Fake News and the Crisis of Europe

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018
820 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

The rise of rightwing nationalist parties across continental Europe, Brexit, and secessionist movements within preexisting European nation-states are emblematic of broader transformations in European politics: symptoms of a social, economic, and martial order built upon an eroding foundation of Cold War policy increasingly at odds with contemporary geopolitical realities. Draconian response to successive waves of migration, refugees, the threat of foreign and domestic terror, warfare and failed-states at Europe’s peripheries, and the precarious recourse to transnational alliances threaten to unravel the very fabric of Postwar European integration. In an age of profoundly enhanced communication, reliance on both traditional and social media has facilitated yet polarized the distribution of reliable information. Algorithmic recirculation of data between likeminded individuals, the proliferation of “fake news,” and an increasing reliance on short forms of communication such as Facebook and Twitter which reduce nuanced discourse to a finite number of keystrokes have fundamentally altered the stakes of a successful communication.

This conference aims to solicit papers tracing the intersection between policy, migration, and media consumption in Europe. We welcome contributions from across the humanities and social sciences, including but not limited to: European and Area Studies, Geography, Media and Communication Studies, Political Science, International Relations, Journalism, Law, History, Economics, Anthropology, Sociology, Language and Literature. Potential topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • How have historical patterns of migration influenced contemporary migration norms?
  • Do historical responses to European migration have resonance for contemporary policy?
  • What impact has the public sphere historically enacted on the perception of European migration?
  • Is “fake news” a new phenomenon for Europe?
  • Do changing conceptualizations of space impact migration narratives?
  • Does climate change (and its denial) have concrete ramifications for the movement of people into and within Europe?
  • Is “fake news” a crime or can it be conceptualized within our right to freedom of expression?
  • How has the refugee/migrant crisis been instrumentalized in European politics?
  • How has Russia utilized migration to legitimize its own domestic policies, as well as to influence foreign democratic processes?
  • How have EU attempts to fight both domestic and foreign misinformation/propaganda warfare transformed the function of European institutions?
  • What are the economic and political implications of the rapid dissemination of “fake” or questionable narratives?
  • What are effective manners to negotiate the intersection between media consumption and discourse narratives, public perception, and voting patterns?
  • What are the links between migration, Euroscepticism, and anti-Western sentiments?
  • How have media responses to fake news and the transforming mediascape been implemented in traditional forms of narration?

We invite abstracts of 250-300 words which briefly outline the contents and arguments of your paper.

Please submit abstracts in .pdf or .doc format to ies.berkeley.gradcon@gmail.com no later than Friday, March 16, 2018.

Institute of European Studies
207 Moses Hall, #2316
University of California
Berkeley, CA  94720-2316


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