Selfies, Self-Portraits, and Social Media April 14-16, 2016

I am honored to announce that I will be speaking at the The 2016 Kern conference


The 2016 Kern conference will be focused on the spectacle of the “selfie.” Key issues that drive this inquiry include: 1) intense interest in social media, co-creation, and participatory consumer culture, 2) a desire to historically contextualize the selfie within art history, identity theory, and photography, 3) positioning the selfie as a distinctive self-performative act, and 4) conceptual and methodological foundations for studying the selfie as a visual communication phenomenon. Goals include exploring current developments, research methods and interdisciplinary research into how social media, self-portraiture and the selfie interact. One particular theme is to develop a series of historical and contemporary examples to trace a visual genealogy of the selfie, following interpretive and historical work in consumer culture theory, photography, and visual culture.

Within strategic communication, the selfie has been deployed to promote brands as authentic, to invoke the “average consumer” as a credible product endorser, and to show how brands might fit in with regular consumer’s lifestyles. Many questions remain. How do consumers use selfies to construct and present themselves in social media? When do certain selfies go viral? What methods are useful to study selfies? How do issues of privacy, security, and surveillance inform the use of the selfie?                          

Following in the tradition of Kern conferences, we plan a rich program of interdisciplinary scholarship and conversation. A special journal issue is planned for selected papers from the conference.

Invited speakers include:

  • Douglas Allen, Department of Markets, Innovation & Design, Bucknell University

  • Melissa Gregg, Intel Experiences Group, Intel Corporation

  • Lee Humphreys, Department of Communication, Cornell University

  • Mehita Iqani, Department of Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

  • Richard Kedzior, Department of Markets, Innovation & Design, Bucknell University

  • Joonas Rokka, Department of Marketing, EM LYON Business School, France

  • Catherine Zuromskis, School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, RIT