18,353 Media Ecology Association: August 2022 Newsletter

The Official Newsletter for the Media Ecology Association
August 2022 Newsletter

The Twenty-Third Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association: Celebration

Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilRecap:

The 23rd Annual Media Ecology Convention was held between July 7th and 10th, 2022 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was my great pleasure to work with MEA president Adriana Braga in bringing the convention to life in our first proceedings south of the equator. The kind community of faculty, administrators, staff and students at PUC-Rio greeted convention-goers warmly and made our stay in Rio memorable and rewarding. 

Our Thursday program featured a plenary session with Dr. Adriana Braga, who recounted her experience with media ecology and the presence of media ecology scholarship in Brazil. After a day of engaging breakout sessions, in both English and Portuguese, we concluded with an afternoon poetry and pecha kucha plenary featuring Dr. Lance Strate, Dr. Adeena Karasick and yours truly, Dr. Mike Plugh. It was my desire to create a convention program that mixed scholarly presentation and featured speakers with sessions devoted to experience. In our community tradition, art has always played a central role in our shared experience. The evening concluded with a lively cocktail reception at the historical Solar Grandjean de Montigny, an example of Brazilian neoclassical architecture found at the heart of the PUC-Rio campus. The Solar Grandjean de Montigny was named a national monument by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage in 1938. According to PUC-Rio’s website, “Preserved and restored, the Manor was built to be the residence of the French architect Auguste Henri Victor Grandjean de Montigny, who came to Brazil in 1816. The space is used to implement cultural and artistic activities and also offers, collection, archive and library.”

Our Friday program began with a lively sing along plenary, hosted by MEA vice president elect Bob Albrecht. The session featured songs in both English and Portuguese, including both folk and pop standards from the United States, Brazil, and other national origins. It was an enjoyable start to another busy day of breakout sessions, which culminated with our first featured speaker, Dr. Paul Soukup, SJ, who delivered a talk entitled, “Finding Ong’s Way Through: Walter Ong’s Method for Media Ecology.” The evening’s social program included the film Torcedores: Vida, Paixão e Morte no País do Futebol (Soccer Fans: Life, Passion and Death in the Soccer Country), directed by Brazilian anthropologist, Dr. Édison Gastaldo, and a boisterous outdoor jam session in the middle of PUC-Rio’s lush campus.

Saturday morning at the MEA Convention began with another “experiential” plenary. I played host to an hour-long silent meeting in the Quaker tradition. Attendees sat silently together as a path to understanding the sacredness of both silence and speech. Most of the participants took the opportunity to respectfully break the silence with reflections of one sort or another, and I believe it’s safe to say that everyone in attendance found the experience powerful and moving. Our program of breakout sessions, once again, featured scholarship delivered in English and Portuguese, and by this time in our schedule the convention had taken on a distinct and positive personality. This was the perfect climate to experience our second featured speaker, Tiffany Shlain, who delivered a dynamic talk entitled, “Dear Human.” As described in our program, “In Dear Human, Tiffany Shlain takes the audience on a journey across the past, present, and future of the relationship between humanity and technology. From her founding of The Webby Awards when only 1% of the population was online, to everyone being online 24/7, to her life-changing practice of turning off screens for one day every week for the past 13 years, Tiffany uses a captivating combination of cinematic visuals, original animations, and provocative and inspiring storytelling to invite the audience to reconsider – as Marshall McLuhan wisely observed – how technology both amplifies and amputates our humanity, and how to stay balanced in the midst of it all.” 

The buzz created by Tiffany’s presentation offered a perfect transition to our evening program at the Sociedade Germania, the oldest recreational and sports club in Brazil, founded in 1821, which aims to promote cultural and social exchange between Brazil and Germany. During our time at Sociedade Germania we enjoyed food and drink, the presentation of our annual MEA awards, hosted by Dr. Lance Strate, and the traditional Presidential Address, delivered by Dr. Adriana Braga. 

Our program concluded on Sunday morning with an exquisite musical performance by the Juliana Sucupira Trio and a plenary session featuring a number of MEA past presidents, including Dr. Lance Strate, Dr. Thom Gencarelli, Dr. Peggy Cassidy, and current MEA president Dr. Adriana Braga. Discussion of the association’s past, present and future marked the roundtable discussion, leading directly into the General Business Meeting and the official adjournment of the convention proceedings.

I am very grateful to all the people who made the 2022 MEA Convention a success, including all the folks at PUC-Rio, the convention presenters, featured speakers and MEA Board members who contributed their talents and time, whether they were able to attend or not. It was a delight to play host to our international membership with Adriana, and I very much look forward to what we have in store for next year’s convention in New York City. Best wishes until we meet again!

Mike PlughVice President & 2022 Convention Program Planner

Television News Coverage of the MEA 2022 Convention:Here is some bonus coverage of the convention by local TV PUC-Rio:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvLIP1vEHLE

2022 MEA Convention Resources

Full MEA 2022 Convention Program
2022 MEA Award Winners
Call for 2023 MEA Awards
Call for Papers 2023 MEA

Special Recognition:

Our very own Bernadette “bird” Bowen won the UCF grant (https://media-ecology.org/UCF-Grant).

«The U.S. White Flight left historically and intentionally targeted marginalized groups in cityscapes in the impoverished dust of public transport. This racialized phenomena restructured urban environments and deadened surrounding landscapes, engendering deliberately baron space too far to traverse by no- and low-income feet. Now, in the age of COVID-19 Midwest landscapes are an eyesore, which perpetually disable working class folks from safe social distancing in areas already plagued with sociohistorical and economic disenfranchisement. Meanwhile, gentrified affluent spaces remain comprised of mostly Whites of a certain status. This project explores present-COVID human implications of having a car in a nation founded upon ecological devastations.”


Are you interested in media ecology and have some questions about it? Are you working on a study related to media ecology and searching for advice? Are you an instructor looking for a media ecology expert to invite as a virtual guest speaker to one of your classes?

Get in touch with us! We are happy to schedule a “virtual coffee” appointment with you. Simply fill out the form below to set up a short call or virtual meeting with a scholar from the MEA.

The format is open to all. We especially encourage students and early-career scholars interested in media ecology to get in touch with us.

Do you have a background in media ecology and would like to volunteer for virtual coffee meetings with those looking to learn more about it? Send an email to Julia M. Hildebrand.

Arrange a Virtual Coffee appointment on our website

70th Annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and Dinner&Ecologies of Mind, Media, & Meaning SymposiumOctober 7-9, 2022New YorkRegistration is now open for the 70th annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture and dinner, and the Ecologies of Mind, Media, & Meaning

Symposium to follow, October 7th-9th in New York City. Attendance is free
for members of the Institute of General Semantics (dues are a steal at $50
for regular membership, $25 for students, which also gives you a
subscription to ETC, edited by Thom Gencarelli, and other discounts).

Inquiries regarding participation in the symposium should be sent to Lance Strate via president@generalsemantics.org

The event is co-sponsored by the New York Society for General Semantics and the Media Ecology Association.REGISTER HERE70th Annual Alfred Korzybski Memorial LectureJanna Levin»Black

Hole Survival Guide:

This year’s Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture will be delivered by Columbia
University astrophysicist and novelist Janna Levin on «Black Hole Survival
Guide»: In April this year, there was a monumental scientific  announcement
of the first picture of our black hole at the center of the Milky Way. We
orbit that black hole as surely as we orbit the sun. It’s 4 million times
the mass of the sun yet less than 20 times the width. At 26,000 light-years
away, the black hole is as big in our sky as a piece of fruit on the moon
and it took a telescope the size of the Earth to image it. This has been a
century of black hole discoveries, including two Nobel prizes for
black-hole science in the past few years. This is deserving of a third,
with one billion people around the globe tuning in to look together at the
first human-procured image of a black hole. Janna Levin, astrophysicist and
author, will give a visually-guided tour of black holes and the role they
play in our past and our future.

Janna Levin is the Claire Tow Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard
College of Columbia University. She is also the Founding Director of
Sciences at Pioneer Works, a cultural center in Brooklyn, and the
editor-in-chief of the virtual magazine, Pioneer Works Broadcast, which
publishes across disciplines from art to science. She has contributed to an
understanding of black holes, the early universe, chaos, and the shape of
the universe. Her books include How the Universe Got Its Spots, Black Hole
Blues, and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won several
prominent prizes for fiction. Her latest book is Black Hole Survival Guide.

The lecture, dinner, and symposium are being held at the historic Players
Club in Gramercy Park, Manhattan. Currently, all attendees must be
vaccinated and show proof of vaccination to gain admittance to the club.

Registration is free for IGS members and their guests, but all attendees
must be registered in advance in order to gain admittance to the club. More
information regarding the dinner and symposium schedule will be made
available at a later date.

Please note that as an historic 18th century landmark, the site is not
handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual and is strictly
enforced, including no sneakers, shorts, ripped jeans, t-shirts).REGISTER HERE

Book Reviewers Wanted!Have you read a good book with connections to Media Ecology?  Please consider submitting a review for publication in Explorations in Media Ecology.  Are you reading a new book for use in an upcoming class?  Please consider submitting a review and helping out other scholars looking for new texts.  Do you just like writing book reviews? Consider writing one for EME!!  🙂  

Contact jbogaczyk@gmail.com for more information and to get a format template.  Reviews should be between 1000 and 2000 words.

Back Issues of EMEPedagogy Sections Include Online Teaching

Access all back issues of Explorations in Media Ecology in the Members Area on the MEA website. These back issues include pedagogy sections that contain information about teaching, including teaching online.

MEA @ NCA 2022NCA 108th Annual Convention
“Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment”

November 17-20, 2022
New Orleans, Louisiana


MEA Membership Renewal ReminderIt is not too late to renew your membership by paying your dues.  Please log into the website at www.media-ecology.org, and then log in using your email ID and password and follow the directions. You may pay online via PayPal or pay by check made payable to the Media Ecology Association and mailed to our treasurer, Paul Soukup, S.J., at the Communication Department; Santa Clara University; 500 El Camino Real; Santa Clara, CA  95053 USA.

For those outside the U.S., you may also pay by Western Union money order sent to psoukup@scu.edu.  If you wish to change your membership, please drop Paul Soukup a note. *Please note: The Media Ecology Association Executive Board decided that the newsletter will be available online to all interested readers. However, only members can be featured in the newsletter itself. If you are a MEA member, please fill out this form (include a call to submit material+ link). Donate to MEA through AmazonSmile
When you order through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.»To use it, go to smile.amazon.com and sign in as you usually do. Directly under the search bar, you will find a pull-down for supported charities. Search for and select Media Ecology Association.

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