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The 6th Annual Theorizing the Web Conference
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4/15/2016 to 4/16/2016
When: 4/15/2016
Where: Museum of the Moving Image
New York City, New York 
United States

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Theorizing the Web is an annual event featuring critical, conceptual discussions about technology and society. It began in 2011 to advance a different kind of conversation about the Web, one which recognizes that to theorize technology is also to theorize the self and the social world. Given that technology is inseparable from society, the ideas and approaches that have historically been used to describe social reality must not be abandoned. Instead, these historical approaches must be applied, reworked, and reassessed in light of the developing digitization of social life.

Theorizing the Web’s organizers are now seeking presentations for their sixth annual event, which will take place on April 15-16, 2016, at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. The organizers invite submissions that engage with issues of social power, inequality, vulnerability, and justice from a diverse range of perspectives. Theorizing the Web is not an event just for academics or "tech” thinkers: activists, journalists, technologists, writers, artists, and folks who don’t identify as any of the above are all encouraged to submit a presentation abstract.

Abstracts should feature clear conceptual arguments that avoid jargon in favor of more broadly accessible critical insight. Submissions on any topic are welcome, but some possibilities are:

  • moving images, gifs, video, live streaming, copcams
  • social photography, filters, selfies, posing
  • race, racism, race posturing, ethnicity, #BlackLivesMatter
  • sex, gender, feminism, queer and trans* politics
  • sexuality, sexting, sex work, consent
  • mental health, illness, neurodiversity
  • (dis)ability and ableism
  • non-Western Web(s), language barriers, hegemony, globalization
  • social movements, protest, revolution, social control, censorship
  • hate, harassment, intimidation, trolling, bullying, resistance
  • pain, sickness, loss, death and dying
  • parenting, birth, life course
  • bodies, cyborgs, wearables, trans/post-humanism, bots
  • the self, identity, subjectivity, (in)authenticity, impression management
  • privacy, publicity, surveillance
  • encryption, anonymity, pseudonymity
  • presence, proximity, face-to-face, (dis)connection, loneliness
  • capitalism, Silicon Valley, venture capital
  • crowd funding, micro currencies, crypto currencies, blockchains
  • work, labor, "gig” or "sharing” economy, "Uber for”, exploitation
  • transportation, self-driving cars, drones, cities
  • code, affordances, infrastructure, critical design
  • knowledge, "big” data, data science, algorithms, positivism
  • memes, virality, metrics, (micro-)celebrity, fame, attention, click-baiting
  • underground markets, child porn, revenge porn, the extra-legal web
  • fiction, literature, visual narratives, storytelling, self-publishing, fandoms
  • time, (a)temporality, ephemerality, history, memory, right to forget
  • games, gaming, gamification, free-to-play, fantasy sports, gambling
  • elections, campaigns, presidential politics

Successful abstracts will address intersections of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, and other forms of inequality as they pertain to any of the topics above.

Abstract submissions should be 300 to 500 words (only the first 500 words will be reviewed). Arguments should be scaled to fit 12-minute panel presentations, and titles should appeal to a general audience. Your submission should not only describe your topic and question but also summarize your thinking and your conclusions. Good abstracts will provide a specific, original argument with clear stakes. Please do not ask questions in your abstract without answering them, or state "I will make an argument about X” without making the argument.

Note that, because Theorizing the Web deeply values public engagement, all TtW16 presentations should be both comprehensible and rewarding to people from outside the presenter’s specific areas of expertise.

Abstract submissions are due by 11:59 EST on January 24, 2016, and can be submitted through a form located at The TtW16 selection committee will blindly review all submissions. Space is limited, and selection is competitive. The acceptance rate is typically 20% to 35%.

Please note that there is a separate submissions process for art and alternative-format presentations. If you would like to participate in some way that isn’t giving a spoken presentation (e.g., displaying a piece of art; giving a performance; doing something else entirely), please use this separate submission form.

Registration for Theorizing the Web remains "pay what you can,” and you may donate whatever amount you deem fair or can afford (minimum $1). More information (including the registration form) can be found at

Stay tuned to for announcements about invited panels, and write to if you would like to help out with this all-volunteer event in any way.

The conference hashtag is #TtW16.


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