16th October 2013

Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference

The 6th William A. Kern Conference on Visual Communication
Rochester Institute of Technology
April 24-26, 2014

Communicating Identity/Consuming Difference

Call for Papers

Communicating identity – hero, villain, native, immigrant, minority, celebrity, terrorist – often leads to controversy and conflict. These identities are frequently represented with implicit comparative differences, such as friend vs. foe or familiar vs. strange. This conference seeks to explore how identities are presented and performed in consumer culture, and why it matters.  What are the connections between communication, consumption and ‘difference’? …and between audiences, citizens, viewers, and consumers? What can we say about the production and consumption of images of identity? What can theory from post-colonial, post-gender, post-race, and post-class perspectives contribute? How do representations of identity in cultural discourses including advertising, art, branding, fashion, film, journalism, photography, social media, and web design intersect with consumption? How can consumer culture theory strengthen our understanding of visual communication?

We invite submissions that address these themes from multiple points of view. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary perspectives that discuss and theorize how identity is communicated, constructed and consumed in contemporary and historical consumer culture.  Following in the tradition of Kern conferences, we plan a rich program of interdisciplinary scholarship and conversation.

Individual papers, visual presentations, panels and workshop proposals are welcomed.

Invited speakers include:

Kevin Thomas, Advertising and Public Relations, University of Texas, Austin
Derek Conrad Murray, History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz
Radhika Parameswaran, Journalism, University of Indiana
David Crockett, Marketing, University of South Carolina
Alexander Marr, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
Ammina Kothari, Journalism, Rochester Institute of Technology
Tracy Worrell, Communication, Rochester Institute of Technology
Robin Means Coleman, Communication Studies/Afroamerican & African Studies, University of Michigan

Submission deadline: January 15, 2014
Send extended abstracts (500 – 2500 words) via email to Jonathan Schroeder (jesgla@rit.edu).

Conference Chair: Jonathan E. Schroeder
William A. Kern Professor of Communications
Rochester Institute of Technology