Below are the calls for participants/presenters for the Seminars. A seminar is either a half- or full-day session held on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Seminars are designed to bring together scholars from a variety of interest areas for the purpose of examining a specific theoretical topic, perspective, question, controversy, or scholarly contribution. There is no registration fee to attend a Seminar, but you do have to apply to participate. For application requirements, please see the Seminar specific requirements below. 

Seminar Calls

Ghosts in the Machine: The relevance of human choices in communication technology and the (future) legacy of communication research in technology studies

Wednesday, November 15: 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Presenters: Bree McEwan, DePaul University; Jaime Banks, West Virginia University; Nicholas David Bowman, West Virginia University; Tony Liao, University of Cincinnati

Description: Technologies from social media sites to algorithms to social media sites are becoming omnipresent in human communication processes. Technologies of any kind--analog or digital--can be understood as tools that are used to amplify or automate human processes. However, within the popular imagination and sometimes the scholarly record there is sometimes a separation drawn between the idea of technology and human. This seminar seeks to put the focus back on the human elements that drive the design, engagement, and effects of technology. Seminar participants will investigate the relevance of human choices in technology through exploring moral panics, algorithms, avatars, and augmented reality.

In a day-long seminar experience, participants will be guided through four modules, on moral panics, algorithms, player-avatar relationships, and augmented reality.  Finally, we will springboard from scenario planning into spending some time considering future projects and our future legacy of humans in communication technology. Throughout the seminar, participants will have an opportunity to engage with each other through planned fishbowls, discussion, and activities. Participants will also engage with technology through hands-on activities with avatars, chat bots, and a social robot demonstration.

Requirements: Applicants should submit a 250 word statement that indicates their interest in the influence and effect of human communication processes on technology. Specific reference to at least one of the four module topics is encouraged and priority will be given to participants engaged in or planning related research projects. Applications should be submitted to no later than October 3, 2017. Those selected to be in the seminar will be notified by October 13, 2017. Accepted participants are committing to complete readings prior to the seminar date and fully engage in the discussion. Questions can be directed to Bree McEwan,


Travel is Fatal to Prejudice: Reflecting/Responding to the Legacy/Relevance of Travel in/as Education

Wednesday, November 15: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Presenters: Raymond L. Blanton, Creighton University; Trey D. Guinn, University of the Incarnate Word

Description: As students, administrators, teachers, and scholars, our travel(s) afford us the opportunity to deploy and deepen our language and life skills. Liberal education is more than a collection of required courses. Rather, it is a totality of educational experiences that range from the home to the classroom, from distant countries to unexplored neighborhoods, from athletic fields to laboratories, from restaurant tables to road trip conversations, all of the places where we learn and grow. For instance, according to the Study on Undergraduate Education at Stanford: "An abundance of evidence confirms that students return from study abroad more confident of their ability to adapt to new challenges and circumstances, more sensitive to cultural and political differences, more adept at cross-cultural communication, and generally more reflective about the world and their place within it." In other words, travel gives us the utmost of opportunities to bridge our living with our learning, better preparing us to "shoulder the responsibilities of local, national, and global citizenship."

Collectively, these sentiments align with the most ardent aims of “Our Legacy, Our Relevance,” that is, to “look at who we are, who our audiences are, what we do, and why we do it so that we might extend the parameters of our thinking in order to more significantly impact the world around us.” In other words, “Travel is Fatal to Prejudice” not only attempts to reflect on the role of travel in broadening our experiences with others, but also and perhaps more importantly, respond by inviting students, administrators, teachers, and scholars on a walking tour of the historic Deep Ellum neighborhood in central Dallas. Put differently, if we truly are seeking to ask ourselves whether we ought to do more “standing in the gap,” advocating for and connecting our work to everyday communities, perhaps exploring an actual “everyday community” might broaden both our capacity to know and respond to the needs of our communities.

To that end, in Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad: or the New Pilgrims’ Progress, he concludes: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” In light of the inward and outward facing dimensions of “Our Legacy, Our Relevance,” “Travel is Fatal to Prejudice: Reflecting/Responding to the Legacy/Relevance of Travel in/as Education” is a full-day seminar that aims to spark dialogue regarding the important, perhaps essential role that travel plays in our relational, cultural, institutional, and intellectual legacies. In the first half of the seminar, we will reflect on the historical legacy of travel as a means of encountering others and their cultures in a series of roundtable discussions related to travel/study abroad experiences (past, current, or future) or other personal stories or research. In the second half of the seminar, we will respond to this legacy by personally exploring the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas, Texas with scholar and cultural historian Dr. Alan Govenar.

Part I: Reflecting on the Legacy/Relevance of Travel in/as Education

Part 2: Responding to the Legacy/Relevance of Travel in/as Education

Deep Ellum is located approximately one mile from both the Sheraton Dallas and the Dallas Marriott City Center, making it ideal to explore either by foot (12-15 minutes) or public transportation (10 minutes).   

The Deep Ellum Walking Tour with Dr. Alan Govenar will explore the history of the neighborhood, particularly its racial and musical legacy and include sites such as Encore Park: Art Music, Street Culture (where blues legend Robert Johnson recorded in 1936 and Eric Clapton in 2004) and the 42 Murals Project (e.g. Daniel Driensky’s “The Devil and Robert Johnson”), among other possible locations.

Requirements: We invite submissions from students, administrators, teachers, and/or scholars to participate in the NCA seminar, “Travel is Fatal to Prejudice.” We invite submissions to (1) contribute to a roundtable discussion on a morning panel related to travel experiences/research AND (2) to participate in the seminar.

Those interested in participating and/or presenting experiences/research in a roundtable discussion should submit a statement of interest to Raymond Blanton ( by Sunday, October 15th. 


Social Media Management Boot Camp: Demonstrating our Relevance while Building Our Legacy

Wednesday, November 15: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Presenters:  Laura Beth Daws, Kennesaw State University

Description: The goal of this seminar is to offer training in the area of social media management for schools and departments of communication. It is designed as a boot camp style workshop with practical strategies for getting started with social media to represent communication departments, as well as how to capitalize on existing social media accounts to better engage with students and working professionals. The primary target audiences for this workshop are current and potential social media managers of communication departments, and scholars who are seeking professional development in the area of social media management. However, this seminar would also be beneficial for instructors who are interested in incorporating a social media management component to existing courses in media studies, public relations, organizational communication, or other areas of communication, as the strategies discussed in this seminar can be applied to management of other professional social media accounts. While an overview of the most popular social media platforms will be provided, detailed training on how to use each of the platforms will not be covered. Instead, insight related to the unique purposes and audiences of each platform will be discussed in depth, as well as ways to capitalize on the platforms that yield the biggest benefit to organizations. Participants will leave the seminar with a list of the top 5 things to consider when managing a social media account. Additionally, participants will be given printed or digital handouts that include sample content calendars, resources for help with content creation, and tools for analysis.

This seminar will draw on a study recently conducted of social media managers from departments of communication at a sample of schools across the country. Informed by data from a thematic analysis of communication department social media pages as well as interview data with social media managers of departments of communication, this seminar will offer best practices in the area of social media management in higher education. Topics of discussion include determining target audiences, content creation, managing a content calendar, platforms, analytics, and general strategies for effective social media management in higher education. Please see the following page for a detailed outline and schedule of events.

Requirements: Interested participants should send the following to Laura Beth Daws ( their name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a short (1-2 sentence) explanation of what, if any, experiences they have had or are likely to have managing social media for their departments. Information must be submitted by October 30, 2017. 


Still Fighting: Rethinking our Relevance to Discourses of War, Gender, and Militarism

Wednesday, November 15: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Presenters: Jennifer A. Keohane, George Mason University; Kelly Jakes, Wayne State University; Sara L. McKinnon, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Description: War is an eminently discursive phenomenon. Each side marshals persuasive resources to justify their actions, build morale, and model appropriate actions for citizens to undertake. War is also a material phenomenon, one with increasing salience as governments and private industry implement militarization, securitization, and surveillance strategies as techniques of control. As rhetorical and critical cultural scholars have identified, these persuasive attempts and material impacts are deeply intertwined with gender as an organizing unit of social life.

This seminar will attend to the constitutive nature of gender, sex, and sexuality within contexts of war and militarism. We urge researchers to look beyond gender’s ability to prescribe action for individual citizens to its significance as a key signifier of power relations between warring groups. How, we ask, would studies of war, gender, and militarism change if we looked not at individual people but at relationships between larger actors (see, eg. Cloud 2004)? By orienting our critical focus similarly, we hope to prepare and embolden scholars to effect material change in the ways war and militarized action are represented. Given the prevalence of war in our society and the increasingly militarized nature of police patrols and political protests, this conceptual repositioning would draw attention to the ways in which gender offers a seemingly commonsense rationale for victory and defeat, occupation and liberation, resistance and collaboration. From DAPL protests at Standing Rock, to the armed surveillance of black neighborhoods, to the United States’ fight against ISIS, the proliferation of armed conflict in our world demands that we take seriously the ways in which state-sanctioned violence is legitimated and offer alternative discursive resources with which to interpret and resolve conflict. This, we hope, can be part of our discipline’s legacy and relevance.

This seminar invites scholars who are studying gender, war, and militarism or who see the utility of taking on these topics to reflect on questions such as these: How does gender structure overarching power relations between warring entities? How does expanding our understanding of rhetorical texts beyond political speeches (to include things like diaries, memoirs, etc.) provide insight into gender’s use and take up during times of war? How does gender influence militarized encounters (like along border regions)? How do material factors interact with discourse about gender to structure relationships between citizens? How do studies of war and gender help reassert communication’s relevance? In other words, how can rhetorical studies of war help reconstruct more productive discourses?

Requirements: Those interested in the relationship between gender and war or gender and militarism are invited to submit 500-word abstracts that critically reflect on these themes by October 1, 2017. Those interested, may for example, take one of the questions posed above as the basis to develop a position paper that articulates their thoughts about the relationship between gender and war in specific contexts. Those who are accepted to the seminar will be notified by October 15, 2017, and will be asked to elaborate their initial abstract into a 2000-3000 word essay, due November 1, 2017. Seminar participants will also be asked to read and reflect on selected readings before the seminar. PDFs will be circulated. All questions about the seminar and submissions should be directed to Jennifer Keohane at