News and Activities

DIGMEX

– a network for discussions about digital media and existential issues and challenges.
DIGMEX is a transdisciplinary network for a philosophical, empirical and practical discussion about our digital existence. The network seminars constitute a meeting place across academic disciplines interested in exploring what it means to be human in the digital age and what makes our media existential.

DIGMEX organizes open lectures, seminars, workshops and international conferences.

Network Meetings

  • Open lectures and seminars
  • Digital ethics workshops
  • Conferences

Upcoming Events

November 21, 2018

Methods workshop: Visual material, innovation in research methods and ethical implications

Amanda Lagerkvist will participate as respondent in this workshop on November 21, 14-17, at CRS, Uppsala University, co-organized by the Faculty of Theology and the higher seminar in the Sociology of Religion. Find out more here.

Past Events

October 4, 2018

Lecture by Bernard Siegert

On October 4, DIGMEX is co-hosting a lecture by Bernard Siegert in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Aesthetics and the section of Cinema Studies of IMS at Stockholm University. Find our more here.

August 8-11, 2018

Book Launch: Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture

Amanda Lagerkvist and Charles M. Ess from Existential Terrains will attend the ISMRC Conference in Boulder, Colorado USA on August 8-11, 2018. They will launch the book Digital Existence: Ontology, Ethics and Transcendence in Digital Culture (edited by Amanda Lagerkvist) in the panel “Existential Media Studies: Probing Technologies of Life, Death and Beyond”. Respondent: John Durham Peters, Yale University. Find out more here: https://www.colorado.edu/ismrc/.

June 9, 2018

Human Memory in the Digital Age

On June 9, 2018, Amanda Lagerkvist participates in the Symposium Human Memory in the Digital Age at the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies, Lund University.

She will lecture on “The Pervasive Presence of the Digital Dead: On Human Memory in Face of the Loss of all Lost Things”. Find out more here.

March 6, 2018

DIGMEX lecture by Jeremy Stolow: Instruments of Science, Tools of Occultism: On Photography, Auras, and the Study of Religion and Technology

This presentation will offer some reflections on the topic of religion and technology from the vantage point of a study I have conducted called ‘Picturing Aura’. The project deals with the history of efforts to photograph a mysterious radiant force that is said to surround living bodies and is known as ‘the aura’. While dismissed as pseudo-scientific nonsense by the scientific mainstream, pictures of aura are embraced by a range of actors — fringe scientists, psychics, spiritual healers, occultists, and artists — as authentic representations of the state of human vitality and of the true nature of the cosmos. As such, they are said to constitute visible evidence confirming descriptions of subtle bodies and supernatural energies that belong to long histories of religious cosmology and healing arts. Picturing Aura is thus (among other things) a story about heterodox uses of the orthodox instruments of science — especially, but not only photographic apparatus — in ways that strain modern science’s monopoly over its own technological infrastructure. The presentation will offer a rough guide to this remarkable chapter in the history of photography, while at the same time drawing attention to some puzzling assumptions among scholars about media technologies as instruments of knowledge, and about how to distinguish science and religion in the first place.

Jeremy Stolow is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University, Montréal, Canada. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Religion and Media (New York University), and the Centre de recherche sur l’intermédialité (Université de Montréal). Among Jeremy’s recent publications are his books, Orthodox By Design: Judaism, Print Politics and the ArtScroll Revolution (University of California Press, 2010) and Deus in Machina: Religion, Technology, and the Things in Between (Fordham University Press, 2012).

When: March 6, 2018. 15.00-17:00.
Venue: Humanistiska teatern, Campus Engelska parken, Uppsala University.

February 15, 2018

DIGMEX Symposium

This DIGMEX Symposium will take place in the middle of February, with the topic “Existential Health and Suffering in the Digital Age”( "Existentiell hälsa och lidande i den digitala tidsåldern"). Lectures by Amanda Lagerkvist, Michael Westerlund, Dan Stiwne, Fredrik Svenaues, and Cecilia Melder (in Swedish) will cover the issues of the management (or non-management) of human health and suffering and how this relates to the essence of our digital existence. There will also be opportunities for active discussion. The Symposium will take place at the Sigtuna Foundation at 10.00 - 16.30. Participation in the symposium costs 200 SEK, including lunch and coffee. Please register via the Sigtuna Foundation​: www.sigtunastiftelsen.se/programpunkt/existentiell-halsa-och-lidande-i-den-digitala-tidsaldern/ or 08 - 592 589 85.

Program: Program DIGMEX Existentiell hälsa och lidande i den digitala tidsåldern (PDF)

Download the poster here.

More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/848596475316239/.

When: February 15, 2018. 10:00-16:30.
Venue: Sigtuna Foundation.

December 7, 2017

“What is Existential Media Studies?” Keynote Lecture by Amanda Lagerkvist

Amanda Lagerkvist will give a Keynote Lecture at the Center for Research in Media Innovation (CeRMI), University of Oslo, on December 7, 2017: “What is Existential Media Studies?” This centre explores how changing technologies, and changing modes of usage and engagement with media bring about media innovation and transformation of the media sector, while the purpose of this particular lecture is to introduce the young field of ’Existential Media Studies’ to our understanding of media in general and digital media in particular. The lecture will take place at UiO Department of Media and Communication, Oslo, Norway, at 10.15 - 12.00.

More details: https://www.facebook.com/events/121141648584294/

When: December 7, 2017. 10:15-12:00.
Venue: UiO Department of Media and Communication, Oslo, Norway.

November 24, 2017

Amanda Lagerkvist: ‘The net never sleeps’

Amanda Lagerkvist will be lecturing on November 24 2017​ at Sigtuna Foundation, on the topic of ‘The net never sleeps’ (Nätet sover aldrig). This lecture will be in Swedish.

More details: Att_vara_människa_i_vården_vad_händer_om_natten.pdf

When: November 24, 2017. 9:00-9:45.
Venue: Sigtuna Foundation.

October 30, 2017

DIGITAL EXISTENCE II: Precarious Media Life

Conference October 30 - November 1, 2017 at the Sigtuna Foundation

The second Digital Existence conference took place in the autumn of 2017 (Monday October 30 - Wednesday November 1) at the Sigtuna Foundation to the north of Stockholm in Sweden. It involved an open lecture Proxy Politics: From Global Climate Change to Racial Profiling Lecture by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, and a number of keynotes:

Keynote speakers:

  • Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown University, USA
  • Mark Coeckelbergh, University of Vienna, Austria (Download the presentation slides)
  • Beverley Skeggs, Goldsmiths College, UK

Endnote speaker:

  • Peter-Paul Verbeek, University of Twente

Special event:

  • BEING THERE with Mathias Ussing Seeberg, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

The exhibition BEING THERE describes, like an anthology in exhibition form, a difficult navigation for the individual between the physical and the digital. The presentation illustrated the contributions by the nine artists and described how the works relate to the subject in question.

Full program can be found here: Digital_Existence2_2017.pdf

Digital media have the power to transform our existence, raising new questions and creating new vulnerabilities as part of the experience of being human in the digital age. Big data and hyperconnectivity, tracking and trolling, digital life and digital death are only some of the issues that require an existential media analysis that underlines the precarity of human existence. This conference stimulated a discussion that allowed to critically map the various digital vulnerabilities that face us in our contemporary media age.

In result of the Writing Session, conference participants came up with many ideas that DIGMEX is aiming to develop in the future research.

September 28, 2017

Being human in the digital age – a meeting between Media Studies and Computer Science

Photo: Carol and Mike Werner/Alamy

The Existential Terrains programme at JMK/IMS and the Department of Computer Science at Stockholm University are announcing a one-day seminar where scholars will present ongoing research, in order to initiate a new dialogue across faculties. The first part of this event will be open to the public: we would like to invite students and SU employees to participate in a cross-faculty discussion.

Program Part I: Program IMS-DSV.pdf
Program Part II: Program IMS-DSV.pdf

When: September 28, 2017. 9:30-18:00
Venue: at DSV in Kista.

September 15, 2017

Data-driven humanistic research

Amanda Lagerkvist will be taking part in a roundtable discussion on Data-driven humanistic research on September 15, at KTH, 10:00-16:30.

This event has a goal to explain developments and opportunities in the field of digital humanities and computer-driven human research in Sweden in context of the Nordic and international developments.

This workshop will be in Swedish.

More details: https://www.kth.se

When: September 15, 2017. 10:00-16:30.
Venue: KTH.

May 30, 2017

Existential Media Studies: On Building a Field ‘Before the Curve’

(c) Foto B. Dalin
Amanda Lagerkvist, Head of the Existential Terrains programme, gave a lecture “Existential Media Studies: On Building a Field ‘Before the Curve’” during the Wallenberg Academy Fellows, meeting for Fellows within Humanities and Social sciences at The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities in Stockholm, on 30 May 2017.

When: May 30th, 2017. 15:00–16:30.
Venue: The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, Historyand Antiquities, Stockholm, Sweden.

March 30, 2017

Digital Media Ethics: Origins, Resources, Cases

Photo: vimeo.com/safeframe
The Research Support Office and the Existential Terrains Programme at the Department of Media Studies are happy to invite you to a seminar with Professor Charles Ess on "Digital Media Ethics: Origins, Resources, Cases​".

The seminar aims to (a) introduce participants to the backgrounds of Digital Media Ethics and the primary ethical frameworks in play; (b) show how these frameworks apply in several real-world cases and examples, including Internet Research Ethics; so as to (c) provide participants with resources and experience in analyses and strategies for resolving ethical issues that confront them as both "everyday" users of digital media and as researchers within their given disciplines.

Charles Ess is Professor in Media Studies, Dept of Media and Communication, and Director, Center for Research in Media Innovation (CeRMI), University of Oslo. His research and publications emphasize cross-cultural and ethical perspectives in Internet Studies, and Information and Computing Ethics.

During the month of March 2017, Professor Charles Ess will be a Guest Professor in the research programme ’Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity’, headed by Wallenberg Academy Fellow and Associate Professor Amanda Lagerkvist at the Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University.

When: March 30, 2017. 10:00-12:00.

Register here for the seminar before March 29: https://simplesignup.se/private_event/88262/48e49cbd7b (You will receive information about the venue upon registration.)

March 20, 2017

DIGMEX Lecture: Unthought. The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious​

N. Katherine Hayles
Recent discoveries in neuroscience have confirmed the existence of nonconscious cognitive processes inaccessible to conscious introspection but nevertheless essential for consciousness to function; this lecture will argue that understanding the full extent of their power requires a radical rethinking of cognition from the ground up and a reconceptualization of how humans interact with cognitive technologies in the contemporary developed world.

N. Katherine Hayles, the James B. Duke Professor of Literature at Duke University, teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory in 1998-99 for How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, and the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship for Writing Machines. She teaches courses on experimental fiction, literary and cultural theory, finance capital and culture, science fiction, and contemporary American fiction.

The event will be followed by a reception with drinks and refreshments.

When: Monday March 20, 2017. 15:00-17:00
Venue: JMK-salen, Karlavägen 104, Stockholm.

March 16, 2017

DIGMEX Seminar: Digital Media Ethics

During the month of March 2017, Charles Ess, Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, will be a Guest Professor in the research programme ’Existential Terrains: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity’.

Charles Ess, Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo.

Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian teenager, killed herself after enduring some three years of cyberstalking and bullying. Death – and life – online manifest themselves in a thousand other ways as well, evoking a range of ethical challenges and questions. How ought we best respond to such increasingly common forms of harassment of women, whether as directed against young girls or female journalists who investigate “gamergate” or “alt-right” movements, thereby making themselves easy targets for attack? Where ought we limit rights to freedom of expression online, e.g., vis-à-vis hate speech? What ought we do about threats to privacy, whether from criminal or state-sponsored hackers, and/or our own governments struggling to combat terrorism? And so on.

As our lives are more and more entangled in digital technologies, we inevitably face such major and more pedestrian, “everyday” ought (i.e., ethical) questions. Digital Media Ethics (DME), as an ethics “for the rest of us” outside of professional philosophy, seeks to address these issues in accessible and practical ways, drawing on the insights and approaches from an extensive array of disciplines in both technical (e.g., ICT design, AI, Big Data, etc.) and philosophical fields (including applied ethics). Charles Ess will use two or three examples that illustrate how DME takes up both ancient ethical philosophies (e.g., virtue ethics), and modern frameworks of utilitarianism, deontology, feminist ethics, and ethics of care, to resolve such common ethical challenges.

Prof. Ess’ research explores the intersections between philosophy, computational technologies, applied ethics, comparative philosophy and religion, and media studies, with particular focus on: research ethics, Digital Religion, and virtue ethics in media and communication, specifically social robots.

When: JMK, 16 March 2017. 10:00-12:00.
Venue: Bangsalen, Karlavägen 104, Stockholm.

6-8 March 2017

DORS3 Symposium

The research network Death Online Research in collaboration with DIGMEX organised a DORS3 Symposium that took place at Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark, 6-8 March 2017. The third Death Online Research Symposium has welcomed all relevant academic presentations of ongoing or recently completed or ideas for future academic research - on all kinds of death related online practices. As a special focus for 2017, DORS3 concentrated on how researchers construct the contexts for study and the methodologies they use to do the research.

Keynotes:

Jed Brubaker, Assistant Professor in the department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder

Connor Graham, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, National University of Singapore

Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Professor of Sociology, PhD, Director of Studies at the Master’s Program in Humanistic Palliative Care, Research Coordinator for SAGA, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University, Denmark

Annette Markham, Professor MSO of Information Studies, School for Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark

At DORS3, DIGMEX presented a special panel: The Existential Terrains of Gender and Death Online

In The Second Sex (1949), Simone de Beauvoir argued that in Western culture there is a deep felt connection between femininity and death. Through birth, corporeality and materiality, femininity has been associated with death, and masculinity with the soul, eternity and immortality. In the burgeoning death online field the internet has been described as eternal and as ‘heaven’ (Jakobi 2012) and could by consequence be deemed a ‘masculine’ medium. But according to students of software, the internet is culturally encoded as promiscuous and leaking and hence read as ‘feminine’ (Chun & Friedland 2015). In addition, as it is mainly women who are involved in communities of bereavement online, the masculinist tenancy of the existential realm seems to be challenged. What does being-toward–death online (Heidegger 1927, Kasket 2012) mean when cancer bloggers and members of support groups are very often women who share existential concerns, communicate with the dead, and thereby ponder our finitude as well as the beyond?

By aiming to remedy what seems like a neglect of gender within the death online field, and by developing an existential media analysis, this panel will bring these contrasting and paradoxical features to the table. It will address question such as: What type of feminist new materialism could account for the suffering female bodies who grab onto – while simultaneously constituting through embodied connectivity – mediated lifelines of shared vulnerability, online? What is the gender of the ‘right way to grieve’ within the continuing bonds-paradigm emerging in the death online context? How does the hyper-publicness of a previous taboo as those bereaved by suicide chose to mourn online, affect the culture of shame surrounding the topic, and does gender play into these normative shifts? And what is the role of online memorials for mothers in Russian society, where death culture evolved from archaic traditions of female mourners to the Soviet male funeral ceremony administrators, and back again - online.

More information:
conferences.au.dk/dors3/

Jan 26-27, 2017

Reference group meeting Sigtunastiftelsen on January 26-27, 2017 Theme: Digital grief and security

The Existential Terrains programme is collaborating with and supported by experts from various organizations and sectors in society, who give feedback to the research team (more: http://et.ims.su.se/research/reference-group/). The second reference group meeting took place at Sigtunastiftelsen on January 26-27, 2016. See agenda here: Referensgruppsmöte 2, 2017.pdf

At the beginning of the meeting Amanda Lagerkvist and Michael Westerlund welcomed the group. Amanda Lagerkvist outlined the framework and mandate of the Existential Terrains programme and updated the group about its developments and proress. This was followed by an introduction of the reference group members to each other. Amanda Lagerkvist, Michael Westerlund and Katerina Linden presented their research on commemoration online, suicide and bereavement on the internet, and death online practices in Russia.

Lars Björklund and Göran Gyllenswärd lectured on grief and existential loneliness in relation to the internet ("Sorgen och den existentiella ensamheten"). Kjell Westerlund, Cecilia Melder and Gergö Hadlaczki presented issues and challenges in relation to this theme, from their respective fields of experience and expertise, followed by a session of group discussions summarized in a final full plenum.

On January 27, professor Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg gave a lecture on digital security and privacy protection ("Integritetsskydd – igår, idag, imorgon"). She explained various aspects of European legislation that will be in place in May 2018, and discussed both the open data policy and the 'right to be forgotten' among other things. This lecture allowed the reference group participants to reflect on their professional and personal experiences. Find her ppt here: Integritetsskydd – igår, idag, imorgon.pdf

Reference group meeting participants:

  • Amanda Lagerkvist, Michael Westerlund, Katerina Linden, Kristina Stenström, SU/Existential Terrains
  • Yvonne Andersson, researcher / analyst, Statens medieråd
  • Kjell Westerlund, chairperson of SAMS (Samarbete för människor i sorg) and VSFB (Vi som mist barn)
  • Lars Björklund, chaplain at the Sigtuna Foundation
  • Ulf Lernérus, CEO The Swedish Funeral Directors' Association
  • Göran Gyllenswärd, psychoterapist, Randiga Huset
  • Cecilia Melder, psychologist of religion, lecturer at Uppsala University and the School of Theology and chair of the network for existential public health
  • Gergö Hadlaczki, NASP, Karolinska Institutet
  • Johanna Nordin, operations manager, Mind Sweden

Especially invited guest:
Cecilia Magnusson Sjöberg, professor of Information Law, SU

November 30, 2016

DIGMEX Lecture: The Crisis of Presence in Contemporary Culture

The Crisis of Presence in Contemporary Culture by Vincent Miller
In this talk Vincent Miller problematises the notion of presence within a contemporary culture in which social life is increasingly lived and experienced through networked digital communication technologies alongside the physical presence of co-present bodies. Using the work of Heidegger, Levinas, Bauman, Rotman (and others), he suggests that the increasing use of these technologies and our increasing presence in online environments challenges our tendencies to ground moral and ethical behaviours in face-to-face or materially co-present contexts. Instead, the mediated presences we can achieve amplify our cultural tendency to objectify the social world and weaken our sense of moral and ethical responsibility to others.

Such a disjuncture manifests itself in a number of popular contemporary concerns over privacy, ‘anti-social’ behaviour, and the problem of (free) speech and disclosure. He will suggest that the solution of overcoming such problems lies not in increasing regulation, but in more scrutiny paid to the software architecture of social media as the medium by which humans are ‘made present’ online, as well as an expansion of the notion of being/presence to include virtual data/presences, so that these may gain ‘ethical weight’.

Vincent Miller is a Reader in Sociology and Cultural Studies at the University of Kent, where he has research interests in digital culture and urban sociology. He is author of ‘Understanding Digital Culture’ (Sage) and is ‘The Crisis of Presence in Contemporary Culture: Ethics, Privacy and Disclosure in Mediated Social Life’, also for Sage.

The event will be followed by a reception with drinks and light refreshments.

When: Wednesday November 30, 2016. 15:00-17:00.
Venue: JMK-salen, Karlavägen 104, Stockholm.

November 18, 2016

Technospirituality, the Internet & the Value of the Void

Amanda Lagerkvist, Head of the Existential Terrains programme, gave a keynote lecture “Technospirituality, the Internet & the Value of the Void” at Technology & Transcendence symposium, at University of Twente.

When: November 18th, 2016. 11:15–12:15.
Venue: DesignLab, Campus University of Twente, Hengelosestraat 500, 7521 AN, Enschede, The Netherlands.

More details: https://www.utwente.nl

October 20, 2016

DIGMEX Lecture: The design of digital technologies to support transitional events in the human lifespan

Speaker: Wendy Moncur

In this talk Wendy Moncur will describe ways in which digital technologies are now woven into experiences across the human lifespan, with a focus on transitional life events. She will provide empirical insights into the advantages and disadvantages associated with this comparatively new phenomenon, focussing predominantly on the end of romantic relationships, and the end of life, before outlining new opportunities for technology design in the context of life transitions.

Dr Wendy Moncur is a Reader in Socio-Digital Interaction at the University of Dundee, where she leads the Living Digital group (www.livingdigital.ac.uk), a Visiting Scholar at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, an Associate Director of the Social Dimensions of Health Institute in Scotland, and an Associate of the Centre for Death and Society (University of Bath). Her research is grounded in Human Computer Interaction, and focuses on human experiences enacted in a digital age – for example, becoming an adult, becoming a parent, relationship breakdown, and the end of life. Her next large research project, ‘TAPESTRY’, is funded under the EPSRC TIPS program, and will explore normative online behaviour in social groups.

When: Thursday October 20, 2016. 10:00-12:00.
Venue: Bangsalen, Karlavägen 104, Stockholm.

August 23, 2016

Call for papers: DORS3, Method and content

DIGMEX is co-sponsoring The 3rd International Death Online Research Symposium DORS3, to be followed by a PhD course/workshop on method and content.

The third Death Online Research Symposium is welcoming all relevant academic presentations of ongoing or recently completed or ideas for future academic research - on all kinds of death related online practices A special focus in 2017 is on how scholars construct the contexts for study and which methodologies they use to do the research.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Jed Brubaker, Connor Graham, Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Annett Markham.

The following PhD course is aimed at the students in the field of Death Online Research to help them to reflect on the body of methodologies they use or want to use in their scientific work through the use of mappings and through collaborative work with colleagues in the field. Confirmed instructors include professor Annette Markham and associate professor Dorthe Refslund Christensen.

Time and place:
Symposium: March 6.-8. 2017 at Aarhus University, Denmark PhD. course/workshop: March 6-8, and 9-10 2017 at Aarhus University, Denmark

Deadline for abstracts: September 10 2016

Full DORS3 call for papers information (PDF)

April 27, 2016

Death and Digital Culture: Materiality, Gender and the Question of Religion

Speaker: Timothy Hutchings

Welcome to a lecture by Timothy Hutchings at Uppsala University on April 27 2016. Timothy holds a PhD in the sociology of religion and is postdoctoral fellow at IMS Stockholm University, in the research program Existential Terrains. The lecture is a joint venture between Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre (CRS, Centrum för forskning om religion och samhälle) at Uppsala University and DIGMEX.

Time: 15.15-17.00. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.
Venue: Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre (CRS) Uppsala University, Thunbergsvägen 3 D, (Campus Engelska parken), House 4, 2 floor, room 4-2007. If you would like to aOend please register by sending an email to info@crs.uu.se by Wednesday 20 of April.

In digitally-connected societies, we die, grieve and remember in new ways. The dying tell their stories through blogs, the bereaved find comfort in online memorials and support groups, and conversations between the living and the dead continue through social media. Boundaries between public and private communication are blurred, and standards of conduct must be renegotiated. By studying what happens before and after death, researchers can gain new insights into the structures, values and practices of digital culture.

This presentation will focus on three interconnected themes of my recent research into death online: materiality, gender and religion. Death online is a thriving subfield of media scholarship, but these three themes have received almost no academic attention to date.

We will begin by considering the materiality of digital media, engaging with current debates in the study of material religion and media studies. Death and memory are embodied, but also mediated, social and symbolic. So what would it mean to consider an online memorial or a social media page as material objects, and how can this help our research?

The study of materiality, particularly embodiment, is closely connected to gender. The material culture of death – including clothing, ritual participation, memorial imagery and the embodied expression of emotion – has traditionally been structured to reproduce social understandings of masculinity and femininity. Online grief is also intensely gendered, and we will analyse evidence for change or continuity in death culture.

Finally, we will consider the religious dimensions of digital death. Researchers have often observed that mourners talk to the dead online, deploying a range of symbols and concepts drawn from religious tradition. However, it remains unclear if these practices can be considered “religious”, or what role religious commitments play in shaping online attitudes to death. Drawing on recent theoretical work by my colleagues at the “Existential Terrains” project in Stockholm, I will explore the contribution that an existential media studies could make to current debates about “religion” and “non-religion”.

January 21, 2016

Reference group meeting Sigtunastiftelsen on January 21, 2016

The Existential Terrains programme is collaborating with and supported by experts from various organizations and sectors in society, who give feedback to the research team (more: http://et.ims.su.se/research/reference-group/). The first reference group meeting took place at Sigtunastiftelsen on January 21, 2016. See agenda here: Referensgruppsmöte 1, 2016.pdf

At the beginning of the meeting Amanda Lagerkvist introduced the research topics of the Existential Terrains programme, followed by a introduction of the reference group members to each other. Amanda Lagerkvist, Michael Westerlund and Yvonne Andersson then presented their studies on commemoration online, suicide and bereavement on the internet, and cancer blogging and the quantified self movement.

Fredrik Björck from the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, gave a lecture on Cyber Security in Times of Vulnerability ("Cybersäkerhet vid utsatthet"). He discussed the various challenges that face both organisations and people in their private capacities,when a lot of communication on sensitive matters in times of exposure, occur in an online environment where it is unclear how ’secure’ it is. The lecture revolved around how we must think in order to secure our activities in the online sphere. Find his ppt here: Cybersäkerhet vid utsatthet.pdf

Fredrik Björck. Photo: Computersweden.idg.se

Reference group meeting participants:

  • Amanda Lagerkvist, Michael Westerlund and Yvonne Andersson, SU/Existential Terrains.
  • Kjell Westerlund, chairperson of SAMS (Samarbete för människor i sorg) and VSFB (Vi som mist barn)
  • Lars Björklund, chaplain at the Sigtuna Foundation
  • Ann Svanhed-Ahlin, deacon, Church of Sweden, Nyköpings församling
  • Ulf Lernérus, CEO The Swedish Funeral Directors' Association
  • Göran Gyllenswärd, psychotherapist, Randiga Huset
  • Cecilia Melder, psychologist of religion, lecturer at Uppsala University and the School of Theology and chair of the network for existential public health
  • Gergö H. NASP, Karolinska Institutet
  • Carl von Essen, MIND – Föreningen för psykisk hälsa
  • Sara Hedrenius, The Red Cross

Especially invited guests:
Fredrik Björck, Department of Computer Science, SU Uno Fors, Head of the Department of Computer and Systems Science, SU Mari-Ann Hjulbäck, Chairperson, Nätverket VIMIL (Vi som mist någon mitt i livet)

December 9, 2015

Existential media – The digital afterlife and hyper publicity of sorrow

(c) Photo: Eva Dalin

A public lecture Amanda Lagerkvist is a part of the scientific lectures at Farsta library in Stockholm, organized in collaboration with Stockholm University and ABF Stockholm.

In this talk, associate professor at the Department of Media Studies, Amanda Lagerkvist talks about grief, integrity and openness on the Internet, and how people act in social media when someone has gone away.

When: December 9th, 2015. 18:30–20:00.
Venue: Farsta bibliotek, Stockholm.

More details: https://biblioteket.stockholm.se

October 26-28, 2015

DIGITAL EXISTENCE: Memory, Meaning, Vulnerability

A conference about what it means to be human in the digital age

In collaboration between DIGMEX and the Sigtuna Foundation/The Nordic Network for the Study of Media and Religion.

Keynote speaker: John Durham Peters
Keynote speaker: Andrew Hoskins
Keynote speaker: Johanna Sumiala

What does it mean to be a human being in the digital age? How are the basic conditions for humankind negotiated and understood in cultures of connectivity? Existential questions about meaning and purpose, who I am, and how I am presented before others, are more and more entwined with our digital lives. We inhabit a material media ecology in which technologies are enmeshed in our memories and identities, and our lives are profoundly technologized.

Digital media have become places where people share and explore existential issues in connection with loss and trauma. Our communication culture, as an existential terrain, thus offers new spaces for the exploration of existential themes and of the profundity of our lives. But the speed of the transformations of our technologized existence and the affordances as well as vulnerabilities created by those transformations also raise new existential challenges.

Digital Existence brings together scholars working in fields where a burgeoning exploration of the existential dimensions of digitalisation is visible today; media philosophy, media memory studies, death studies, internet studies, and the field of media, religion and culture. In framing digital cultures existentially, particular emphasis is placed on the keywords memory, meaning and vulnerability.

Keynote speakers:

  • John Durham Peters, University of Iowa
  • Andrew Hoskins, University of Glasgow
  • Johanna Sumiala, University of Helsinki
Read the Conference Program here. (PDF)

June 30, 2015

Almedalen 2015: Det digitala livet – e-demokrati och när det mest privata blir allas egendom

Vetenskapens roll och ansvar i samhällsdebatten är utgångspunkten för samtal om demografi, de policyprofessionella, IT-demokrati och sorg och sökande online. Vi diskuterar kring nya perspektiv på medborgarskap, politiska maktstrukturer och det digitala livet.

Mer information: http://www.su.se/almedalsveckan
Webbsändning: www.su.se/play, se den i efterhand här.

Thursday May 28-Friday 29, 2015

Workshop: “Beyond ‘42’: The meanings of life (really) and research ethics in a digital era”

Led by Charles Ess, Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo.

The workshop begins with an overview of important ethical frameworks used to address both existential concerns of human beings and the very specific questions and challenges of research ethics.  Participants will then gain collaborative and individual experience and guidance in applying these frameworks to (a) existential concerns with living lives of meaning in a digital era, and (b) the specific ethical challenges confronting their current and/or anticipated research projects.  We will focus especially on the ethical dimensions of privacy – in both individual and more relational understandings – as a primary topic in both existential directions and research ethics. Participants will thus gain better understanding of significant ethical frameworks and greater confidence in applying these to specific ethical demands and dilemmas.

Charles M. Ess is Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo. Ess has received awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship; he has also held several guest professorships in Europe and Scandinavia - most recently as Guest Professor, Philosophy Department, University of Vienna (2013-2014). Ess has published extensively in Information and Computing Ethics (e.g., Digital Media Ethics, 2nd edition, Polity Press, 2013) and in Internet Studies (e.g., with William Dutton, The Rise of Internet Studies, new media and society 15 (5), 2013). Ess emphasizes cross-cultural approaches to media, communication, and ethics, focusing especially on virtue ethics and its illuminations of being human in an (analogue-)digital age.

This workshop is a joint venture between DIGMEX and the LETStudio, Gothenburg University.

Thursday May 28, 1-5 pm. Venue: Pedagogen, B1 134 and B3 335, Gothenburg University.
Friday May 29, 9-12 am. Venue: Pedagogen, B1 113 and B1 114, Gothenburg University.

For further information, please contact Yvonne Andersson: yvonne.andersson@ims.su.se

Thursday February 26, 2015

Showing Corpses: Images of the Dead in War Reporting

Almost since its beginnings, photography has documented the impacts of war and other forms of mass violence on human bodies. In Western media today, photographs of (predominantly non-Western) corpses are commonplace, serving as testimony to civil strife and state violence. Dramatic and graphic, they are likely to catch viewers’ immediate attention, while the gravity of death as a subject makes them vehicles for professional recognition among photojournalists (Zarzycka, 2013). Images of corpses are encountered frequently enough, in fact, that they can be considered to constitute a photographic trope.

Examining several graphic images of dead civilian victims of the on-going conflicts, my talk explores how this trope fits the organizational codes and furthers the objectives of media corporations and humanitarian initiatives (Chouliaraki, 2012). Referring to feminist work on emotions such as empathy, pity, repulsion, scopophilia, or horror (Ahmed, 2004; Berlant, 2008; Cavarerro; 2009; Cvetkovich, 2012), I address how communities of spectators – communities sharing feelings, ideals, nationality, religion – are formed or disrupted when confronted with the blatant visual proof of death in war imagery. At the same time, I also follow how this trope has become a negotiable, serviceable, and politicized convention, exploited for the purposes of global capitalism and nationalist propaganda.

Dr Marta Zarzycka is an Assistant Professor at the Gender Studies Department at the Institute of Media and Culture, Utrecht University. She teaches and publishes in the field of visual studies and feminist theory. She has received numerous international fellowships, among others at The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona; The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas; The Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, and The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, Florida. In addition to book chapters, articles, and reviews, Marta Zarzycka is a co-editor and an essayist for Carnal Aesthetics: Transgressive Imagery and Feminist Politics (I.B. Tauris, 2012). Her current book-length project, entitled Gendered Tropes in War Photography: Mothers, Mourners, Soldiers is forthcoming from Routledge and is supported by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. She is an editor for the photography journal Depth of Field.

Discussant: Malin Wahlberg (IMS)

Thursday February 26, 1pm-3pm. Venue: Sal 1.

This public lecture is a joint venture between the Higher Seminar at JMK/IMS and DIGMEX.

Tuesday October 7, 2014

Introductory DIGMEX-seminar

Tuesday October 7, 2014 13-17pm. Venue: Sal 1.

13-14: Welcome and introduction by Amanda Lagerkvist
14-14.30: Coffee
14.30-16.15: Open lecture by Mia Lövheim, Professor of the Sociology of Religion, Uppsala University: “Digital Media, Religion and Existence: Reflections on Previous Research and New Challenges”. Discussion.
16.15-16.30: Break
16.30-17: Network plans and future seminars
17: Reception in the Dept.

More about the seminar:

Lecture by professor Mia Lövheim

Digital media, religion and existence: reflections on past research and new challenges.

Speaker: Mia Lövheim

When research about religion and digital media was initiated in the late 1990s, the field was dominated by questions about how religious beliefs, identities and communities would change in the “virtual world”. As digital media has become an integral part of all kinds of social interaction, questions about identity, the relation between public and private spheres and existential issues in a broader sense have become more significant.

Mia Lövheim’s lecture will be based on her previous research on religion and digital media and will discuss what issues and ethical questions these new themes bring for further research in research about digital media, identity, culture and religion.

Mia Lövheim is Professor of Sociology of Religion at the Department of Theology, University of Uppsala. Her research areas include media as an arena for religious transformations, gender and religion, religion and politics, as well as youth and religion. Her recent research has focused on gender, identity and existential issues in popular girl blogs, on mediatization theory and religion, and on the representation of religion in editorials in Swedish newspapers. She has recently published the anthology Media, Religion and Gender: Key Issues and New Challenges (Routledge, 2013) and together with Stig Hjarvard Mediatization and Religion: Nordic Perspectives (Nordicom, 2012). Lövheim’s research has also been published in Nordicom Review; Information, Communication and Society; Feminist Media Studies; Culture and Religion, Nordic Journal of Society and Religion, and in the anthologies Digital Religion: Understanding Religious Practice in New Media Worlds (Routledge 2013, red. Campbell) and Religion across Media: From Early Antiquity to Late Modernity (Peter Lang 2013, red. Lundby).

Conferences

”DIGITAL EXISTENCE: MEMORY, MEANING, VULNERABILITY” October 2015.

CFP can be found here

Funding

  • Stockholm university
  • Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse
  • Wallenberg Academy Fellows
  • Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond

EXISTENTIAL TERRAINS is a research programme funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (2014-2018) and by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation (2015-2017) headed by Amanda Lagerkvist, PhD., Associate Professor and Wallenberg Academy Fellow at the Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University.