Monday, July 27, 2009

Article Feature: Shoe Throwing as Political Protest

From the latest Media, War & Conflict (August 2009; Vol. 2, No. 2).

The art of shoe-throwing: shoes as a symbol of protest and popular imagination

Yasmin Ibrahim

University of Brighton, UK, y.ibrahim@brighton.ac.uk

The art of shoe-throwing has captured popular imagination and is here to stay as a form of popular political protest. In a recent incident, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao became a near-victim of a notorious flying shoe during his visit to London in February 2009. Shoe-throwing has become a celebrated art form ever since an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at then US President George W. Bush, eternally sealing Bush's last presidential moments with the iconic image of the shoe. Popular acts of communication and protests enter new forms of relationships with audiences and global spectators beyond the political context and the shoe-throwing incident is no exception. It has been consummately appropriated into popular culture and entertainment in the multimedia platforms of the internet, transforming political images and political protests into voyeuristic entertainment for the masses.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Introducing: Journal of African Media Studies

The Journal of African Media Studies has launched this year (2009) with two issues so far. The editors (Winston Mano, principal; Monica Chibita and Wendy Wilems, associates) describe the "imperatives" of the Journal in Issue Number One's opening Editorial:

"The Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS) provides a new platform to debate issues about media, communication and culture in Africa. Our first goal is to promote the often neglected but important area of media research in Africa....

The second imperative for JAMS derives from our desire to contribute to the growing body of empirical work in media, communication and cultural studies. In this regard, JAMS complements other existing English-language and area-focused media, communication and cultural studies journals that promote research on marginalized and often ignored contexts (e.g., Latin America, Middle East and Asia)....

The third related, and more political, imperative for JAMS arose from the now firm realization that the bulk of work in media theory is ‘based upon data from just two spots, Britain and the United States, which have remarkably similar leitmotifs in their cultural, economic and political history that mark them out from other nations on the planet’ (Downing 1996). We see the role of JAMS as providing perspectives that help free the field from the stranglehold of theories from one particular context (see also Ake 1982; Sparks 1998; Nuttall and Michael 1999; Park and Curran 2000; Hart and Young 2003; Abbas and Erni 2004; McMillin 2006; Thussu 2007). We aim to contribute to the ongoing re-positioning of media and cultural studies outside the Anglo-American axis. Left unchallenged, this gives rise to ‘the most often mistaken impression that the Western text and Western ways of making meaning are universal, and, therefore, to be copied by academics the world over’ (Nyamnjoh 1999)."
JAMS is among the Library's e-resources and can be accessed from the homepage.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Urban Studies, Peace Research Abstracts

Recently added to the EBSCO suite are two databases that have relevance to Communication if you take the time to get off the beaten trail of Communication Abstracts and CMMC (on that same platform). They are Urban Studies Abstracts and Peace Research Abstracts.

Urban Studies Abstracts includes bibliographic records covering essential areas related to urban studies, including urban affairs, community development, urban history, and other areas from 1973 to the present. You can find essential treatments of communication research in USA literature. A search on television and public space turns up an article in a 2002 Environment & Planning titled: Re-mediating the spaces of reality television: America's Most Wanted and the case of Vancouver's missing women.

Peace Research Abstracts includes bibliographic records covering essential areas related to peace research, including conflict resolution, international affairs, and peace psychology since 1964. In this database I paired "media coverage" with" conflict resolution" to find articles from a talk at a COPRED (Consortium for Peace Research Education and Development) Conference in 1999 and the World Policy Journal (1995).

I don't have either of these databases posted up front on the Annenberg homepage but do keep them in mind. They can be found in the full list of Communication databases one link in. This list is good to browse every so often to remind yourself of the cornucopia of database options we have at our fingertips!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obama Speeches

A free, fully searchable collection of Barack Obama speeches is available from askSam eBooks & Databases. To date there are 225 speeches going back to October 2002 when the then Senator of Illinois spoke against the war in Iraq. The latest available speech posted is the one he delivered in Cairo on June 4, 2009. You can also find other freely searchable speeches, debates and addresses, along with items such as the 9-11 Commission Report. There are a few ads on the site but the searchable texts are clean and easy to navigate.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

World Privacy Forum

If you're interested in privacy issues you might want to bookmark the World Privacy Forum site. Devoted to issues of privacy in all arenas, including medical, job security, and financial privacy, it also has a section devoted to search engine and internet privacy. These sections are post news briefs as well as full research reports from a variety of perspectives. The resource section post reports, WPF speeches delivered around the world, tips and FAQs on privacy, and links to other privacy organizations, centers, publications, and related blogs. As well as the site is already organized it also has an A-Z Index featuring reports and documents on categories such as Advertising and Online Privacy, Communications, Cloud Computing, Email, e-health, Identity, Internet Privacy, Press, and Search Engines--to name the more media-related.

The World Privacy Forum is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) public interest research group founded in 2003 focused on conducting in-depth research, analysis, and consumer education in the area of privacy.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July CommQuote

Virginia Heffernan wrote on the Susan Boyle phenomenon in a the New York Times Sunday Magazine column, The Medium:

"What was the Susan Boyle spectacle, that chunk of culture that held us, for days at least, so firmly rapt?

The answers still lie in the video, a small, insidious masterpiece that really should be watched several times for its accidental commentary on popular misery, the concept of ''expectation'' and how cultures congratulate themselves. First off, the Susan Boyle phenomenon truly belongs to the world of online video, whose prime directive is to be amazing. The great subjects of online video are stunts, pranks, violence, gotchas, virtuosity, upsets and transformations. Where television is supposed to satisfy expectations with its genres and formulas, online video confounds them." --Virginia Heffernan (The Medium, The New York Times Magazine, June 28, 2009)

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

International Encylopedia of Communications Available Online

The International Encylopedia of Communications is now available online to the Penn community. You can find it posted on the Annenberg Library home page under "Other E-Resources." The library also subscribes to the print version but the great thing about IEC online in addition to it being available 24/7 and more easily searchable, is that it's "alive." Editors anticipate several updates a year with new articles and features.

Jointly published with the International Communications Association, IEC is the definitive reference work for the field. Features include: 1,339 newly-commissioned A-Z entries, divided into 29 editorial areas representing major fields of inquiry, each of which is headed by a leading expert in the field, sophisticated cross-referencing and search facilities and a lexicon by subject area, and advanced search capabilities. Editorial areas include communication theory and philosophy, interpersonal communication, journalism, intercultural and intergroup communication, media effects, strategic communication/PR, communication and media law and policy, media systems in the world, and communication and technology.

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