Essential Scholarship on Technology and Marginalization: A Discussion

Scholars of all kinds are invited to submit a position abstract for an ICA 2019 postconference discussion on technology and marginalization.

WHERE: All Souls Unitarian Church [Google Map] - this is about 15 minutes on a bus from the main conference hotel; 33 minutes on the metro to Washington National (Reagan) airport, 1.5 hours on public transport to Washington Dulles airport, and 1.5 hours on public transport to BWI (Baltimore airport).

WHEN: Wednesday, May 29, in the morning, exact times TBD (most likely 8:30am-11:30am)

WHAT: Discussion of theorizing around marginality and technology/social media, with a goal to build a reading list and create networking opportunities for scholars working on similar topics.


Interested participants should complete the form below before February 1, 2019. In the case of limited space, participants will receive confirmation and, if applicable, their registration fee waiver, in early March 2019. Participants will need to register on the ICA site and pay a $50 registration fee to cover costs (unless they have recieved a waiver). We ask that participants RSVP by April 1 in order to have an accurate participant count.

Sage Publications has generously sponsored this postconference, allowing us to waive the registration fee for students, residents of Tier B and C countries, as well as anyone else lacking resources to attend.

ORGANIZERS: Amy Gonzales, Carmen Gonzalez, Brooke Foucault Welles, and Katy Pearce

Description: From studies of marginalized groups, to algorithmic bias exacerbating marginalization, to the ethics of observing marginalized people online, a growing body of scholarship focuses on issues of marginalization and social media. Yet, we lack a common set of literature from which to draw definitions, theories, and frameworks to guide research on social media and marginalization. This postconference asks scholars to consider the following questions: What inspires your research on social media and marginalization? What do you think is essential reading for scholars in this area? Is the work within the field or outside of the field? How do these ideas inform the practices of academia or your life? To build a cannon of extant research in this area, we invite interested scholars to present on a theory or piece of scholarship, from any discipline including communication, that is essential to their work on social media and marginalization. Participants will give short presentations on a theory/text that inspires them, elaborate briefly on its strengths and weaknesses, and explain why those interested in social media and marginalization would benefit from exposure to the piece. We will also discuss actionable everyday activities that can be gleaned from this scholarship.

Objective: We will create a reading list of essential scholarship on social media/technology and marginalization. The reading list will be shared with participants, and made freely available online following the postconference. We will also explore the option of publishing a reader using the list and short response pieces from the participants involved in the postconference.


  • I'm not an ICA member? Can I still apply?
    • Yes, although we expect that many of our conference participants will also attend the main conference, it is not a requirement.
  • I need a visa invitation, can you help me with this?
    • If you are participating in the main conference, your visa invitation letter should be in your inbox in the paper submission site. Otherwise, email
  • How should I register for the conference?
    • After notification of participation in early March, you must register through the ICA website (link is for 2018, will be updated soon). Waiver recipient will receive a code to waive the registration fee, but they must still register on the ICA website.
  • Wow, the main conference is expensive! Is there any assistance?
    • Yes, there are conference-wide and division-specific grants and awards. Monitor the ICA website as well as divisional email list servs and social media pages for more information.
  • Where should I stay?
    • The official conference hotel booking system opens on March 4. No one is required to stay at the conference hotel though and there are many other hotels and AirBnB type options around the city. If you are looking for someone to share a room with, please contact the organizers and we will try to facilitate this.
  • Will there be food?
    • Yes, we will have light snacks and coffee available.
  • What's the scoop with accessibility?
    • If you have accessibility needs and you feel comfortable in doing so, please contact the organizers so that we may facilitate your participation. More notice is always better, of course. Because we are small and renting, it is unlikely that the space will go beyond basic ADA-required physical accessibility norms, although you can see some of the details here. We will encourage speakers to think about accessibility in their presentations and can look into audio equipment if necessary.
  • Will there be childcare?
    • While there is childcare at the main conference (and in the past, it has been donation-based, and we will update this space once we receive confirmation from ICA that this is the case in 2019 as well), it is unlikely that it will be available on Wednesday for postconferences. We absolutely understand that childcare is an issue. But we are a bit small to offer anything formally. However, if you have a childcare need, please contact the organizers and we will try to facilitate something - perhaps sharing a provider with others, etc. Alternatively, we are open to the presence of children if need be, especially babes-in-arms or older children that can reasonably be kept amused with the help of a screen or a device ;) If you need to bring a child, please let the organizers know so that we can better support you.
  • I have another postconference to attend in the afternoon. Is this going to be possible?
    • We hope so! Please let us know and we can try to help people attending the same afternoon postconferences work together to get to where they need to be.
  • Will I have to give a formal presentation?
    • Yes, at the postconference itself, participants will give short presentations on a theory/text that inspires them, elaborate briefly on its strengths and weaknesses, and explain why those interested in social media and marginalization would benefit from exposure the piece.
  • Why are you holding this at a church?
    • All Souls is a Unitarian Universalist Church. Unitarian Universalism is a welcoming, justice-oriented religion that draws from many different faith traditions and is committed to supporting people of all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, races, cultural and religious backgrounds. You can learn more about Unitarian Universalism here. We hope that all participants will feel comfortable in this space.
  • I'm not sure what to write for the prompt. Any ideas?

In an idealized civil society, democratic access to the production and distribution of public forms of communication would be granted to all people. Yet, in Rethinking the Public Sphere, Fraser argues that this ideal has never been realized. Access to public discourse, and in turn politics itself, has always been severely limited for those with less power and privilege. Instead, marginalized people, including women, people of color, and/or poor people, among others, form counterpublics that center their experiences and attempt to infiltrate and influence mainstream public debates. In our book, #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice (Jackson, Bailey, Foucault Welles, forthcoming) we extend counterpublic sphere theory to include networked counterpublics, or groups of marginalized people who come together online to organize and advocate for social change, often under the organizing marker of the hashtag. From #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo, we show how ordinary Americans from marginalized groups, including African Americans, women, transgender people and others aligned with racial justice and feminist causes have have used social media to make identity-based cultural and political demands. Harnessing the power of networked communication, these groups have successfully captured mainstream attention and forever changed national conversations about race, gender, and sexuality in the U.S.