Sponsored by the Communication History and Visual Communication Divisions and the Young Scholars in Communication History Network of the German Communication Association (DGPuK) in cooperation with the ECREA Young Scholars Network (YECREA), Wednesday April 2, 2014, Trier, Germany

Popular media and celebrity culture are integral elements of current highly media-orientated societies. They contribute to the production, and circulation of social and cultural meaning and are thus relevant instances for societal self-reflection and the scientific observation of contemporary and past societies. So far, communication research has widely underestimated the significance of popular media formats for mundane yet important decisions in the banal everyday. Hence we know relatively little about media genres dedicated to music, adolescents, kids, sports, fashion, travel, food or celebrity. Research on popular media and celebrities is often limited to case studies and the analysis of particular phenomena, special formats and contemporary media contents. Moreover, popular media and celebrity culture are rarely seen as relevant to comprehending the complex interrelations of changes in media, culture and society. Even though celebrity culture is intrinsically connected with the increasing relevance of the visual in contemporary societies, we must not forget that celebrity culture is a phenomenon that predates the 20th century. Hence, historical analyses and long-term perspectives are required.

With this workshop we thus want to address the significance of ”the insignificant” and focus on popular media and celebrity culture from various disciplinary perspectives, with particular emphasis put on visual and historical dimensions. The Young Scholars workshop is targeted at international early career scholars and seeks to provide a forum for the theoretical, methodological and empirical exploration of popular media and celebrity culture in communication research. Exemplary questions to be considered in the workshop comprise but are not limited to:

·       How can popular media be approached from a historical perspective? How has the concept of „popular“ changed historically in different social and cultural contexts and media environments?

·       Which theoretical and methodological challenges regarding popular media and celebrity culture have to be addressed in historical and visual communication research? What are promising theoretical concepts and how can they be linked to celebritization and celebrification (Driessens 2012)?

·       What can we learn about society by observing and analyzing popular media and media celebrities?

The ambition of the workshop is to discuss theoretical and methodological approaches to mediatized celebrity and popular media and to facilitate exchange and networking between early career scholars and experts in the respective fields of research. The workshop is divided in plenary sessions and working groups. Keynotes by renowned experts will introduce in the research field and provide theoretical inputs from different disciplinary perspectives. In subsequent workshop sessions young scholars are given the opportunity to present their projects and to discuss them with the keynote speakers. Every project will receive in-depth feedback by the keynote speakers and other participants.

Applications should include a short CV and a statement of not more than 2 pages (in English) outlining the project and its reference to or their interest in popular media and celebrity culture, as well as the stage of development of the project. Additionally a set of questions or problems that the applicant would like to see discussed during the workshop is to be included. This information will be used to identify common problems and issues to be tackled in the workshop.

Applications are to be emailed to: christian.schwarzenegger@phil.uni-augsburg.de until February 23, 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be ready by March 1, 2014.

Workshop organizers:

Thomas Birkner, Stephanie Geise, Katharina Lobinger, Christian Schwarzenegger

Please note that the workshop will take place the day before the joint conference of the DGPuK Communication History and Visual Communication Divisions (http://www.uni-trier.de/index.php?id=51001). Workshop applicants are highly encouraged to participate in the conference. The farewell drinks of the Young Scholars Workshop will be combined with the get- together of the conference on Wednesday evening.