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Recursive Lions and Strange Continuities of Bulgarian Nationalism

This article proposes the methodological and conceptual tool of ‘recursion’ as a means of understanding the production of historical continuity and discontinuity between different forms of nationalism in Bulgaria. The recent case of the demolition of the socialist-modernist monument ‘1300 Years of Bulgaria’ and its replacement with an earlier memorial from the authoritarian period of the 1930s forms the point of departure for this examination. Adopting a media and cultural studies perspective, the text focuses on the symbolic function of lions in both monuments and how they are engaged in the production of nationalist rhetoric and imagery. In line with Ann Laura Stoler’s (2016) proposition that the method of ‘recursive analytics’ can allow us to overcome the impasse formed by attempts to postulate either continuity or rupture between present and past, I first account for the histories of the erection of both monuments before proposing to read the ‘Bulgarian lions’, featuring in both of them, as recursive figures.

Wed 04 May 2022, 13:22 | Tags: front-page-2

Pandemic platform governance: Mapping the global ecosystem of COVID-19 response apps

As part of the international App Studies Initiative, Michael Dieter and Nate Tkacz have published the findings of their study of Covid apps, funded by the ESRC. Here is the abstract, published in the Internet Policy Review:

This article provides an exploratory systematic mapping of the global ecosystem of COVID-19 pandemic response apps. After considering policy updates by Google Play’s and Apple’s App Store, we analyse all the available response apps in July 2020; their different response types; the apps’ developers and geographical distribution; the ecosystem’s ‘generativity’ and developers’ responsiveness during the unfolding pandemic; the apps’ discursive positioning; and material conditions of their development. Google and Apple are gatekeepers of these app ecosystems and exercise control on different layers, shaping the pandemic app response as well as the relationships between governments, citizens, and other actors. We suggest that this global ecosystem of pandemic responses reflects an exceptional mode of what we call ‘pandemic platform governance’, where platforms have negotiated their commercial interests and the public interest in exceptional circumstances.

Tue 01 Mar 2022, 10:05 | Tags: front-page-2, Nathaniel Tkacz

Take it or Leave it: The Political and Epistemic Effects of Academic Freedom

Academic freedom and free speech are hotly debated topics at this time, with the UK government seeking to pass legislation to impose new duties on universities to protect and promote free speech. This short article considers the political and epistemic effects of certain positions within this contested field, focusing in particular on whether dogmatism ought not enjoy the protection of academic freedom insofar as it is inimical to free inquiry.

Link to the paper: :

Wed 24 Nov 2021, 14:30 | Tags: Naomi Waltham-Smith, front-page-2

"Launch: Pause for Thought Website"

Announcing the launch of, the project website for Pause for Thought: Media Literacy in an Age of Incessant Change.

The world seems to change so rapidly, it often feels hard to keep up - especially in the realm of media technology. Platforms, devices, apps, and other media forms all seem to emerge and then obsolesce with dizzying rapidity. Should we see the inability of practice to keep up with technological change as some kind of failure? Should we leave the question of how we live with technology to those who impose it upon us? Or can we view our experience and our practices as points of departure for a more constructive critique of the high-speed society? Those of us who work with media frequently devise and use strategies for adapting to and managing the pressures of this high-speed society. We see this as a form of ‘media literacy’ that isn’t confined to institutional settings, like university classrooms. is a platform for sharing critical, reflective, and creative literacies and strategies developed through academic and non-academic media practices, broadly defined.

The aim of the Pause for Thought is to create an interdisciplinary network of scholars, writers, artists, and media practitioners who are invested in the future of media literacy in our high-speed society. With, we will be collating a rolling series of creative and reflective contributions, developed primarily through two online workshops including academic and non-academic participants, that outline methods and strategies for dealing with rapid media change.

Current contributions include a report on our first workshop and contributions by Emma Cocker, Paula Morison, and Pause for Thought’s investigators, Thomas Sutherland and Scott Wark. Forthcoming contributions include reflections or responses by Sam Meech, Niall Docherty and Zara Dinnen, JR Carpenter, Jess Henderson, and Erica Scourti, with more to be announced. The Pause for Thought project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Research Networking Scheme grant, and is supported by the University of Lincoln and the University of Warwick. was designed and created by


Mon 27 Sep 2021, 15:51 | Tags: front-page-2, Scott Wark

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship

The British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship is a 36-month award made to an annual cohort of outstanding early career researchers in the humanities or social sciences.

The purpose of this award is to enable the award holder to pursue an independent research project, towards the completion of a significant piece of publishable research.

Please note that eligibility criteria have been updated for 2021, to take into account the potential impact of the pandemic.

CIM invites applications from suitably qualified candidates to support in the latest round of the scheme. Please contact Dr Nate Tkacz ( for further information.

Wed 11 Aug 2021, 15:09 | Tags: front-page-2

Walkability Perception and its Relations to Scenery Elements and Socio-Demographics

Walking has numerous benefits for the mental and physical health. It is a sustainable mode of mobility that modern cities should incentivise. Walkability, a notion of how friendly a street is for walking, entails different aspects like the perception of safety, beauty and social vibrancy. The perception of walkability is also influenced by the physical structure and spatial configuration of streets and their features.

Most studies on walkability are conducted based on interviews collecting valuable and detailed data. However, this data collection procedure is time- and resource-intensive and difficult to upscale to large areas. This project will leverage on street view imagery, deep learning image interpretation, crowdsourcing technologies, and geospatial datasets to develop a data-driven account of how the perception of walkability relates to physical, social and visual attributes of streets across different social groups, thus providing city administrators and planners a concrete and transferable methodology that helps them evaluate and enhance the liveability of their cities. Besides a transferable methodology to estimate city-wide walkability, we will propose data visualisations that surface the diversified perception of the urban space across different groups and that may support data-based theoretical developments on this multi-dimensional concept.

Mon 09 Aug 2021, 09:17 | Tags: Tessio Novack, front-page-2

The geographical and cultural aspects of geoinformation

Decisions on how to encode and model information in a geographical database are theory- laden and contingent upon the social and cultural contexts in which they are made. Hence, the very meaning and structure of geoinformation and geodata intrinsically embed these contexts. Furthermore, representations of the world via geoinformation may emphasize certain perceptions of the world or promote new ones, hence facilitating social processes of digital transformation and marking a complete cycle of influences from culture/society to geoinformation and back again. With this in mind, the Geographical and Cultural Aspects of Geoinformation: Issues and Solutions (GeoCultGIS) workshop was organized in 2019 as part of the AGILE conference in Limassol, Cyprus. The workshop offered researchers dealing with any of the three relations the opportunity to present their work and participate in open discussions on related topics. This issue of Transactions in GIS includes four articles stemming from this workshop and the call for papers that followed it.

Thu 05 Aug 2021, 16:56 | Tags: front-page-2

Feminicide & Machine Learning presentation at MD4SG '20

As part of MD4SG '20 4th Workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good (August 17-19, 2020), CIM doctoral student Helena Suárez Val will be participating in the presentation of a work-in-progress paper: ‘Feminicide & Machine Learning: Detecting Gender-based Violence to Strengthen Civil Sector Activism’, co-authored with Catherine D'Ignazio, Silvana Fumega, Harini Suresh, Isadora Cruxên, Wonyoung So, María De Los Angeles Martínez and Mariel García-Montes.

Abstract: Gender-related violence against women and its lethal outcome, feminicide, are a serious problem in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), as they are in the rest of the world. Although governments have passed legislation criminalizing feminicide, these laws have not been accompanied by relevant policy nor by robust data collection that measures the scope and scale of the problem. Drawing from Data Feminism, we situate feminicide data as "missing data" and describe the work of activists and civil society organizations who attempt to fill in the gaps by compiling incidents of feminicide from news reports. Activists doing this work face challenges: lack of time and financial resources, difficulties in accessing official data, and the mental health burden of reading about violent deaths of women. The paper describes ongoing progress on a participatory action research project designed to help sustain activist efforts to collect feminicide data by partially automating detection using machine learning.

Full details of the programme and registration for the event here:


Thu 13 Aug 2020, 16:37 | Tags: front-page-2

The use of ears: Agamben overhearing Derrida overhearing Heidegger

As scholars continue to take stock of Agamben’s L’Uso dei corpi, it is clear that there is much that we’ve already heard before, if only faintly, in earlier parts of the Homo Sacer project. This finale echoes repeated attacks on the presuppositional structure of language, showing Agamben to be a thinker of the unthought and one who, as Derrida observes, claims he is the first to think the unthought. With deliberate irony, I excavate two unthoughts in L’Uso dei corpi that remain as yet unspoken among critical responses.

First, Agamben’s longstanding entanglement with deconstruction goes without any explicit mention in this text beyond subtle allusions to earlier or potential encounters. While Kevin Attell has rigorously examined the relationship between Agamben and Derrida up to 2005, I argue that this more recent, albeit silent, confrontation clarifies the proximity and distance between them. I set Agamben’s use alongside Derrida’s deconstruction of metaphorical usure, arguing that both are ultimately concerned with the Heideggerian theme of the withdrawal of being. I examine to what extent use succeeds in its ambition to deactivate the presuppositional logic of the transcendental.

Second, notwithstanding his preoccupations with sound and sense, there is another Heideggerianism that Agamben doesn’t thematize as such: hearing. Reading Agamben’s sparse references to aurality alongside Derrida’s extensive engagement, I reconfigure Peter Szendy’s overhearing specifically as an usure of the ear. Using the concept to describe how the protagonists mishear one another in trying to hear too much, I overhear the dissonant resonances through which deconstruction remains the presupposition of Agamben’s thought. I argue that an abandonment of the transcendental asks that nothing remain unheard, only modified by the ear.


Wed 15 Jul 2020, 13:51 | Tags: front-page-2

Calvillo's In the Air at “Eco-Visionaries: Confronting a planet in a state of emergency” (Royal Academy of Arts)

Exhibition dates: 23 November - 23 February 2020.

In The Air, an air pollution visualisation project led by Nerea Calvillo is exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts as part of the international exhibition “Eco-Visionaries: Confronting a planet in a state of emergency”, opening to the public this Saturday 23 November. Two pieces will be on display: The video In The Air 24h (2019), commissioned by the Royal Academy and produced with the support of CIM and the Spanish Embassy, has been developed in collaboration with code designer and artist Martin Nadal (Berlin), sound designer and musician Javier Lara (Mexico City), and photographers Imagen Subliminal (New York-Madrid). The second piece is Histories of Pollution (2010), three models developed in collaboration with Martin Nadal.

Curated by Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, Pedro Gadanho and Mariana Pestana, Eco-Visionaries was originally organised by the MAAT (Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnología) in Lisbon (Portugal), Bildmuseet de Umeå (Sweden), House of Electronic Arts (HeK) in Basel (Switzerland) and LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial in Gijón.

A CIM visit will take place on 17 February, to accompany a public seminar on air pollution visualisations. More information soon, stay tuned!

The Royal Academy of Arts webpage for this exhibition is here.

Fri 22 Nov 2019, 11:18 | Tags: front-page-2

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