Call for Papers: Doing Surveillance Studies

Doing Surveillance Studies: Critical Approaches to Methods and Pedagogy

The Donald Gordon Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
May 30th – June 1st, 2013

500 word abstracts are due by December 1st, 2012 January 1, 2013
Presented by
The New Transparency, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Major Collaborative Research Initiative

As the study of surveillance expands and a growing number of voices take up calls in the field for more research, greater public awareness, and deeper understandings of surveillance, surveillance scholars are met with the complex and critical question of how effective surveillance studies can be done. This workshop draws on the best surveillance scholarship available to reflect on how surveillance studies is currently being done and take up the question of what is important in moving forward. As such, this workshop will focus on how surveillance research meets methods and pedagogy within surveillance studies. In short, what can we learn, what do we know, what can we teach, and what methods are we drawing on, in doing surveillance studies?
Although the field draws in new researchers and students every year, for the most part, the gaze of research and the core of public awareness remains fixed on western frames and stereotypical, or even fictionalized, surveillance technologies and theoretical models. In light of this, special attention at this workshop will be given to doing surveillance studies as it relates to the global south, relationships of surveillance and gender, the importance of teaching, and how to pass on the insights which have already been developed.

Presenters will be expected to contribute on how surveillance studies is being done as well as what they feel is important in doing surveillance studies. While special attention will be given to the following three themes, the work presented at this workshop will not be limited to only these areas.

  • Surveillance and the Global South

Particularly since 9/11, much focus is given in surveillance studies to Europe and North America. Against this backdrop, what tools does surveillance studies offer (and how can these tools be used?) for examining societies in the Global South? Are there aspects of such societies that should be highlighted by scholars of surveillance studies in ways that do not necessarily have historical or contemporary connections to typical concerns in the Global North such as privacy and terrorism?

  • Gender and Surveillance

This panel seeks to deepen our awareness of surveillance as a gendered gaze. Surveillance studies has devoted considerable attention to researching the institutionalizing power of the gaze as a technique for mediating the politics of identity. This panel therefore considers how institutions of gender and visibility intersect within identity politics by addressing the methodological complexities of researching the gendered gaze of surveillance, paying close attention to institutional roles, power dynamics, identity management, and
political economies of the gendered gaze.

  • Pedagogical approaches to Surveillance Studies

Pedagogical approaches to surveillance studies emphasize an understanding of the common epistemological constructs, theoretical frameworks, and pedagogical needs necessary for developing a reflexive gaze to surveillance. Important questions include: how can we think about teaching surveillance? How can we develop a critical foundation for understanding the role of surveillance in society? What are the unique strengths surveillance studies can offer?

This two-day workshop seeks to both address such issues by focusing on the theory, method and process of doing surveillance studies, as well as provide a platform for a discussion of the potential gaps and areas requiring further attention, such as marginalized voices and epistemologies.

The workshop runs from May 30th to June 1st, 2013. We hope to publish selected papers from the workshop in a special issue of Surveillance & Society.

The workshop will take place at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre (421 Union St, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 3N6). Further details will be provided when
abstracts have been accepted.
Although there are no registration fees, all attendees must pre-register. Space is limited. Some funds may be made available through The New Transparency project for participants who otherwise cannot obtain support for economy travel and accommodation through their universities or other employers. Priority will be given to paper presenters. Please note that if your paper is co-authored, only one author will be eligible for New Transparency funds. Details on how to apply for NewT funding will be provided at the registration stage.

We request that you express your interest in attending the workshop as soon as possible. Expressions of interest should be sent to: surv2013 at

If you wish to attend but do not wish to deliver a paper, please register by April 30th, 2013.

If you wish to present a paper, please submit your 500 word abstract by January 1st, 2013.
Successful applicants will be notified by e-mail no later than January 15th, 2013. When submitting your abstract please include the following information so that we can contact you. This information will not be shared with any third parties and will only be used to administer
the workshop. Please include: name, country of residence, institutional affiliation, institutional address, telephone number, and email address.


  • December 1st, 2012 January 1, 2013 Deadline for receipt of abstracts
  • April 30th, Deadline for Registration
  • May 1st, 2013 Deadline for receipt of full papers

Please register your interest NOW at surv2013 at

Many thanks,
Sachil Singh (Queen's University)
Harrison Smith (University of Toronto)
Scott Thompson (University of Alberta)