[acc-cca-l] CFP Migration and the Politics of Fieldwork: Pushing the Disciplinary Borders of Canadian Communication Studies

Kirsten McAllister kirsten_mcallister at sfu.ca
Sat Dec 5 08:53:21 MST 2020


Call for Papers -- Working Title: Migration and the Politics of Fieldwork: Pushing the Disciplinary

Borders of Canadian Communication Studies

Co-editors: Kirsten E. McAllister, Simon Fraser University; Daniel Ahadi, Simon Fraser University; and

Ayaka Yoshimizu, University of British Columbia

Deadline for Chapter Proposals: January 15, 2021


We are seeking proposals for chapters on migration and the politics of fieldwork from Communication

and Cultural Studies scholars. For this volume we are particularly interested in proposals that discuss the

use of fieldwork as a hermeneutic, self-reflexive methodology to address issues of power in the process of

researching migration and migrant communities (Malkki 1995; O’Neill 2010; Pink 2013, 2015; Pratt and

Johnson 2014; High 2015; Bloch and Doná 2018, Vannini 2019). With the growing concerns about

extractive and exploitative forms of research, the decision to use fieldwork, including ethnography, oral

history, community-based research, activist and collaborative media projects, is typically motivated not

only by the dearth of information about marginalized subjects like migrants, but also by the aim to

challenge disciplinary practices regarding, for example, the purpose of research, whom it benefits, who

has the authority to produce knowledge, whose perspectives are privileged and what types of knowledge

have the authority of truth in contrast to, for example, what is dismissed as subjective or superstitious. We

are also interested in proposals from researchers who have used self-reflexive fieldwork methodologies to

develop new approaches to knowledge production like collaborative and creative projects that prioritize

relationship-building and the interests of the research community (O’Neill 2010; Pink 2013, 2015; Pratt

and Johnson 2014; High 2015; Bloch and Doná 2018, Vannini 2019).

In Communication and Cultural Studies, migration is a relatively new area of research in Englishspeaking

regions in the Global North, despite early contributions that date back to the 1990s (Naficy

1993; Morely and Robinson 1995; Papastergiadis 2000, 2019; for more recent work see Burman 2010;

Hepp et. al. 2013; Croucher et al. 2018; Tsagkroni and Alencar 2019; Smets 2020; Martin 2020). Only

over the last five years have Communication departments in North America started posting job

advertisements for faculty members with expertise in migration and related fields like Diaspora Studies,

Refugee Studies and Border Studies. This does not mean that Communication and Cultural Studies

researchers have not examined issues pertaining to migration within or across national borders (see Karim

1998; Jiwani 2005, 2009; Hirji 2006; Murray, Yu and Ahadi 2007; McAllister 2008, 2011; Burman 2010;

Jenicek, Wong, Lee 2009; Matsaganis, Katz, and Ball-Rokeach 2011; Houssein 2012; De Shalit, Heynen

and van der Meulen 2014; Yu 2018). In Canada, however, the majority of this research has predominantly

been framed through terms either like racism and inclusion/exclusion or terms that reflect government

policy, like visible minorities, integration, ethnicity and multiculturalism, which are in keeping with the

white colonial and nationalist framework of Canadian Communication Studies’ roots (Hirji, Jiwani and

McAllister 2020). Much of this research also employs etic (rather than emic or hermeneutic)

methodologies like textual or discourse analysis or surveys with pre-planned sets of questions focusing on

how immigrants and other racialized Canadians are represented in dominant Canadian media or how

governments can design policies to best manage them. These studies are typically not centred on the

perspectives of racialized migrants and their communities, though there are exceptions (Burman 2010;

Yoshimizu 2011; McAllister 2011, 2015; Moldes 2016; Ahadi 2016; McLaughlin and Hennerby 2015;

Lynes 2018).

This volume will be an opportunity for researchers to discuss their use of ethnography,

collaborative projects and activist research -- through the lens of Communication and Cultural Studies --

and what is entailed in working closely with migrants, including the risks and ethical issues as well as

how these methodologies offer insights not just into their conditions of existence, whether displacement,

structural exclusion, or the hate and fear fuelled by local social media. But in addition, the volume will be

an opportunity to consider the ways that fieldwork provides insights into how migrants understand their

transnational worlds, their media practices and communication infrastructure; and how their mediascapes

transform not just their identities, but regional and transnational spaces while producing new information,

socio-political and economic networks (Naficy 1993; Paperstergiadis 2000; Burman 2010; Brand 2012;

McAllister 2015). We are also interested in scholars who have turned to autoethnography and literary

techniques, which are used more extensively in other disciplines to reflexively write about fieldwork and

negotiate the disciplinary power and subjectivity of academic writing and publication (see Moldes 2017).

The volume as a whole will pose questions about how the insights of methodologies like ethnography and

community-based research differ from what have become established Communication and Cultural

Studies methodologies and how they push their disciplinary boundaries (Malkki 1995; O’Neill 2010; Pink

2013, 2015; Pratt and Johnson 2014; High 2015; Bloch and Doná 2018, Vannini 2019).

Overall, this volume aims to showcase research from Canadian research institutions that examines

Canadian as well as global case studies. We welcome proposals that draw on research regarding diasporic

communities, refugees, migrant workers, undocumented migrants, human trafficking, internally displaced

people, international students, Indigenous peoples or other groups like the Roma whose territories and

traditional movements span national borders or whose land has been appropriated by the state or

transnational corporations.

We are interested in themes that include but are not restricted to the following areas:

● Diasporic identity, belonging and experiences

● Migrants’ communication practices and infrastructure

● The use of community-based media, art and theatre by migrant and diasporic communities

● Communication challenges and strategies of migrants with limited rights, like temporary workers,

undocumented migrants, and international students

● Communication challenges and strategies of populations dislocated within nation-states due to

political conflict, discrimination, the collapse of local economies and environmental disasters (for

example, rural-urban migrants, persecuted religious groups, internally displaced migrants and

Indigenous Nations)

● Communication rights, social justice and migration

● Digital platforms and the formation of transnational migrant communities

● How migrants navigate state control, borders, detention and surveillance systems

● Ethics, risks and power dynamics associated with conducting research and collaborations with

migrants, refugees, and displaced populations

● The ethical (and political) reasons for using ethnography, extended fieldwork or communitybased

research as methodologies

● Positionality, personal engagement, emotional and embodied experience of both researcher and


● Performativity in fieldwork and navigating insider/outsider relations

● Community building and questions of reciprocity in community-based research (research, action,

implementation, evaluation)

● Reflections on failures in fieldwork

● Challenges of incorporating the voices and representation of migrants in publications

Please submit a 500-word proposal (plus references) and a 2-page CV with the contributors full name,

institutional affiliation and email by January 15, 2021. Please send proposals to Daniel Ahadi:

daniel_ahadi at sfu.ca.

Prospective contributors will be notified about their proposals by the end of February 2021 and full

chapters will be due at the end of June 2021.

For inquiries, please contact the co-editors, Kirsten McAllister kmcallis at sfu.ca, Daniel Ahadi

daniel_ahadi at sfu.ca and Ayaka Yoshimizu ayaka.yoshimizu at ubc.ca

For more about the co-editors please see:




Kirsten E. McAllister, Ph.D.
Associate Professor | School of Communication
Simon Fraser University | K9660 Shrum Science Centre
8888 University Dr., Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6
T: 778.782.6917 | www.sfu.ca/communication<https://linkprotect.cudasvc.com/url?a=http%3a%2f%2fwww.sfu.ca%2fcommunication&c=E,1,TllT_TrhJCenBoHD-klqaNPPBhdWzOhqxev77dm0bfEIkSOSHwJ0WM6i_VkpYKRvQswnrTHNYi89CtfIQECanAjW-yTQ6Ry0V4XKL3RJKfTnHit0Fs-IOCZj&typo=1>
E: kmcallis at sfu.ca<mailto:kmcallis at sfu.ca>

At Simon Fraser University, we live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish people of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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