If McLuhan Were Alive

…he'd be a member of the Media Ecology Association. Marshall actually came up with the term Media Ecology, and worked with Neil Postman to create the Media Ecology program at NYU. While the program went to the great beyond with Postman's passing, it has morphed into an international organization of people from a wide range of fields who look at the way media and culture influence one another.

Their conferences fall somewhere between a traditional academic conference and a DisinfoCon. And, best of all, they're open to papers and presentations from anyone. My favorites of the past few years were one by Lian Amaris on the World of Warcraft funeral raid, and Corey Anton on the Tao and media.

I just received the call for submissions for the next conference, and I encourage anyone with interesting ideas about any aspect of media to make a submission. This isn't one of those stodgy academic groups, so you don't have to present in any officially recognized format. Just tell them what you want to talk about, or do. I can promise you'll have an audience of smart, weird, and friendly people giving feedback you can use. In the flesh.

Call for papers
Media Ecology Association
2009 Annual Convention
June 18-21, 2009
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri

"Ecology" a word derived from the Greek words meaning "household
knowledge." For the 2009 MEA convention, we seek papers on any aspect of
media ecology. Special interest in the places and spaces of media
interactions: Silicon Valley or St. Louis; screen, studio, library, or
street. Does place matter? Local systems, larger systems, and changing
relationships in the ecology of media. The role(s) of media in different
ecological systems. The changing geography of media: Why do some forms
emerge and others recede? The ethics of (not) setting boundaries. Living
in information systems: Are we the center, the web, the flaneur? What is
the I in the culture of iPods, iPhones, and iGames? Because the 2009 MEA
Convention will meet at Saint Louis University, where Walter J. Ong was
a faculty member, papers on any aspect of his work are especially
welcome. Papers and session proposals should be sent by January 15 to
Prof. Sara van den Berg, Dept. of English, Saint Louis University, St.
Louis, MO 63108-3414. Electronic submissions (preferred) to
vandens@slu.edu. All submissions will be acknowledged.

This meeting will be sponsored by the Walter J. Ong Center for Language
and Culture, the Department of English, and the Department of
Communication at Saint Louis University. This conference will feature
special exhibits and tours of the Walter J. Ong Archives and a reception
at the Pius XII Library. Housing (single rooms/private bath) will be
available at Reinert Hall ($44/night) or the Water Tower Inn ($85/night).