Call: closed systems / open worlds

Closed Systems / Open Worlds

Edited by: Jeremy Hunsinger (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jason Nolan (Ryerson University) & Melanie McBride (York University)

This book will consist of explorations at the boundaries of virtual worlds as enclosed but encouraging spaces for exploration, learning, and enculturation. Game/worlds like Second Life, OpenSim, Minecraft, and Cloud Party are providing spaces for the construction of alternatives and reimaginings, though frequently they end up more as reproductions. We seek to challenge those spaces and their creativities and imaginings.

These worlds exist as both code and conduct. Code is a modulating multiple signifier, in that the interpreters of the code vary from human to machine and that our understanding of the signifier changes the worldliness in itself. The conduct of both participants and administrators of these spaces influences how they flourish and then fade. As such the worlds and their anima/animus are socially constructed fictions where authors/creators/users, both above and below the actions are sometimes in concert, yet often in conflict with the space and intentions of the originators.

This book seeks critically engaged scholars who want to risk the possibility of change in the face of closed systems. We are looking for critical or speculative essays that must be theoretically, empirically and/or contextually grounded chapters of 5000-6500 words plus apparatus. Doctoral students and non-tenure faculty members will be afforded blind peer review upon request.

We are aiming for 12 -14 chapters that define the boundaries and thus likely futures of research on virtual worlds.

Aug 1, 2014 – 250 word précis with 5-10 key references
Aug. 30, 2014 – accept/reject proposals
Feb 1, 2015 – final draft due
July 1, 2015 – feedback from reviewers
September 1, 2015 – final version
December 1, 2015 – in press

Queries and submissions:

Topics may include:

  • alternative and minor game/virtual/etc. worlds
  • archeologies/genealogies of virtuality
  • augmented and mixed-reality worlds
  • distributed cognitions
  • early explorations in virtual learning environments
  • the freedom of limitations
  • identity construction and/or identity tourism
  • the limits of simulation and emulation
  • memories and forgetting in virtual worlds
  • multisensory virtual environments
  • multisensory exclusions in virtual worlds
  • narratival and post-narratival andragogies, ‘learning worlds’
  • negative spaces as learning spaces (bullying, trolling, flaming, etc.) in virtual worlds
  • non-social virtual worlds (dwarf fortress, some forms of minecraft, etc.)
  • real world virtual worlds and boundaries (Lego, Hello Kitty, WebKinz, etc.)
  • replication of real world environments/problems
  • surrealism, unrealism and constructable alterities of/within virtual worlds
  • transformative virtual classroom
  • vapourware and virtuality
  • the virtuality of learning
  • Call for Abstracts for Chapters Volume 2 of the International Handbook of Internet Research

    Call for Abstracts for Chapters
    Volume 2 of the International Handbook of Internet Research
    (editors Jeremy Hunsinger, Lisbeth Klastrup, and Matthew Allen)

    Abstracts due June 1 2014; full chapters due Sept. 1 2015

    After the remarkable success of the first International Handbook of Internet Research (2010), Springer has contracted with its editors to produce a second volume. This new volume will be arranged in three sections, that address one of three different aspects of internet research: foundations, futures, and critiques. Each of these meta-themes will have its own section of the new handbook.

    Foundations will approach a method, a theory, a perspective, a topic or field that has been and is still a location of significant internet research. These chapters will engage with the current and historical scholarly literature through extended reviews and also as a way of developing insights into the internet and internet research. Futures will engage with the directions the field of internet research might take over the next five years. These chapters will engage current methods, topics, perspectives, or fields that will expand and re-invent the field of internet research, particularly in light of emerging social and technological trends. The material for these chapters will define the topic they describe within the framework of internet research so that it can be understand as a place of future inquiry. Critique chapters will define and develop critical positions in the field of internet research. They can engage a theoretical perspective, a methodological perspective, a historical trend or topic in internet research and provide a critical perspective. These chapters might also define one type of critical perspective, tradition, or field in the field of internet research.

    We value the way in which this call for papers will itself shape the contents, themes, and coverage of the Handbook. We encourage potential authors to present abstracts that will consolidate current internet research, critically analyse its directions past and future, and re-invent the field for the decade to come. Contributions about the internet and internet research are sought from scholars in any discipline, and from many points of view. We therefore invite internet researchers working within the fields of communication, culture, politics, sociology, law and privacy, aesthetics, games and play, surveillance and mobility, amongst others, to consider contributing to the volume.

    Initially, we ask scholars and researchers to submit an 500 word abstract detailing their own chapter for one of the three sections outlined above. The abstract must follow the format presented below. After the initial round of submissions, there may be a further call for papers and/or approaches to individuals to complete the volume. The final chapters will be chosen from the submitted abstracts by the editors or invited by the editors. The chapter writers will be notified of acceptance by January 1st, 2015. The chapters will be due September 2015, should be between 6,000 and 10,000 words (inclusive of references, biographical statement and all other text).

    Each abstract needs to be presented in the following form:

    · Section (Either Foundations, Futures, or Critiques)

    · Title of chapter

    · Author name/s, institutional details

    · Corresponding author’s email address

    · Keywords (no more than 5)

    · Abstract (no more than 500 words)

    · References

    Please e-mail your abstract/s to:

    We look forward to your submissions and working with you to produce another definitive collection of thought-provoking internet research. Please feel free to distribute this CfP widely.

    Thank you
    Jeremy, Lisbeth, and Matt

    scos presentation proposal

    I proposed this for the annual standing conference on organizational symbolism conference “serious fun”… and it was accepted. it is a spin off the darknets research i’ve been pursuing on the side for a year… so now there are two papers in development on this topic… I’m sharing it so people can see more clearly some of the topics that i engage with for ‘fun’.

    Toying with governance: darknets, surveillance, and resistance
    By jeremy hunsinger

    This paper argues that ethics of playful hacking as a mode of resistance that operate within and through internet systems counteracts government control of the darknets. Specifically, I argue that as governments seek more surveillance and control over the internet, they will have less control of technical elites, who in a mode of playful jouissance construct oppositional technologies.

    Darknets are securitized internet networks that operate either over existing networks through encrypted traffic on those networks, or increasingly they are mixes of those networks and either planned or ad-hoc mesh networks. Mesh networks are computer to computer networks that route date across, by routing it through the computers themselves sans intermediation by the internet. While these darknets exist within and through the commercial internet, their traffic can be governed by the commercial providers and the governments that govern those providers, mesh routing bypasses even that control and forces a different strategy to address the governance of content and its distribution. This new strategy for surveillance and control of media is device based monitoring, but even that might be bypassed by using non-standard operating environments.

    Thus I conclude that given the socio-technical parameters of future darknets, that the governments who seek to regulate and control content on the internet are forced into position of either hypersurveillance of individual devices or to abdicate monitoring and content provision to the communities themselves.

    However, no matter how the government constructs the system of governance, the playful mode of resistance will enable the creative re-creation of darknets and other securitizing technics that will allow darknet technologies.

    a semester of finishing instead of a semester of starting

    personal reality check time… I can’t do everything and get it all done. I need to get this hacking/maker research out the door (granted there is a special issue underway, but…), finish the altmetrics that i started with Abby Goodrum get at least one more paper out on the slow university idea, and i have a book on the history of online learning underway, and there is a new volume of the handbook of internet research in progress. SO i should just admit that until i finish the maker/hacker stuff and get that out the door, i won’t really have time to start a funded grant project that requires extensive travel or the other grant project that requires international collaboration, at best i should try to get one paper each out the door to justify both grant projects. so instead of grant writing, i should be writing up research. If i get the hacker/maker stuff done, the altmetrics stuff done, and the slow university stuff done, i think i will still be batting above average… oh and did i mention the Academic Fraud-o-sphere research i’m doing… yeah… that needs more work too. so yeah, i declare this semester and summer the semester and summer of finishing instead of the semester of starting new things.

    so the todo list is:
    1. finish the hacker/maker stuff
    2. make significant progress on the altmetrics project
    3. work on one paper for slow university
    4. work on one paper for the new digital sensorium
    5. work on online learning book
    6 work on second volume of handbook
    7. work on academic fraud-o-sphere stuff

    and 7 is enough for now…

    nodes, actors and networks

    nodes, or actors, or networks. This is a response to jeremy's comments on actor construction? and a response entry (June 30, 2003) in his blog regarding the relationship of actors and networks as used/presented by the actor-network theory and methodology. Jeremy: “i replied to this on his blog too, but ultimately my position is to… [infoSophy: Socio-technological Rendering of Information]

    I continued this conversation on his blog. it is interesting how different people can come to the same theory in different ways. I wrote some of one of the answers to one of my prelim questions on actor-network theory. I think i have a different position than most people on this topic. It is heavily informed by sts literature and continental philosophy.

    Happy new year

    This year…. Ummm. I think I’ll publish a few things, lose weight, exercise more, travel a bit, and try to spend much less…. Normal stuff… Of course today I am still currently sick with a cold. Weee!

    Special Issue of New Media & Society on the Democratization of Hacking & Making

    Call For Papers:
    Special Issue of New Media & Society on the Democratization of Hacking & Making

    Research on hacker culture has historically focused on a relatively narrow set of activities and practices related to open-source software, political protest, and criminality. Scholarship on making has generally been defined as hands-on work with a connection to craft. By contrast, “hacking” and “making” in the current day are increasingly inroads to a more diverse range of activities, industries, and groups. They may show a strong cultural allegiance or map new interpretations and trajectories.

    These developments prompt us to revisit central questions: does the use of hacking/making terminologies carry with them particular valences? Are they deeply rooted in technologies, ideologies or cultures? Are they best examined through certain intellectual traditions? Can they be empowering to participants, or are they merely buzzwords that have been diluted and co-opted by governmental and business entities? What barriers to entry and participation exist?

    The current issue explores and questions the growing diversity of uses stemming from this turn of hacking towards more popular uses and democratic contexts. Submissions that employ novel methodological and theoretical perspectives to understand this turn in hacking are encouraged. They should explore new opportunities for conversations and consider hacking as rooted in a specific phenomena, culture, environment, practice or movement. Criteria for admission in this special issue include rigor of analysis, caliber of interpretation, and relevance of conclusions.

    Topics may include:
    - Disparities of access and representation, such as gender, race and ethnicity
    - Open-access environments for learning and production, such as hacker and maker spaces
    - “Civic hacking” and open data movements on city, state and national levels
    - Integration of hacking and making within industries
    - Historical analyses of making/hacking such as phreaking and amateur computing
    - Popularization of terms like “hacker” in newspapers, magazines and other publications
    - Open-source hardware and software movements
    - Appropriation of technology
    - Hacking in non-western contexts, such as the global south and China
    - Political implications of a popular shift in hacker/maker culture

    Please email 400 word abstract proposals, along with a short author biography, by May 1, 2014 to and Final selected articles will be due during September 2014 and will undergo peer review.

    10 things that i think i know about learning ecologies

    10 things that i think i know about learning ecologies

    1. human beings learn; we don’t stop learning, we learn while we are awake, we learn while we are asleep, we learn when under stress, and we learn when comfortable and happy.

    2. human beings do not always learn what others know,  or think is the truth, the right, the good, or anything else that is socially or culturally endorsed. in fact, we frequently learn what isn’t endorsed, and what is around the endorsed, what structures the endorsed and what endorses the endorsed, etc. etc. instead of learning the endorsed.  the learning around the endorsed learning may be the most important learning in the end.

    3. learning is a process. it is not thing, nor a product.  it must be performed, but awareness of its performance does not always improve it.  human beings are not the only things that learn.

    4. speed and change occur in ecologies and thus affect learning and learning ecologies.

    5. learning constructs relationships. relationships are frequently labeled objects, essences, qualities, etc. but what we are doing is learning to relate one thing or set of things(subject, object, or quasi-object) to another thing or set of things. frequently when learning these relationships, we make them too ‘unchanging’, thus requiring future unlearning and relearning.

    6. learning is social. there are always other human beings. other humans exist as learners implicit in everything, from our language, to our actions, to our texts, and to our world.  even if there are no ‘physical subjects’ other than yourself present when you learn, there are tens of thousands of subjects, a virtual society or hidden college, around you.  we learn from and with those human beings.

    7. human beings build and inhabit ‘assemblages’ which are systems of relationships which persist through time such as institutions, environments, ideologies, etc. etc.  we build structures for learning too.  we also build ‘mechanisms’ which structure relationships with an intention of producing or re-producing in whole or in part assemblages.  the structuring and/or mechanizing of learning can prevent or hinder the learning, as much as it can help and encourage it.

    8. assemblages and mechanisms are internal to our learning ecology, but we do not always learn about them, sometimes they are purposefully hidden from us, sometimes justifiably, sometimes not.  sometimes these assemblages and mechanisms augment human being’s capacity to learn.

    9. when we structure and/or mechanize learning, we change its ecology, which necessitates the creation of relationships or the changing of relationships, thus we need to learn the relationships in the ecologies anew.

    10. human beings have always been tool users. tools are technologies, and we have always learned about and through technologies.  technologies, as such, are part of our learning ecology and play parts in structuring and mechanizing learning. technologies have always mediated relationships, and all media are technologies.  there is a ‘craft’ to all technologies that must be learned, and in learning that craft, we create new relationships that we share with others.