[NetBehaviour] Call for Submissions: Internet Memes and Visual Culture

netbehaviour netbehaviour at furtherfield.org
Fri Nov 9 12:21:14 CET 2012

Call for Submissions: Internet Memes and Visual Culture

A themed Special Issue of Journal of Visual Culture

Issue Guest Editors: Laine Nooney (Stony Brook University) and Laura 
Portwood-Stacer (New York University)

The Editors are currently seeking proposed contributions for a Special 
Issue of the Journal of Visual Culture on Internet Memes and Visual 
Culture, to be published December 2014. The term meme, a portmanteau of 
mimesis and gene, was minted in 1976 by British ethologist and 
evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins proposed the meme as a 
“unit of cultural transmission,” a self-perpetuating cultural phenomenon 
analogous to the gene as a replicator of biological data. Almost 40 
years later, the term “meme” has become the coin of the realm within 
Internet subcultures, particularly on microblogging and social network 
platforms. In these contexts the designation “meme” identifies digital 
objects that riff on a given visual, textual or auditory form. For a 
digital object to become a meme, it must be appropriated, re-coded, and 
slotted back into the Internet infrastructures it came from—memes 
require continued user adaptation. Thus, memes are co-constitutive with 
the user practices of creative (re)production that are default modes of 
communicative interaction on major social media platforms such as 
Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Memes are 
frequent objects of analysis among scholars of contemporary digital 
culture, socio-linguistics, fan culture, and social networking, wherein 
they are assessed as forms of generative vernacular communication and 
art-making that defy traditional models of top-down capitalist consumer 
control of mass media forms. Yet the speed, volume and insularity of 
meme-making often frustrates aesthetic, formal and 
techno-infrastructural scholarship on memes and meme distribution.

This special issue of the Journal of Visual Culture will organize a 
conversation among cultural scholars, artists, activists, journalists 
and Internet content producers regarding the social, historical, and 
aesthetic significance of Internet memes. Our move to “take memes 
seriously” as communicative and aesthetic objects is especially timely, 
as memes' linguistic tropes, visual styles and means of transmission 
gain increasing visibility beyond their origins in online subcultural 
spaces such as 4chan or 9gag. One of the ways this special issue will 
take on these questions is by itself expanding on traditional modes of 
academic writing. Potential contributors are thus encouraged to 
incorporate visual and conceptual experiments intended to elucidate the 
meme form, performatively and materially replicating the phenomenon 
under study.

Suggested Topics

The Editors are open to engagements with “Visual Culture” broadly writ.
Contributions may consider the following topics or expand on other 
ideas, keeping a particular emphasis on relating memes to the visual:

-how memes figure in a broader history of performative, humor-based, 
conceptualist, retro, or contemporary digital art practices
-the formal aesthetics of different meme types and the technological 
infrastructures that undergird them (300x300 macros, supercuts, GIFs, 
screengrabs, photobombs, snowclones, etc.)
-meme production in non-Western locations (particularly as they may be 
tied to political risk or Internet censorship)
-meme transmission across national and cultural borders
-how (if?) memes have enabled creative producers (particularly queer 
people and people of color) to contest presumptions of homogenous 
Western whiteness on the Internet
-how memes have served as vehicles for political protest and resistance

Proposed contributions may take the form of scholarly articles 
(5000-7000 words), but the Editors are particularly interested in 
shorter essays, graphic essays, and other creative formats. We 
especially encourage submissions in formats that can be showcased on the 
Journal of Visual Culture's blog and a Tumblr devoted to this special issue.

Submission Guidelines
For a proposed academic paper, please email a single-spaced, extended 
abstract of 1000-1200 words that details a projected argument and 
possible example cases to be examined. Please also include a brief list 
of scholarly sources that will inform your paper (not included in the 
word count). For a proposed contribution in another formats (short 
essay, graphic essay, conceptual piece, etc.), please email a 
single-spaced description or artist statement that details the format 
and projected content of the submission. The deadline for submission of 
proposals/abstracts is 15 January 2013. The Editors expect to make final 
decisions about accepted contributions by mid-March 2013. Accepted 
contributors will be asked to submit their full contributions by January 
2014. The Editors are aware of and open to shifts in content that may 
occur as the full submission develops, should the proposed contribution 
be accepted for inclusion in the issue.

Inquiries and submission proposals should be directed to both Laine 
Nooney (laine.nooney at gmail.com) and Laura Portwood-Stacer 
(lportwoodstacer at gmail.com). Emails should include the subject heading: 
Internet Memes special issue, JVC.

Link: http://www.lainenooney.com/1/post/2012/11/memesvisualculture.html

Deadline: Tue Jan 15th, 2013

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