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 those who deny the findings of the natural and historical sciences.
While the term "phenomenology" remains in its name, in 2002 SPM decided that such identification was too intellectually narrow, Eurocentric, and politically biased. Although it was decided that the name would be retained in order to maintain continuity, the Society as an organization decided to disassociate itself from the various schools of phenomenology and post-phenomenology, though participation by those with these points of view were welcomed and continued to be a significant voice within SPM.
SPM does not deal directly with communication practices such as rhetoric or public speaking and, although attendant questions of technology arise, SPM is not directly concerned with the philosophy of technology, nor does it rely on unsubstantiated and highly-spectulative 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, and other contemporary approaches, as well as the full range of phenomenological opinion. Philosophers and media theorists regularly discussed include but are not limited to Althusser, Bachelard, Baudrillard, Benjamin, Davis, de Beauvois, 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, TV, writing.
Glimpse, the annual SPM publication, is a blind, peer-reviewed journal. SPM Proceedings include 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.
Due to the uncertainties brought
on by the COVID-19 pandemic,
SPM will host two international conferences in 2021:
1. Virtual (23rd Annual)
2. On-site (24th Annual)
Prof. Stacey Irwin
1. 23th Virtual Conference
Society for Phenomenology and Media
23rd Annual Conference (Virtual)
Thursday, March 25 to
Saturday 27, March 2021
2. 24th Pennsylvania Conference
Society for Phenomenology and Media
24th Annual Conference
Thursday, September 30th
to Saturday, October 2nd.
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
For questions for the 24th Conference
in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,contact:
Prof. Stacey Irwin
For general information, contact:
SPM Secretary: Prof. Paul Majkut
Applications must be made through
Deadline for considerations of abstracts and panels:
April 1, 2021
The Society for Phenomenology and Media (SPM) is pleased to receive abstracts (200 words maximum) for consideration of inclusion in its 24th annual international conference. The conference will be sponsored and hosted by Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Proposals for 3-person panels are also accepted. These should be organized around specific media — for example: film, the Internet, mobile communication, medieval manuscripts, print media (books, newspapers, and magazines), stage drama, television, visual art, dance, etc. Panel proposals should include three papers, one of them by the panel organizer. Individual abstract submissions are assigned to a panel by the conference host.
The Society for Phenomenology and Media encourages interdisciplinary approaches and theoretical diversity. Individual papers and panels need not be limited to phenomenological approaches. In the past, papers have come from diverse theoretical perspectives, including critical theory, cultural studies, hermeneutics, Marxism, New Historicism, post-colonial theory, pragmatism, semiotics, speech-act theory, and so on. Participants have come from a wide range of disciplines: philosophy, media studies, communications, psychology, history, political science, sociology, rhetoric, literary theory, cognitive science, cultural studies, and other fields.
Doctoral students are invited to submit proposals, but should note that SPM limits the number of papers from students. Conference abstracts and panel proposals submitted are peer reviewed. Papers accepted and presented are published in the annual SPM Conference Proceedings and also considered for publication in Glimpse, the annual, blind-reviewed journal published by SPM.
Applications for an SPM annual
conference is a two-step process:
1) Make an application through EASYCHAIR;
2) When your application is accepted, immediately complete your application by registering on this SPM webpage (see "conference registration" in the tab above). You complete your acceptance only when you have paid your conference and membership fees. This is done through PAYPAL (See: "Conference Registration" tab in menu at top of this page).