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Call for Proposals on Communication and Place, Identity and Change

The American Communication Association (ACA) is inviting proposals for its 2007 Annual Conference held October 4-6, 2007 on the Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Taos, New Mexico campus.The theme of this year’s conference is “Frontiers of Communication: Determining Place, Establishing Identity, and Shaping Change”. Descriptions of the themes are posted below. The American Communication Association is open to all participants. Please submit papers and panels to Rita Kirk (rkirk@smu.edu). All submissions should be submitted electronically. You will receive notification that the submission has been received, and again later when the panels and schedules are posted. Student submissions are welcome. The deadline for submitting papers and panels is May 31, 2007. Acceptance notices will be sent early in July. The convention will cost $150 USD for professionals and full-time professors and $75 for students. For more information visit the ACA website: www.americancomm.org. Themes include:

Determining Place -Objective and Subjective Contexts

By examining how communication defines circumstance, conditions, factors, state of affairs, situation, scene, and backgrounds, the populace forms categories consisting of communities and groups in which to make meaning. During the first day of the conference, participants will examine such themes as: How do we construct places or socially shared contexts? How do we make the places known to others? What role does ecology play in communication? How do we learn the fabrics of socially shared contexts in traditional and virtual settings? Do newly created places provide for more or less expression? Are all contexts virtual in that we perceive them according to our own templates of reality and how does this impact communication? How is the substitution of nonhuman for human technology, transforming our lives into controlled environments and affecting the selection of communication channels and participants?

Shaping Change through Communication

Successful action, movements, operations, engagement, power, influence, happenings, events, and activities are bringing people together to shape society. During the final day of the conference, participants will focus on how actions link place and identity to create virtual and electronic campaigns, many of which have given previously silent people more visibility to take part in such movements to transform their lives and communities. Topics such as The Third Force — how people are coming together via the Internet to impact social problems — from Hurricane Katrina to hunger. What are the social, cultural, and technological factors that facilitate or hinder people from working with each other from different locations? Do we need a new “place” to foster collaboration? How do we communicate what we need and what we can offer across boundaries? How do we create a shared social context so we can organize and coordinate our actions? In a society that wants instant, preformed solutions to social issues, how do we find the language to bind rather than divide us?

Establishing Identities – Exogenous and Indigenous Identities

Through examining the roles of participants, contributors, entrants, competitors, players, and candidates, the second day focuses on the native and the innovative roles people play when communicating. Who are we, traditional people or displaced people in a diasporic world? A networked world? How do we communicate “we”? Are “we” changing all the time? Are we empowered to revive or revise who we are? Are we free to choose how to express who we are? Who will be counted in “we” vs.

“them”? How do we communicate to people that we are (not) one of them?

The effects of a virtual society on multiculturalism: are we more homogenous because of the Internet or less so? In a culture that tends to believe deeply that in general ‘bigger is better’ how do we humanize a McDonaldized society? Do we define our society as intracultural or Multicultural? How do we protect and pass down our oral traditions and ceremony in a fast paced society? Does technology help or hinder the preservation of storytelling?

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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