Author: Publishing Manager

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman

UWP launched a brand new journal today, now open for submissions.

Editors David Chandler, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos and Jane Lewis of the University of Westminster explain the background and their thinking that led to its creation:

Anthropocenes – Human, Inhuman, Posthuman’ seeks to explore the implications of the Anthropocene from the perspectives of the social and life sciences, arts and humanities. We see the Anthropocene as an invitation to think differently about ways of being in the world and how we operate within, across and beyond our disciplinary framings. We take inspiration from Val Plumwood’s view that the Anthropocene poses the question: ‘Is it to be a posture of openness, of welcoming, of invitation, toward earth others, or is it to be a stance of prejudged superiority, of deafness, of closure?’ At present we feel that there is too little invitation: work on the Anthropocene often seems divided between climate scientists working along technical and managerial lines and, what can come across as, fairly aloof and abstract philosophical approaches. We seek to work to expand the area of Anthropocene work which can often be obscured by this divide; working out from the middle as it were.

For us, the Anthropocene poses questions that go far beyond narrow technical or governmental concerns of how to address issues such as climate change and global warming. While some contributors may, no doubt, be concerned with preventing, slowing or opposing the Anthropocene as a future to come, we hope that others will provide a critical, constructive and exploratory focus upon what it means to live within the Anthropocene as a time in which the certainties of the modernist world are becoming undone. Our desire is that this journal will pursue the open-ended and future-oriented invitations of the Anthropocene through building new cross-disciplinary research communities, facilitated through publishing in an open access format available to all.

We feel that the time is right to establish a world-leading interdisciplinary journal placing the University of Westminster at the centre of contemporary conceptual debates and practices. Drawing upon our unique strengths across diverse fields from the arts and media to the human sciences, via law, architecture and politics, Anthropocenes will engage and work with leading and upcoming international academics and practitioners looking for an interdisciplinary outlet and keen to develop and initiate debate through traditional and non-traditional forms of publication including visual and audio links.’

200 authors contribute to UWP books and journals

200 authors contribute to UWP books and journals

Another landmark reached.

Over 200 unique authors or editors have contributed to UWP books and journals from over 30 countries.

The top 10 countries in order of author numbers are: UK, USA, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Germany with China, China (Hong Kong), Ireland, Netherlands and Russia in joint 10th place.

From the University of Westminster 21 authors or editors have contributed to our publications more than once, with 16 authors from other universities or locations also contributing multiply.

Our travel-loving Press Manager has visited all but 7 of the countries but would like to have to add more to his bucket list which UWP has reached that currently includes Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan and South Africa.

Does this top 10 geographical profile match our open access audiences? Not quite but not far off either. We’d have more authors from Turkey and a few more from Greece, Mexico, Indonesia and South Korea perhaps but overall it would be hard not to say that there was a strong correspondence.

From our main website we can see readers have popped up (though not too frequently) in Yemen, South Sudan, Niger, San Marino and in the US commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Northern Pacific. With our WPCC journal ( a separate site) this week there have been strong showings from Zimbabwe, Australia, Singapore and Nigeria.

Open access offers quite a lot of insights to distract the publisher but demonstrates the ability of a small publisher to extend a reach and have a greater ability than a purely print publisher to understand a little more of where there readership is hailing from.

CDSMS series reaches 100,000 views/downloads.

CDSMS series reaches 100,000 views/downloads.

The University of Westminster Press‘s flagship Critical Digital and Social Media Studies open access series just recently achieved a new land landmark: 100,000 views and downloads. These include both book chapters and full book downloads (impossible currently to wholly disaggregate) across its 11 titles published since October 2016.

We’d like to ascribe this to a particular date but the rise in figures is coming at us so thick and fast from different directions (many reporting only monthly, one six-monthly) the only certainty is that the actual number is higher, maybe even significantly so.

UWP would like to congratulate all its authors, editors, the editorial board its platform provider Ubiquity Press and especially series editor-in-chief Christian Fuchs of our own parent institution, the University of Westminster for a wonderful effort in helping us reach global audiences. We look forward to further landmarks in 2020 and onwards.

Call for Papers — AI for Everyone? Critical Perspectives

Call for Papers — AI for Everyone? Critical Perspectives

Call for Papers for AI for Everyone? Critical Perspectives (Open access peer-review edited book volume)

Publisher: University of Westminster Press Series: Critical, Digital and Social Media Studies

Editor: Pieter Verdegem (University of Westminster)

INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL DESCRIPTION

This collection of contributions brings together critical debates about Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interrogate how we should understand what constitutes AI, its impact and challenges. If we want to make sure that AI-powered applications and solutions will benefit society at large and mitigate AI’s potential negative consequences, we need to overcome the widespread dichotomic (utopian/dystopian) thinking about AI. By offering different perspectives and engaging in critical conversations on the potential and impact of AI, this collection aims to invite all stakeholders involved to contribute to a more nuanced vision of how to make sure AI will deliver benefits for everyone, if at all possible (and what is needed to facilitate change).

What makes this collection timely and necessary:

  • Urgency – technologies are changing so quickly and becoming embedded with little public scrutiny
  • Public debate is polarised – critical perspectives must offer a necessary nuance to address then answer fundamental questions about power
  • Critical – we are facing a new era of technological determinism and governments and business actors are seeking technological solutions without interrogating the consequences. The assumption is that AI is inevitable, everywhere. We have not even started asking the right questions
  • Interdisciplinary – approach
  • Debate – interaction between different stakeholders (scholars, government, industry, civil society and activists)

QUESTIONS, TOPICS AND FORMAT

This collection asks fundamental and critical questions, such as:

  • What is AI, and what is it not?
  • What is good AI and for whom?
  • How is AI developed, by whom and on what data has it been trained?
  • Who owns the AI infrastructure, algorithms and datasets?
  • Who has the power to classify and who is involved?
  • Who benefits from AI? Who does not?
  • Who is excluded and what are the consequences?
  • How should we decide where AI can be beneficial, and where harmful?

Contributions include but are not limited to topics, such as:

  • Conceptualising AI: AI and bullshit
  • Power, Inequality and the Political Economy of AI
  • AI, Work and Automation
  • Resistance and Activism
  • Ethical frameworks for AI
  • What AI should not do

Format: This edited volume will be a combination of invited contributions and chapters from this open call for contributions.

TIMETABLE

October 10, 2019:      Deadline for abstracts (max. 500 words) October 30, 2019:    Editor’s response to abstracts

March 31, 2020:         Deadline for full chapters (6,000-8,000 words)

July 10, 2020:            Deadline for revised chapters

March, 2021:              Publication of the edited volume (open access)

All material and the book itself will be published open access in print and digital versions subject to peer review with no author fees.

MORE INFORMATION & CONTACT

Please send abstracts of no longer than 500 words to Pieter Verdegem (p.verdegem@westminster.ac.uk) by 10 October 2019.

ABOUT THE CRITICAL, DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA STUDIES SERIES

Series Editor: Christian Fuchs

The open access peer-reviewed book series edited by Christian Fuchs publishes books that critically study the role of the internet and digital and social media in society. Titles analyse how power structures, digital capitalism, ideology and social struggles shape and are shaped by digital and social media. They use and develop critical theory discussing the political relevance and implications of studied topics. The series is a theoretical forum for internet and social media research for books using methods and theories that challenge digital positivism; it also seeks to explore digital media ethics grounded in critical social theories and philosophy.

Editorial Board: Thomas Allmer, Mark Andrejevic, Miriyam Aouragh, Charles Brown, Eran Fisher, Peter Goodwin, Jonathan Hardy, Kylie Jarrett, Anastasia Kavada, Maria Michalis, Stefania Milan, Vincent Mosco, Jack Qiu, Jernej Amon Prodnik, Marisol Sandoval, Sebastian Sevignani, Pieter Verdegem

https://www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site/books/series/critical-digital-and-social-media- studies/

The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (C. N. Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists …’

The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (C. N. Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists …’

as new reports emerge concerning male bias in AI … etc’
(from WPCC editorial).

As a new WPCC issue on Media Activism is published editors, Anastasia Denisova and Michaela O’Brien highlight the key issues for the issue in their editorial ‘From High Visibility to High Vulnerability: Feminist, Postcolonial and Anti-Gentrification Activism at Risk‘. What follows is an extract.

In times when hijacking of terms and stories happens on a daily basis, activism also means constant narrative recreation and damage control. Some scholars call the internet a patriarchal structure (Megarry, 2018) and there are voices that demand gender equality of the online space. The rallying cry of ‘We should all be feminists’ (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) is turning into ‘We should all be activists’ as new reports emerge concerning male bias in AI (Crawford, 2016; Adam, 2006; Leavy, 2018), sexist coding of digital voice assistants (West, Kraut and Ei Chew, 2019), the inherent inequality of AI-assisted recruitment processes (Dastin, 2018), and inequality of activism too. Female protesters and activists of colour face more challenges than others – due to the outbursts of toxic masculinity, racial abuse, cow­ardly anonymous online attacks and imbalance of visibility when it comes to hierarchy of influence. These issues are as virtual as they are real – and they need to be addressed to maintain liveable societies.  As editors, we wanted to explore the possibilities for progressive activists around the world to use the media to resist the current rise of the extreme right along with disturbing and growing evidence of the techniques of fascism: populism, propaganda and fake news, hate speech and rise of hate crimes. We define ‘activism’ as ‘the widest range of attempts to effect [progressive] social or cultural change’ (Meikle, 2018: iii), while ‘the media’ includes a broad range of communication platforms, from traditional journalism to digital networks.

[The University of Westminster runs an MA Programme in MEDIA, CAMPAIGNING AND SOCIAL CHANGE].

Adam, A. (2006). Artificial Knowing: Gender and the Thinking Machine. London: Routledge.

Crawford, K. (2016). Artificial intelligence’s white guy problem. The New York Times, 25 June.

Dastin, J. (2018). Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. Reuters.com, 10 October. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-jobs-automation-insight/amazon-scraps-secret-ai-recruiting-tool-that-showed-bias-against-women-idUSKCN1MK08G (last accessed July 2019).

Megarry, J. (2018). Under the watchful eyes of men: Theorising the implications of male surveillance practices for feminist activism on social media. Feminist Media Studies, 18(6), 1070–1085. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2017.1387584

Meikle, G. (Ed.) (2018). The Routledge Companion to Media and Activism. Abingdon: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315475059

Leavy, S. (2018, May). Gender bias in artificial intelligence: The need for diversity and gender theory in machine learning. In Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Gender Equality in Software Engineering (pp. 14–16). New York: Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3195570.3195580.

West, M., Kraut, R., & Ei Chew, H. (2019). I’d blush if I could: Closing gender divides in digital skills through education. Paris: Equals Global Partnership/UNESCO.

Judgement Day!

Judgement Day!

‘What does it mean to judge when there is no general and universal norm to define what is right and what is wrong? Can laws be absent and is law always necessary? ‘

Our latest open access book title Dies Irae is out now. Jean-Luc Nancy’s reflection on nature and basis of law and judgement is our first translation is now published.