Professor Juliet Floyd Presides Over “A Matrix of Challenges”

Last week, Professor Juliet Floyd presided over the Emerging Media Studies Conference, “A Matrix of Challenges,” available for viewing both in-person and remotely. The conference covered “emerging social media trends in security, civic action, and monitoring at personal, community, and societal levels,” and invited scholars in Philosophy, Emerging Media, English, and many other disciplines on an international scale. The conference organizers write of the conference:

“From many viewpoints, these days we live in a matrix. Our lives sometimes seem as if they are only intersections of cross-cutting pressures ranging from governmental mandates that help control global pandemics to individualized fears of missing out on activities. The very same online communities that keep us connected with friends and family can also be rife with threats and lurking dangers to our safety and sanity.  Streaming media that lightened our dark days may have redeeming powers that we are only beginning to understand. And with the rise of artificial intelligence and voice-activated environments, we may wonder who exactly is in control of our lives.

As we experience this matrix of intersecting forces, many questions arise about the precise nature of our contemporary lives. To what extent are we able to exercise control over our own lives? What are our responsibilities to care for others? How can we protect ourselves from proliferating threats? As we face institutional pressure for conformity, how can we continue to exercise our individual autonomy? All these questions are intimately connected with social media and emerging communication technologies.

This conference brings together a diverse array of innovative scholars to share their research on the intersection of these various concerns and forces and what they mean for the deeper level of issues. The implications of their research extend across a matrix covering international relations, community activism, online behavior, and even to our internal moods. Come to our conference to join in the exploration of our matrix.”

The conference was a follow-up to The BU Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar, previously held from 2016 to 2019 and co-run by Professor Floyd, Professor Rachell Powell, and Professor Jim Katz, the head of the Division of Emerging Media. Featured speakers included Nicolas Prevelakis (Harvard), Sophie Hatte (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon), Vincent Jean Rollet (MIT), Shin Dong Kim (Hallym University), Emilio Arruda (Universidade de Amazônia), Ana Serrano Tellería (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha), Scott Campbell (Michigan), Colin Agur (Minnesota), Adriana de Souza e Silva (North Carolina State University), Theo Touret-Dengreville (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), and Susan Mizruchi (BU). The keynote speaker was Joe Walther (UC Santa Barbera), who presented, “A Pro-Social Theory of Anti-Social Behavior: Online Hate in Social Media.”

Click here to learn more and watch the recordings of the conference.

Congratulations to Professor Floyd on an incredible event, and to all the contributors on their work!