September 26, 2008

Media research center’s speaker series opens Oct. 1

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Global Media Research Center will begin its fall 2008 speaker series next week, again bringing a wide array of topics to campus.

Jane Ferguson, a lecturer in Mainland Southeast Asia at the Faculty of Asian Studies at the Australian National University, is the first of six speakers this fall. Her lecture, “Rock Your Religion: Shan merit-making ritual and stage-show revelry at the Thai-Burma border,” is at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Communications Building, room 1032.

John Downing, a professor in radio-television and Global Media Research Center director, said Ferguson “will bring a fresh perspective to Burma's deeply troubled situation, analyzing use of ritual and theatre to critique the regime by Shan activists,” one of Burma’s multi-ethnic opposition movements.

The Shan “constitute one of the largest stateless ethnic nationality groups in mainland Southeast Asia, and their increased participation in popular culture production and consumption demands further analysis,” according to the research center.

All but two of the lectures and discussion series begin at 4:30 p.m. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Established in 2004, the Global Media Research Center’s mission includes assembling a core group of faculty, graduate and undergraduate students to research global media issues, establish national and international partnerships to promote research and play host to visiting scholars and artists as it seeks to develop new courses addressing global media issues.

Downing is pleased with this fall’s speaker series, as GMRC also prepares to host a major five-year anniversary colloquium in March. The center is within the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

“We have three speakers on the key issues of how time, space and place operate in today’s global mediascape,” Downing said. “New Zealand research professor Wayne Hope will address theories of time; Saluki PhD candidate Joseph Khalil will discuss Dubai, Beirut and Cairo as Arab region ‘media cities’; and University of Wisconsin Madison research professor Michael Curtin will review the spatial dynamics of global media production.”

In addition, two speakers will address media policy matters, Downing said. Cinzia Padovani, an assistant professor in SIUC’s Department of Radio-Television, will review the current politics of Italy’s digital TV transition, and visiting Fellow professor Werner Maier will explore participatory options for media governance, based on Swiss projects, Downing said.

The Global Media Research Center’s Web site is

The fall 2008 GMRC speaker series is:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 1 -- 1:30 p.m., Communications Building, room 1032. Jane Ferguson, lecturer in Mainland Southeast Asia at the Faculty of Asian Studies at the Australian National University, “Rock Your Religion: Shan merit-making ritual and stage-show revelry at the Thai-Burma border.”
  • Thursday, Oct. 2 -- 4:30 p.m., Communications Building, room 1052. Wayne Hope, associate professor of communication studies, Auckland University of Technology, “Global Capitalism, Temporality and the Political Economy of Communication.”
  • Thursday, Oct. 16 -- 4:30 p.m., Communications Building, room 1032. Joseph F. Khalil, doctoral candidate, SIUC Mass Communication and Media Arts, “Media Cities: The concept and the practice. The case of Beirut, Cairo, and Dubai.”
  • Monday, Oct. 27 -- 4:30 p.m. Communications Building, room 1032. Michael Curtin, professor of media and cultural studies, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “The Spatial Dynamics of Global Media: Capital, Creativity, and Cultural Variation.”
  • Thursday, Nov. 13 -- 4:30 p.m., Communications Building, room 1116, Cinzia Padovani, assistant professor, SIUC Department of Radio-Television, “The Politics of Digitalization of the Television Industry in Italy.”
  • Wednesday, Nov. 19 -- 1:30 p.m., Communications Building, room 1032. Werner Meier, GMRC Fellow, Swiss Centre for Studies on the Global Information Society, “From Media Policy to Participatory Media Governance?”

For more information, contact Laura Germann at 618/453-6876, or by email at