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Humanist Archives: May 19, 2019, 6:57 a.m. Humanist 33.25 - pubs: genealogies of online content cfp

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 25.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2019-05-18 15:02:37+00:00
        From: Guillaume Heuguet 
        Subject: CFP : Genealogies of online content identification

Call for papers
Genealogies of online content identification
Special issue of Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and Society
(editors of special issue: Maria Eriksson & Guillaume Heuguet)

In today's digital landscape, cultural content such as texts, films,
images, and recorded sounds are increasingly subjected to automatic (or
semi-automatic) processes of identification and classification. On a daily
basis, spam filters scan heaps of emails in order to separate legit and
illegit textual messages,1 algorithms analyze years of user-uploaded film
on YouTube in search for copyright violations,2 and software systems
scrutinize millions of images on social media sites in order to detect
sexually offensive content.3 To an increasing extent, content
identification systems are also trained to distinguish 'fake-news' from
'proper journalism' on news websites,4 and taught to recognize and filter
violent or hateful content that circulates online.5

These examples reveal how machines and algorithmic systems are increasingly
utilized to make complex cultural judgements regarding cultural content.
Indeed, it could be argued that the wide-ranging adoption of content
identification tools is constructing new ontologies of culture and regimes
of truth in the online domain. When put to action, content identification
technologies are trusted with the ability to separate good/bad forms of
communication and used to secure the value, authenticity, origin, and
ownership of content. Such efforts are deeply embedded in constructions of
knowledge, new forms of political governance, and not least global market
transactions. Content identification tools now make up an essential part of
the online data economy by protecting the interests of rights holders and
forwarding the mathematization, objectification, and commodification of
cultural productions.

Parallel to their increased pervasiveness and influence, however, content
identification systems have also been heavily contested. Debates regarding
automatic content identification tools recently gained momentum due to the
European Union's decision to update its copyright laws. A newly adopted EU
directive encourages all platform owners to implement automatic content
filters in order to safeguard copyrights6 and critics have argued that such
measures run the risk of seriously hampering the freedom of speech and
stifling cultural expressions online.7 High profile tech figures such as
Tim Berners Lee (commonly known as one of the founders of the Internet) has
even claimed that the widespread adoption of content filtering could
effectively destroy the internet as we know it.8 Content identification
systems, then, are not neutral devices but key sites where the moral,
juridical, economical, and cultural implications of wide-ranging systems of
online surveillance are currently negotiated and put to the test.
This special issue welcomes contributions that trace the lineage and
genealogy of online content identification tools and explores how content
identification systems enact cultural values. It also explores how content
identification technologies reconfigure systems of knowledge and power in
the online domain. We especially invite submissions that reflect on the
ways in which content identification systems are deployed to domesticate
and control online cultural content, establish new and data-driven
infrastructural systems for the treatment of cultural data, and bring about
changes in the activity/status of cultural workers and rights holders.
Contributions that locate online content identification tools within a
longer historical trajectory of identification technologies are also
especially welcomed, since digital content identification tools must be
understood as continuations of analogue techniques for monitoring and
measuring the qualities and identities of things.

We envision contributors to be active in the fields of media history,
software studies, media studies, media archaeology, social anthropology,
science and technology studies, and related scientific domains. The topic
of contributions may include, but are not limited to:

   The historical and political implications of content identification
   tools for audio, video, images, and textual content such as machine
   learning systems and digital watermarking or fingerprinting tools
   The genealogy of spam filters, fake news detection systems, and other
   strategies for keeping the internet 'clean' and censoring/regulating the
   circulation and availability of online content
   Comparative investigations of the technical workings of different
   methods for identifying content, including discussions on the challenges
   and potentials of indexing/identifying sound, images, texts and audiovisual
   Reviews of the scientific theories, political ideologies, and business
   logics that sustain and legitimize online systems of content identification
   Reflections on historical and analogue techniques for identifying
   objects and commodities, such as paper watermarks and the use of signets
   and stamps
   Issues of censorship related to online content identification and
   moderation and/or discussions regarding the ethical dilemmas and legal
   debates that surround content surveillance

   Explorations of the implications of algorithmic judgements and
   measurements of identity, and reflections on the ways in which content
   identification tools redefine what is means to listen/see and transform how
   cultural objects are imagined and valued
   Examinations of the relationship between human and algorithmic efforts
   to identify suspect content online and moderate information flows

   Abstracts of a maximum of 750 words should be emailed to Maria Eriksson (
   maria.c.eriksson@umu.se) and Guillaume Heuguet (
   guillaume.heuguet@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr) no later than 1 August 2019.
   Notification about acceptance to submit an article will be sent out by 1
   September 2019. Authors of accepted abstracts are invited to submit an
   article by 1 February 2020. Final versions of articles are asked to keep
   within a 6,000 word limit. Please note that acceptance of abstract does not
   ensure final publication as all articles must go through the journal's
   usual review process.

   Time schedule

   1 August 2019: due date for abstracts
   1 September 2019: notification of acceptance
   1 February 2020: accepted articles to be submitted for review
   Feb-April 2020: review process and revisions

About the guest-editors
   Guillaume Heuguet defended a dissertation in 2018 on music and media
   capitalism based on a longitudinal analysis of YouTube's strategy and
   products, including its Content ID system (to be published by the French
   National Archives in 2019). He is currently an associated researcher at
   GRIPIC (Sorbonne Université) and Irmeccen (Sorbonne Nouvelle). He runs the
   music journal Audimat and has edited a forthcoming book entitled Anthology
   of Popular Music Studies in French (Philharmonie de Paris, 2019).
   Maria Eriksson is a doctoral candidate in media studies at Umeå
   University, Sweden who currently occupies a position as visiting scholar at
   the department of arts, media and philosophy at Basel University in
   Switzerland. She has a background in social anthropology and her main
   research interests concern the politics of software and the role of
   algorithms in managing the logistics and distribution of cultural content
   online. She is one of the co-authors of the book Spotify Teardown:
   Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music (MIT Press, 2019) and has
   previously co-edited special issues in journals such as Culture Unbound.

Link to the online version of the call for papers:

More information on Internet Histories: Digital Technology, Culture and
Society can be found at https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rint20.

1 Brunton, Finn. Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet. Cambridge &
London: MIT Press, 2013.
2 https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797370?hl=en
3 https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/3/18123752/tumblr-adult-content-porn-ban-date-
4 https://thenewstack.io/mit-algorithm-sniffs-out-sites-dedicated-to-fake-news/
5 https://www.gouvernement.fr/la-france-engage-une-experimentation-inedite-en-
6 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-3010_en.htm
7 https://www.ivir.nl/publicaties/download/Academics_Against_Press_Publishers_Righ
8 https://www.eff.org/files/2018/06/13/article13letter.pdf

Guillaume Heuguet
PHD in Media Studies - CELSA Sorbonne Université
Teaching Assistant - Sorbonne Nouvelle
Chief editor - www.revue-audimat.fr

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