Category: conference

Affect & Social Media#4: Notifications from the Technological Nonconscious: Registration now open

Please note that registration for Affect & Social Media#4: Notifications from the Technological Nonconscious is now open.
The conference will take place at UEL’s USS building in Stratford, east London on Weds November 7th, 2018.
More information about this free conference, including latest programme, keynote sessions, Affect and Social Media book launch, Sensorium and required online registration can be found by following this link:


Affect & Social Media#4 conference– final call for presentations

Affect & Social Media#4 conference– final call for presentations

Please note the final call for 15min presentations for the Affect & Social Media#4 conference.

Final submission deadline is 15th Sept 2018. Full details of the cfp and submission info here:

Illustration by Francesco Tacchini, 2015

Conference date: Wednesday, November 7th 2018

Venue: University Square Stratford Building, East London, UK

Free registration: Opens soon

Our keynote this year is by Patricia Ticineto Clough: The User Unconscious: Embodiment and Thought

There will be a response from Gregory J. Seigworth (Millersville) followed by a special keynote panel discussion with Jessica Ringrose (UCL), Amit Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Darren Ellis and Ian Tucker (East London).

The conference will be followed by a book launch for the newly published Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2018).


Best wishes all,


Media Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and the Future of the Humanities

Taking The Assemblage Brain to China!
International Summit Conference: Media Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and the Future of the Humanities
Place: Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
Time: Oct. 27 to 28, 2018
Since 2013, Beijing Normal University hosts an international conference addressing a theme central to humanistic inquiry.  Interdisciplinary in scope, method, and perspective, the conference seeks to provide a forum for exchanging ideas in the Humanities that will be of significance and interest to academic communities in both China and beyond.  Toward that end in keeping with its established practice, this year’s conference brings together sixteen scholars whose work, ranging from media studies, philosophy, cognitive science, and literary and critical theories, promises to help expand the tradition this conference has established.  The possible topics to be explored include: media, technologies and epistemics, media and philosophers, neuroscience, humanism, non-humanism, and anti-humanism, elements and environment, politics of remediation, and others.
Briankle G. Chang, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Mary Ann Doane, University of California, Berkeley
Weigui Fang, Beijing Normal University
David Gunkel, Northern Illinois University
Orit Halpern, Concordia University
Yi Jiang, Beijing Normal University
Myungkoo Kang, Seoul National University
Sybille Krämer, Free University of Berlin
Chao Liu, Beijing Normal University
Yuejia Luo, Shenzhen University
Tony D Sampson, University of East London
Peter Szendy, Brown University
Christian Vagt, University of California, Santa Barbara
Joseph Vogl, Humboldt University of Berlin
Yingjin Xu, Fudan University
Shunya Yoshimi, University of Tokyo
Siegfried Zielinski, Berlin University of the Arts


A&SM#4 News: 2nd call and Gregory J. Seigworth

A&SM#4 News

A&SM#4: Second call for presentations announced (deadline Sept 15th – full details here) and Professor Gregory J. Seigworth added to the conference programme as respondent to our special keynote speaker, Patricia Ticineto Clough.

The organisers of A&SM#4 (7th Nov, 2018 at UEL in Stratford east London) are extremely excited to announce that Gregory J. Seigworth has been confirmed as the respondent to our keynote speaker Patricia Ticineto Clough. Greg’s contribution to affect studies is internationally renowned. Notably he is the co-editor (with Melissa Gregg) of the key text, The Affect Theory Reader (Duke University Press, 2010) and more recently the host of the wonderful (and huge) 2015 and 2018 affect studies conferences in Lancaster PA. Greg is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Capacious Journal and wrote the foreword to the Affect and Social Media book published in July this year. Greg joins Patricia alongside our already confirmed and distinguished keynote panel, including Jessica Ringrose (UCL), Amit Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Darren Ellis and Ian Tucker (East London).


Affects, Interfaces, Events Programme

After all the excitement of the wonderful Capacious Conference in Lancaster PA earlier this month I’m now preparing to head off for AIE in Aarhus next week. Here’s the blurb…

“The proliferation of digital and interactive technologies in most aspects of our daily lives produces an intensified distribution of affect. Existential conditions change through affective interface foldings of bodies, subjectivities and technologies. The conference Affects, Interfaces, Events investigates how affective interface events – on a micro- and macro-level – reinforce or challenge these changes. A major concern of the conference is to consider interface modulations on an affective, social, aesthetic, and political level.”

The preliminary programme looks amazing. Here’s a link to the PDF.

Preliminary Programme version 1

Affect and Social Media book published today!

Affect and Social Media book published today!

Very pleased to say that our new A&SM book is published today. See the reviews and contents below…

Don’t forget to take part in our A&SM#4 conference and book launch in Nov (information and cfp here)

The book will also be available at the wonderful Capacious conference in August in Lancaster PA.


Affect and Social Media

Emotion, Mediation, Anxiety and Contagion

Edited by Tony Sampson, Stephen Maddison, and Darren Ellis

Part of the series Radical Cultural Studies

Publication Date: Jul 2018 (today!)


Social media play an outsized role in our emotional lives. They continually modulate our moods and feelings. They transmit vague sensations that run through us like an infection or contagion. In order to take the measure of social media today, the essays in this volume combine empirical research with far-ranging speculation, offering us analyses that are at once surprising and disturbingly familiar.
Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University
Sampson, Ellis and Maddison’s collection is crucial to any understanding of contemporary digital culture. Bringing together many directions of affect theory, theorising across a radical plurality of sites, they skilfully hold on to a vital coherence through critical affect studies inspired by feminist and queer theory and by core contributors in the field (e.g. Clough, Gregg, Seigworth, Paasonen).
Kate O’Riordan, Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Sussex
This is a thought-provoking, occasionally scary, and thoroughly fascinating exploration into the complex networked intensities within which we operate. Spanning from pedagogy to pornography, and beyond, it comes with an international focus and a profoundly interdisciplinary analytical range that make it recommended reading for all interested in understanding the key role that social media plays is contemporary culture.​
Susanna Paasonen, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Turku


Foreword by Gregory J. Seigworth xi

Introduction: On Affect, Social Media and Criticality by Tony D. Sampson, Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison 1

Part I: Digital Emotion

Introduction to Part I by Helen Powell 13

1 Social Media, Emoticons and Process by Darren Ellis 18

2 Anticipating Affect: Trigger Warnings in a Mental Health Social Media Site by Lewis Goodings 26

3 Digitally Mediated Emotion: Simondon, Affectivity and Individuation by Ian Tucker 35

4 Visceral Data by Luke Stark 42

5 Psychophysiological Measures Associated with Affective States while Using Social Media by Maurizio Mauri 52

Part II: Mediated Connectivities, Immediacies & Intensities

Introduction to Part II by Jussi Parikka 65

6 Social Media and the Materialisation of the Affective Present by Rebecca Coleman 67

7 The Education of Feeling: Wearable Technology and Triggering Pedagogies by Alyssa D. Niccolini 76

8 Mediated Affect and Feminist Solidarity: Teens Using Twitter to Challenge “Rape Culture” in and Around School by Jessica Ringrose and Kaitlynn Mendes 85

Part III: Insecurity and Anxiety

Introduction to Part III by Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison 99

9 Wupocalypse Now: Supertrolls and Other Risk Anxieties in Social Media Interactions by Greg Singh 101

10 Becoming User in Popular Culture by Zara Dinnen 113

11 YouTubeanxiety: Affect and Anxiety performance in UK Beauty vlogging by Sophie Bishop 122

12 Chemsex: Anatomy of a Sex Panic by Jamie Hakim 131

13 Designing Life? Affect and Gay Porn by Stephen Maddison 141

Part IV: Contagion: Image, Work, Politics and Control

Introduction to Part IV by Tony D. Sampson 153

14 The Mask of Ebola: Fear, Contagion, and Immunity by Yig ˘it Soncul 157

15 The Newsroom is No Longer a Safe Zone: Assessing the Affective Impact of Graphic User-generated Images on Journalists Working with Social Media by Stephen Jukes 168

16 Emotions, Social Media Communication and TV Debates by Morgane Kimmich 178

17 The Failed Utopias of Walden and Walden Two by Robert Wright 188

Index 199

About the Contributors 203

Affect and Social Media#4 cfp deadline 15th Sept 2018


Happy to say that we’ve already received a few very good looking submissions for the A&SM#4: Notifications from Technological Nonconscious conference.

There’s a full cfp (deadline 15th Sept) plus updated information on the conference on this page of the Virality blog:

A&SM#4 will be held at East London’s USS building in Stratford on Nov 7th 2018.

Our confirmed keynote speaker is Patricia Ticineto Clough followed by a keynote panel including Jessica Ringrose (UCL), Amit Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Darren Ellis and Ian Tucker (East London).

I’m really looking forward to putting together the programme for this one!


Image by Francesco Tacchini

Keynote panel confirmed for A&SM#4

I’m very pleased to announce the confirmed keynote panel for A&SM#4: Notifications from the Technological Nonconscious (University Square Stratford Building, East London, UK, Wednesday, November 7th 2018).
Joining our keynote, Patricia Ticineto Clough, will be Jessica Ringrose (UCL), Amit Rai (Queen Mary), Rebecca Coleman (Goldsmiths), Darren Ellis and Ian Tucker (East London).
For details on cfp and updates see Conference Information Page:

Call for Papers for A&SM#4: Notifications from the Technological Nonconscious

Affect & Social Media#4: Notifications from the Technological Nonconscious

Conference date: Wednesday, November 7th 2018

Venue: University Square Stratford Building, East London, UK

Keynote: Patricia Ticineto Clough

Keynote Panel (tbc)

Conference Information Page:


To mark the publication of the first Affect and Social Media book (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) we are very pleased to announce a cfp for a special A&SM#4 one day (free registration) conference.

We welcome 250 word abstracts for 15min presentations from scholars working across disciplinary borders, theories, concepts and methodologies (arts & humanities, social sciences, psychology, computer and data science etc.).

We especially welcome contributions from postgraduate students and early career researchers.

Abstracts should ideally respond creatively (and flexibly) to one of the six conference themes set out below.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Sept 15th 2018.

Send a 250 word abstract as an email (no attachments) including full name, affiliation and email contact address to

Accepted abstracts will help to frame a series of subsequent discussion points/questions that will be addressed by our keynote panel (to be announced shortly).

Conference Themes

  1. Unthinking

The exponential rise of social media in the early twenty first century has drawn much critical attention in the humanities to a seemingly paradoxical human-computer relation. On one hand, human thought is both contemporaneous with, and frequently outperformed by, the uber-cognitions of corporate computational media technology. There is, indeed, much concern expressed about the possible absence of human consciousness from the computational world it created (Hayles, 2017; Hansen, 2015). On the other hand though, it would seem that the thoughts, feelings, behaviours and experiences of social media users, far from disappearing, are, often by design, captured and nudged from here to there by an expanding yet mostly imperceptible technological nonconscious (Clough, 2000, Thrift, 2007, Grusin, 2010). What, if anything, is disappearing in the human-computer relation?

  1. Addicting    

Computational media can no longer simply be defined through the operations of narrowly defined cognitive machines implicated in clandestine data harvesting and the manipulation of individual users through e.g. psychographic profiling. Social media is a “social” machine of capture that works on relations and shared felt experiences (Sampson, Maddison and Ellis, 2018), triggering habitual tendencies (Chun, 2016) that seem to produce mass media addictions (Bartlett and Bowden-Jones, 2017). As a major component part of the propagation of the technological nonconscious, social media is less defined today by the familiar ease of connection discourses of Web 2.0 than it is by the difficulty of disconnection (Karppi, 2018). Like other media of addiction (drugs, gambling, sex), social media hooks users in the event of the habit refrain, triggering subsequent emotional anxieties and contagions. Is social media addiction a problem of personal compulsion or collective masochism?

  1. Feeling 

Computational social media is a feeling machine. It feels, or prehends, the event (Ellis, 2018). But this does not mean that it has feelings, in the sense in which humans feel. There are limitations imposed on the potential of affective computing to actually feel (Shaviro, 2015). Social media is constrained to the mere reading of sentiment data, and like an actor, it can feign expressions of human emotion, but cannot feel them. However, the operational level of computational media can learn, algorithmically, from emotional experiences. It can pass on, or transmit, feelings. It can plant a behavioural hook in the user experience. Social media has an affective tone or atmosphere through which the human-computer relation strives. Feeling the event is a different matter.

  1. Sleeping

Always on social media never sleeps! “Prolonged awakening, work without the limit of time, excessive light, surplus information… links… attentional capture is the new Atopia” (Neyrat, 2017). But the users of social media are often positioned as vulnerable, sleepwalking user-subjects: the user unconscious (Clough, 2018), the network somnambulist (Sampson, 2012, 2016). Like Crary’s (1999) earlier rendition of attentive analogue media subjects, the users of social media are simultaneously attentive and inattentive, and attracted and distracted by the fascinations of notifications, posts, tweets, likes, shares… This technological nonconscious, or Unthought (Hayles, 2017) human-computer relation is not unconscious, as conventionally understood.

  1. Dreaming

In The User Unconscious: On Affect. Media, and Measure (2018), Patricia Ticineto Clough argues that computational media networks have fundamentally affected what it means to be human. “We are both human and other-than-human.” This luminous text explains what it means to live, think, and dream from this “other-than-human perspective.” Here Clough moves to answer questions concerning the extent to which human lives are now animated in the multiple layers of these vast computational networks and how these layers radically transform our sense of self, subjectivity, sociality, and unconscious processes. How can we probe what it means to live, think, and dream through this newly animated technological nonconscious?

  1. Trumping

Who is to blame for Trump? Trump on Twitter may seem like the unpredictable personal opinions of a racist, sexist, xenophobe that infects a population, but the technological nonconscious, or thing-self of the user unconscious, as Clough points out, “transgress[es] the separation of the personal and the networked.” It is the “affective tone” of social media itself that made Trump possible! Social media has given expressive support to a kind of microfascist populism or “population racism” that is currently spreading everywhere. What will it take to out trump the collective impulse that is Trump?

Top illustration by Francesco Tacchini, 2015