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ICA President's December Column: Celebrating and Looking Forward

  • 1.  ICA President's December Column: Celebrating and Looking Forward

    Posted 12-04-2023 17:28
    Posted By Eun-Ju Lee, ICA President, (Seoul National U)

    What comes to your mind when you think of the ICA? To me, the two most salient things are the conferences and the journals. I'm delighted to share some exciting news on both fronts as we begin to wrap up this year. 

    On October 16-18, the ICA in Africa Regional Conference with the theme "De-centering International Communication Studies: African Perspectives" took place in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, South Africa. The conference was initially planned for 2020 but was postponed several times during the long COVID-19 pandemic. It was incredibly encouraging to witness that more than 150 participants from 19 countries gathered for this long-awaited event, engaging in meaningful dialogue, sharing their insights, and forging connections with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. As Dr. Herman Wasserman, the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, noted, the conference represents our continued efforts "to complicate, disrupt and shape dominant theoretical narratives, which are so often based on perspectives and experiences from the Global North." 

    Preceded by the Knowledge Exchange Pre-Conference, where emerging scholars and mentors came together to exchange ideas and seek opportunities for future collaboration, the three-day conference was packed with an impressive array of exciting and pressing topics – from decolonizing media, media research and media education, to fighting mis/disinformation and hate speech, to revisiting journalism practices and norms, to regulating digital platforms and understanding cyberactivism. With the establishment of two ICA Regional Chapters in Nigeria and Kenya, we believe that ICA is well-positioned for deeper engagement with communication scholars in Africa throughout the year. It is on its way to transitioning "from a U.S.-based organization that happened to have international members to a truly international organization that happened to be based in the U.S," as noted on the ICA website. I'm immensely grateful to the members of the Local Organizing Committee and the staff who worked tirelessly to make this conference a reality.   

    Another exciting piece of news pertains to the upcoming special issue of Human Communication Research (HCR):"Rethinking and Expanding Communication Theories on HCR's 50th Anniversary." As a flagship journal in our discipline, HCR has served as "an important outlet for projects that develop, advance, and critique communication theory using social science methods (broadly defined)," as characterized by the Guest Editors, Drs. Mary Beth Oliver, Tamara Afifi, and Homero Gil de Zuñiga. In celebration of its 50 years of unparalleled legacy, the Guest Editors have curated a truly special issue that invites us to envision how we, as a discipline, may move forward – by revisiting classical models, exploring new concepts, and developing innovative ways of explaining various communication phenomena in the context of rapid and profound political, cultural, and technological transformations (For a preview of featured articles, click here). 

    While serving in various ICA-related roles, I've had the privilege of meeting and working with countless individuals who are not only brilliant scholars but also genuinely dedicated to community building. It is the collective efforts of these talented individuals that have shaped what ICA is today. In this season of thanksgiving, allow me to express my gratitude once again to all of you for your continued support of ICA. Happy Holidays! 

    Tom Mankowski
    Washington DC
    United States