NCA Annual Convention

NCA 108th Annual Convention: Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment

NCA 108 Convention image
November 17 - 20, 2022
New Orleans, LA

NCA 108th Annual Convention
Call for Participation
“Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment”
November 17-20, 2022
New Orleans, Louisiana

Walid AfifiFor the 108th Annual Convention of the National Communication Association, we return to New Orleans, LA, a city with a history that encapsulates so much of the rich fabric of the United States, as well as many of its struggles.  Originally inhabited by Native American tribes including the Chitimacha and Choctaw, the city’s indigenous name is Balbancha (“land of many tongues”), in reference to its status as a site for trade and exchange for many communities. It was colonized by both the French, who named it “La Nouvelle Orleans” (in honor of the Duke of the French city of Orléans, who was also the governor of French colonial expansions), and the Spanish (who continued the name: “Nueva Orleans”), before it was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In the years that followed, New Orleans became the largest slave market in the United States, ultimately witnessing the purchase and sale of more than 135,000 people. This complex colonial past, when juxtaposed against the present-day clarion call for antiracism, positions the City of New Orleans as one of the nation’s sites of renewal, transformation, and healing.  This can only take place by naming and recognizing the horrors of the past and the historical foundations of the present.

The image for the convention theme is of the Jazz Statue in Louis Armstrong Park, which is located in the city’s historic Congo Square. Previously known as Place de Negres, the square is the location where slaves and free Black people gathered in the 19th century for meetings, open markets, and the African musical and dance traditions that ultimately shaped the development of jazz. It remains an active place of culture and is considered spiritual by many.

The history of place matters. New Orleans (aka, Balbancha) is the ideal location to explore this year’s convention theme, “Honoring PLACE: People, Liberation, Advocacy, Community, and Environment.”  Both the centrality of place, and each aspect that makes up the acronym PLACE, speak to what our discipline must honor if we hope to broaden our practices beyond the white, ableist, heterosexist, U.S.-centric, cis-gendered, male-dominated, and colonial history upon which our nation and discipline were built.

I hope you submit your papers, panel discussions, or other proposals to the NCA 108th Annual Convention in New Orleans. As you work on them, I ask you to consider some or all of the following questions, among others related to the theme: How does the project speak to the experience of the people whose labor built the places, or lived on the land, in which we work (People)? How does this project give agency for members of communities in whose oppression we have been complicit (Liberation)? How do the scholarly and/or pedagogical practices that shape this project honor marginalized communities (Advocacy)? How does the approach to this project take seriously the need to center community voices and account for local forms of knowledge (Community)? How does the project contribute to a disciplinary climate in which we take seriously the historical, cultural, structural, and physical factors that shape the knowledge production and dissemination process (Environment)? And, in sum, how do the cultural and historical realities of location impact your analysis (Place)?

The NCA 108th Annual Convention will honor the rich history of the city that hosts us by centering these questions. Be prepared for a convention that challenges our past and holds promise for a more community-centered and inclusive future. 

Walid Afifi
NCA Second Vice President