Special UDC issue of The Political Economy of Communication

Of all the things I have participated in during my academic career I am most proud of the 2015 UDC Conference in Toronto. Alongside my comrades Nicole Cohen and Gretchen King, we put together a fantastic conference highlighting the circuits of struggle. Subsequent to this, I have had the honor of working alongside Jessica Lapp as the special guest editor of the IAMCR journal The Political Economy of Communication. It is now a pleasure to announce the publication of a special issue based on some of the proceedings from the 2015 UDC Conference. The authors include Harry Cleaver, Nick Dyer-Witheford, John Sullivan, Ian Davis, and Patrick MacInnis—as well as an editorial by yours truly and Jessica Lapp. See the special issue here: http://www.polecom.org/index.php/polecom

Come join me for Surplus3: Labour and the Digital

Untitled-3I am participating in this wonderful symposium celebrating the publication of Nick Dyer-Witheford’s most recent book Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex. Participants will have 3 minutes to speak to a given concept. That’s faster than green grass through a goose folks. Sounds fun! See you at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, Tuesday October 20th at 7pm.

World Book and Copyright Day

Come join me as I do a reading for World Book and Copyright Day!

copyrightday

A Collaborative Literary Performance in the Public Domain

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 9:00 am – 7:30 pm, or until finished

Robarts Library, 2nd floor lobby

Free Admission | Open to the public

Join us for a public and collaborative reading of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in its entirety in celebration of World Book and Copyright Day. World Book and Copyright Day is an event in honor of authorship and literacy and raises awareness about authors’ rights and users’ rights.

Brought to you by University of Toronto Libraries’ Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office and the University of Toronto CAPAL student chapter.

Last Lecture Series

1112We asked Brett Caraway what would be his last lecture if he were going to die tomorrow, the last lesson he would want to give to his students.

That is what the Last Lecture Series is all about. Come out on Friday, October 10th to learn about Existentialism and what it means to “be”. It will be held in IB 150 at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Social Media & Society 2014

SMS_LOGO_mediumI will be presenting some of my current research on networked social movements at the 2014 International Conference of Social Media & Society at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto. This particular research examines the utilization of social media platforms by a number of Canadian labor unions for purposes of recruitment and labor action coordination.

2015 UDC Conference at the University of Toronto

UDC 2015 Conference

2015 UDC Conference

The Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (ICCIT) will host the 2015 Union for Democratic Communications conference May 1st-3rd at the downtown campus of the University of Toronto. The call for papers is available on the conference website: http://udc2015.wordpress.com/cfp/

We look forward to seeing you in Toronto!

A tale of three cities: Austin, Wharton, & Toronto in photos

“The space that homogenizes thus has nothing homogenous about it. After its fashion, which is polyscopic and plural, it subsumes and unites scattered fragments or elements by force.”

—Henri Lefebvre

My home is scattered across three disparate communities. Fortunately, I am able to spend time in all of them on a regular basis. Traversing these spaces has underscored for me their commonalities and departures. In the photos that follow I have tried to capture some of the distinctive elements that are relevant to my own life. Click the images to see larger photos.

AUSTIN

A_austinI spent half my life in Austin. Although my intuition tells me that Austin’s heyday was probably in the 1970s, it was as good a place as any to live. During my recent trips to Austin I have noticed a deep ambivalence among my closest friends regarding the recent transformations of the city. Change is inevitable but change is also marked by multi-directionality. Built environments are arenas of class struggle. There is an unmistakeable flow of composition-decompositiom-recomposition in urban landscapes. The fixed spatial systems created by capital in the past must be overcome by capital today. The first time I noticed these dynamics was when Austin decided to shutter Liberty Lunch Continue reading

My Mayor, the High-Functioning Alcoholic

fall“I’m not a drug addict. I’m not an alcoholic.” Rob Ford, the mayor.

Say what you want about his politics but there is no denying that the mayor of Toronto is a colorful person. He also is a very polarizing figure as the current media frenzy affirms. Admittedly, my outsider status has allowed me some distance from the full impact of both his politics and the current controversy. Still, it is hard not to be amazed at the circus-like atmosphere surrounding the mayor and the city. There is the video that purportedly shows the mayor smoking a crack pipe. There is the infamous photo of the mayor posing with alleged gang members outside of a crack house. There is the police surveillance of phone calls and surreptitious meetings with an accused drug trafficker behind a school and at a gas station. And, of course, there are the numerous accounts of public intoxication. Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America behind only Mexico City, New York, and Los Angeles. How is it even possible that the mayor of such an important city could be this out of control? Welcome to the absolutely insane world of alcohol and drug addiction.
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Sleeping in the cellar

It’s down there in the dark. I can hear the wet, staccato whisper emanating from its fetid mouth. It’s breathing. Or is it laughing? A sickening giggle that alternates between that of a small child and that of an old man. I stand at the top of the stairs gazing down into the pitch black. Dread fills me as I see the yellow-orange eyes round the corner and peer up at me from the dark. There is nothing human in those eyes. It’s here with me…inside the house

On the day I left home to study at the university my parents and I stood in the driveway next to my car. As we said our goodbyes my father told me, “you can always come home but it will never be the same when you come back.” I am sure he meant well. Perhaps it was some bit of wisdom that his own father had imparted to him when he left home. Yet I fixated on that one little sentence for years afterwards, and in the process, I shouldered myself with an abundance of emotional distress. I loved my home. I struggled for decades to find home again and regain my moorings. Continue reading