era to the dawn of perestroika. Titles in the series are:
American Imperialists: Soviet Animation vs. the United States
Fascist Barbarians: Soviet Animation vs. Nazi Tyranny
Capitalist Sharks: Soviet Animation vs. Greed and Ambition
Onward to the Shining Future: Animation and the Big Soviet Lie

The series is produced by Films for the Humanities & Sciences.

Communication Yearbook chapter on Latina/o media studies

The new Communication Yearbook 30 has arrived is in ASC reference. Communication Yearbook, now in its 30th year, is always a good annual to check out as it contains review of the literature articles on all aspects of the field. One of the articles in this 2006 volume titled The Lantina/o Problematic: Categories and Questions in Media Communication by Esteban Del Rio gives a state of the art read on Latina/o studies in relation to communication. It’s divided into the following sections: Overview of Latina/o Studies as communication domain; Problems and assumptions in Latina/o media studies; Not belonging in America: traditional Latina/o media studies; the Latina/o problematic: nationalism, citizenship and integration, language and culture; and race, class and gender politics of representation. The article includes seven pages of bibliographic references. (ANNEN REF P 87 C642 30)