Welcome to the online presence of the Society for Phenomenology and Media (SPM). In these pages you will find current information concerning coming events, publications, membership, and history.
SPM is concerned with media theory and media philosophy. Its primary focus is media analysis. The Society encourages attention to a wide-range of individual media (visual representation in film, TV, on the Internet, radio, all digital media, sequential art/comix, books and other print media, cave art, dance, etc.). Members are keenly interested in historical and contemporary media, media theory, the philosophy of media, artificial intelligence, social/anti-social media, augmented "reality," and the philosophy of political ecomony as it applies to media. Of particular importance to SPM are questions of class, especially as found in racist, sexist, and ageist expressions, overt and concealed, in national and international media.
As SPM enters its third decade, attention to media representation of environmental crises, neo-liberal globalization and neo-colonialism, and questions of free speech and hate speech have risen to the surface of contemporary philosophical and theoretical discourse. While remaining dedicated to phenomenological research, SPM now additionally focuses on the economic and political bases within various media contexts that underpin current concerns. SPM is committed to the exposure and analysis of racial, gender, sexual preference, and age prejudice, as well as re-emergent fascist, neo-Nazi , and reactionary laissez-faire ideologies and discourses that deny the findings of the natural and historical sciences.
While the term "phenomenology" remains in its name, SPM decided that such identification was too intellectually narrow, Eurocentric, and politically biased. Therefore, the Society, as an organization, moved to disassociate itself from the various schools of phenomenology and post-phenomenology. Individuals with these points of view, however, were welcomed to participate and continued to be a significant voice within SPM.
SPM neither deals directly with communication practices such as rhetoric or public speaking, nor, although attendant questions of technology arise, is SPM directly concerned with the philosophy of technology, nor does it rely on unsubstantiated and highly-speculative psychoanalytic or cognitive-science assumptions and assertions.
The Society encourages philosophical diversity. Members represent a wide variety of perspectives: analytic and linguistic analysis, artificial intelligence theory, direct realism, cognitive science, feminism, Marxism, cultural materialism, naturalism, neurological studies, pragmatism, post-colonial theory, semiotic, the full range of phenomenological opinion, as well as other contemporary approaches. Philosophers and media theorists regularly discussed include but are not limited to Althusser, Bachelard, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Davis, de Beauvoir, Debray, Deleuze, Eagleton, Engels, Foucault, Flusser, Gramsci, Habermas, Husserl, Ihde, Ingarden, James. Klein, Luxemburg, Lukacs, Marx, McLuhan, Merleau-Ponty, Peirce, Dunayevskaya, Searle, Tran Duc Thao, Turkle. Only questions of media theory and practice are constant in SPM activities and publications. Media covered in the past include but are not limited to apparatuses of all analogue media, augmented reality, dance, all digital media, Internet, manuscripts, print (books, magazines, newspapers), radio, reading, stage drama, Film, TV, writing.
Glimpse, the annual SPM publication, is a blind, peer-reviewed journal. SPM Proceedings includes all papers presented at SPM annual conferences that are submitted for publication. Both may be found at the Philosophical Documentation Center.
SPM is a non-profit international society. Of the twenty past SPM conferences, ten have been held outside of the United States: Argentina, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Poland, nine in three states in the USA--California, Oregon, and Utah. Participants include members from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Republic of China, the Peoples' Republic of China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and twenty-five states in the USA and three provinces in Canada.
Acceptance to an SPM conference is by invitation by a peer-review host committee.
SPM Conferences are as much about listening as speaking, questioning as answering. For that reason, we prefer applicants who will attend all three days of our conferences. We do not encourage "drop in" participants who give a paper and leave. It is well understood that academics use conferences for "publish or perish" reasons, promotions, tourism, and so on. SPM conferences are designed to allow plenty of time for social interaction and sightseeing, but because we are quite serious about what we do, we find that those who listen and question are of at least equal importance to those who deliver papers. We discourage those who come to pontificate. We enthusiastically invite those who want to have dialogue with other serious thinkers.
SPM sponsors special work projects. In the past, the OUTIS Project on Deception held five working conferences (Krakow, Buenos Aires, Helsinki, and twice in San Diego) that resulted in an anthology of selected essays. Currently, SPM is co-sponsoring with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México a series of seven annual conferences organized around the seven deadly sins, three of which have been completed to date (greed, lust, anger).
SPM cooperates with like-minded organizations. SPM is a founding member of the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations (OPO) and maintains a warm relationship with the Circulo latinoamericano de fenomenologia (CLAFEN) and the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology. SPM is particularly interested in bringing the work of Latin American thinkers to North American and European academics.