Digital Sociology Miniconference (2016) @ The Eastern Sociological Society

Digital Sociology Miniconference (2016) @ The Eastern Sociological Society
Monday, October 19, 2015 (All day)

March 17-20, 2016
The Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers
Boston, MA

In keeping with the Eastern Sociological Society’s theme of “My Day Job: Politics and Pedagogy in Academia,” the Digital Sociology Mini-Conference will address the many ways digital technologies are changing ways of knowing and doing our jobs as academics, as well as the broader ways that digital technologies are changing patterns of human social behavior.

We maintain that the field of sociology has insights to offer the questions that emerge from the proliferation of digital technologies and that a sociology without a thorough understanding of the digital will be a discipline that is irrelevant to the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

In keeping with this year’s theme of “My Day Job: Politics and Pedagogy in Academia,” the Digital Sociology Miniconference seeks papers that address the many digital ways of knowing, particularly as those impinge on the work we do as scholars, both within and outside the academy. We seek abstracts, and wholly constituted panels, on a wide range of topics, including, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Public Scholarship, Digital Media and the Neoliberal University: How is the participation of scholars on public, digital media platforms regarded within the neoliberal university?
  • Digital Scholars, Legacy Institutions: What does it mean to do digital sociology within institutions that are steeped in legacy modes of rewarding scholarship? How are scholars navigating the landscape of getting hired, tenured and promoted with a strong digital presence, or without one?
  • Digital Sociological Methods: How do traditional, analog sociological methods become digital? Are there new, “born digital” sociological methods? Is knowledge production different now? Will big data replace survey methodology?
  • Social and Political Change through Social Media: Given the increasing attention to social media as a tool used by both political and social movements as well as political campaigns in the U.S. and abroad, how does social media contribute to both grassroots organizing and the growth of astroturfed political and social movement structures? What do we know about online and offline activism? What are the risks and costs associated with online activism? How do online activists craft their identities? How do political and social organizations view the utility of online activism? How do  specific media platforms are better for transmitting particular types of movement content such as frames, identities and programmatic claims? How do social movement and political movements using media managers interact with activists and constituents? For consideration within this theme, please email abstracts to organizers Rachel Durso ( and Andrew Martin (
  • Critical Theories of the Digital Itself: How have we theorized the digital? What challenges does the digital pose to epistemologies underlying sociological methods?
  • Digital Structures, Digital Institutions: The datafication of everyday life is posing unique challenges to the composition of social institutions and giving rise to new instantiations of education, finance, labor, and governance. How do we theorize, study, and conceptualize the recomposition of these institutions?
  • Identity, Community, and Networks: How do sociological concepts of micro and macro, personal and public, “front stage” and “back stage,” evolve as digital and mobile technologies increasingly blur these boundaries? How do digital environments shape identities of race, gender, sexuality and queerness? And how do the identities of those who create the platforms we use shape the platforms? How do race, gender, sexuality and queerness shape the communities and networks in which we participate?
  • Digital Pedagogies, Digital Sociology: How are digital technologies changing the sociological classroom? Beyond simply a recitation of ‘what I did in my class,’ we’re interested in theoretical and empirical explorations of how to think about digitally-informed pedagogies in the sociology classroom. For consideration under this theme, please send abstracts to: Jan Purk at Organized with jointly with the Committee on Undergraduate Education.

We encourage submissions from scholars at all levels, and are particularly enthusiastic to support the work of graduate students and early career researchers. We welcome submissions for individual papers and for entirely constituted sessions. The organizers share a commitment to creating a field that honors diverse voices, and as such are excited to see scholars from groups that are typically underrepresented in sociology. When proposing entirely constituted panels, please keep this commitment to diverse voices in mind.

If you have any questions about proposals, topics, or session ideas please contact one of the organizers: Leslie Jones (, Tressie McMillan Cottom or Jessie Daniels (

For individual presentations, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, as well as the title of the paper, name of presenter, institutional affiliation and contact details.   For wholly constituted sessions, please include a short description of the concept behind your session, and then include all of the abstracts (along with names and affiliations of presenters) in one document.

Deadline: October 19, 2015. Please email your submissions to:

Those whose proposals are  not accepted for the Mini-Conference will be alerted in time to submit to the ESS general call for submissions.

The Mini-Conference is organized by Leslie Jones (UPenn) Tressie McMillan Cottom (VCU) and Jessie Daniels (CUNY).

See more at:


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