International Conference on Communication and the Public: Social Media and Public Engagement

June 13-14, 2015, Zhejiang University

Conference Announcement, Call for Papers

We are in an age of proverbial transformations in media and communication technologies. How these transformations may have changed the meaning of publics such as readers, audience, listeners, and viewers and how people use new media to confront new issues as citizens, consumers, community members, and volunteers are questions at the cutting edge of multiple academic disciplines, from communication, sociology, and anthropology to cultural studies and visual studies. Analyzing changes in the meaning and constitution of publics and public engagement is essential for understanding the impact of new communication technologies on social integration and the construction of public culture and communities.

To address these important questions, the College of Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University, in collaboration with the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, will host the 2015 international conference on “Communication and the Public: Social Media and Public Engagement.” The goal of the conference is to convene scholars in China and abroad for in-depth discussions of issues related to the theme of the conference. Special attention will be given to the exploration of theoretical and methodological issues in the study of media, communication, and the public. Another goal of this conference is to solicit papers for the new SAGE academic journal Communication and the Public, jointly produced by SAGE and the College of Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University. The inaugural issue of the journal, slated for publication in the first quarter of 2016, will feature a special issue on Social Media and Public Engagement.

Keynote speakers:

Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania

Marwan Kraidy, University of Pennsylvania

Zhongdang Pan, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Dhavan Shah, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Michael Xenos, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania

Host organizations at Zhejiang University

College of Media and International Culture

Institute of Digital Future and Mediated Society

Institute of Journalism, Media, and Social Development


Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Wisconsin China Initiative, University of Wisconsin-Madison


The theme of this conference is Social Media and Public Engagement. Topics may include but are not limited to the following:

1.         Conceptual issues in the analysis of the public

2.         New methods and theories in the study of social media and public participation

3.         New media technologies and the formation and fragmentation of new publics or communities

4.         New media, urban development, and public participation

5.         New media and rural development

6.         Social media and public participation in East-West cross-cultural comparative perspectives

7.         New media, publics, and imagined communities

8.         Historical trajectories of media and public participation

Registration and other expenses

There is no registration fee, but participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation.

How to submit papers

Please submit papers to by May 25, 2015. Please use the following format in the subject line of your email and the file name: 2015 Conference on Communication and the Public – institution – name.

Submissions must not have been published elsewhere and may be in English or Chinese. The body of the text should not exceed 15,000 characters in Chinese or 9,000 words in English. Submissions will be peer reviewed. Acceptance notices will be sent out by May 31, 2015.

Outstanding papers may be selected for publication in the new SAGE journal Communication and the Public, but will still be subjected to peer review. Chinese papers selected for publication must be translated into English to be eligible for review.

Manuscript Style

Manuscripts should include a title, a 200-word abstract, key words, main text, and references. To facilitate anonymous peer review, the main text should not contain any information that may identify the author (s). Please use the APA reference style.