May 29, 2023

International feminist media conference comes to UCalgary

Scholars from across the world look at media through a feminist perspective
Vivek Shraya
Vivek Shraya is an UCalgary associate professor and artist. Her keynote talk will discuss her experience producing feminist media. Vivek Shraya

Examining media culture from a feminist perspective will be the focus of an international conference coming to the University of Calgary in late June.

Console-ing Passions: International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism has been held regularly since 1992 and gathers feminist-media scholars, researchers and advocates to discuss media culture from an intersectional feminist perspective. As such, research presentations will not only focus on the gendered dynamics of media, but also on how identities such as race, class, age and sexuality are produced through television, social media, video games and the celebrity culture in which we engage. This spring sees the conference held in Canada for the first time since 1997.

Simidele Dosekun

Simidele Dosekun is assistant professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Simidele Dosekun

The hope is that the conference will lead to critical, engaged conversations and new insights around the topics and research being presented, says Dr. Jessalynn Keller, PhD, an associate professor of critical media studies in the Department of Communication, Media and Film and Console-ing Passions board member who organized the event along with others from the department.

“I think conversations in and of themselves are valuable, especially since we have not been meeting in person as much in the past few years,” says Keller. “Being able to bring folks together in community to talk about these topics is really important. This is a mission of Console-ing Passions; it’s not just an academic conference, but it’s really about a community of media scholars.” 

The conference takes place from June 22 to 24 at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning and will feature three keynote speakers along with 33 panels, a documentary screening and a reception. Panels will address current issues including TikTok trends; looking at television studies from a queer lens; misinformation attributed to the far right; feminized whiteness in media culture; and even a panel on the classic sitcom, The Golden Girls.

Sarah Sharma

Sarah Sharma is associate professor of media theory and director of the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto.

Sarah Sharma

The keynote speakers are Dr. Sarah Sharma, PhD, of the University of Toronto, whose research examines technocultures from a feminist perspective; Dr. Simidele Dosekun, PhD, of the London School of Economics, whose research centres black African women and their participation in popular, media and consumer cultures; and Vivek Shraya, an associate professor from UCalgary, who will be discussing her experience producing media that explores the politics of femininity.

Many conference topics address social and political issues that are timely and have taken centre stage in our media over the past several years, says Keller: “I think that feminist media scholars can contribute to our understanding of pressing issues of the day, such as disinformation, sexual harassment and abortion, for example.” 

Conference registration deadline is June 11. There is a fee to attend the conference; however, Shraya’s keynote talk (Saturday, June 24, 2:15 p.m.) and the Calgary premiere of the documentary, Analogue Revolution: How Feminist Media Changed the World (Friday, June 23, 7 p.m., at the TDFL Gallery Hall), are free of charge, do not require registration and are open to the public.

For more information or to register, visit the conference website.

The 2023 Console-ing Passions: International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism is sponsored at UCalgary by: Calgary Institute for the Humanities; Department of Communication, Media and Film; Department of English; Department of Sociology; Environmental Media Lab; Faculty of Arts; Faculty of Graduate Studies; and the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. It is also supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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