Call for Special Issue: new media + society

Guest editors: David Parisi, Mark Paterson, and Jason Archer

Abstracts due (400-500 words): November 8, 2015

Interacting with, navigating, and manipulating media has always depended on touch–whether turning pages, folding paper, depressing buttons, typing on keys, or twisting knobs, there is always an act of touching at the heart of mediated communication.  The recent rise of touchscreen and gestural interfaces, mobile computing, video gaming, wearable communication devices, and emerging virtual reality platforms disrupts the previous material stability of these media interfaces, prompting the adoption of new, embodied navigational habits.  At the material level, we now touch media in novel ways, becoming accustomed to their shape, size, texture, temperature, and weight, while also learning to be receptive to the signals media objects transmit to us through a hitherto seemingly dormant tactile channel.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

– Touchscreen remediations of ‘old’ media interfaces (print, radio, television, telephone, telegraph, typewriter)

– Triangulations of gender, media, and touch

– Touch’s role in mobile and location-based digital media

– Haptics and past/present/future virtual reality systems

– Tactile and haptic aspects of predigital and ‘dead’ media interfaces

– Submodalities and divisions of touch

– Accepted/assumed divisions between touch and the other senses

– Assumed hierarchies of the senses

– Cybersex/teledildonics and technologies of mediated sexuality (Vivid’s CyberSex Suit, the RealTouch, OhMiBod)

– Haptic interface and haptic display technologies, including scientific, aesthetic, medical, and cultural applications

– Semiotic functions of touch in media

– Formal and informal regulations around communicative or social touching

– Touch and tactility in videogames

– Tactile/haptic/gestural metaphors/iconography operating in digital media (e.g. ‘poking,’ ‘thumbs up’)

– The role of haptic aesthetics in considerations of media design

– Cross-cultural comparisons of media touch

– Media, touch, and disability (e.g. sensory substitution systems, prosthetics)

– Changes in touch practices associated with touch-oriented media

– The tactile Internet

Please send abstracts (400-500 words) to David Parisi (parisid[at] and Jason Archer (jarche2[at] by Sunday, November 8.

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