PhD Course – Social Pragmatics within Contemporary Art and Media Studies

When: 8th – 10th of May

Where: New York

Application Deadline: ASAP


What everyday parlance refers to as society is not a given, self-sustaining ontological reality. Albeit itself productive, providing stability as well as reference, “the social world” is first and foremost the product of agencies, protocols and power relations. Hence “the social”, constantly being assembled, maintained and differentiated, is less an analytical category than a category in need of analysis.

As Bruno Latour reminds us, whenever social scientists “add the adjective ‘social’ to some phenomenon, they designate a stabilized state of affairs, a bundle of ties that, later, may be mobilized to account for some other phenomenon.” Latour’s critical remarks are not aimed at the concept of the social as such; they are rather an invitation to rethink the way we conceive of the social by shifting the perspective from an objectifying to a practice-orientated one. Obviously Bruno Latour is far from being unique in this pragmatist approach to social analysis. Thus Michel Foucault investigated the genealogy of the concepts of the social, the political and the state, and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s pioneering work on abstract social machines is also an obvious point of reference for our discussion.

Following the lead from Latour, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari (and many others), this seminar will examine the usefulness and the bearings of such a social pragmatics within contemporary art and media studies. We invite participants to reflect on their work from the point of view of social practices – how these practices involve sets of objects, how these circulate, by the help of what media, channels, or milieus, and, least but not last, what subject positions (and subjectivities) they allow for. In other words, what kind of set-up, of arrays and assemblages, can be identified, and what functions and distributions do they facilitate.

We suggest three different entries to the discussion: Media, art and aesthetics. As media were always social, they provide, both from a historical and a contemporary view, an excellent example of a social technology, entailing protocols of code and conduct, formats of time and space, and genres of subjectivity. Artworks too are medial phenomena that can be analyzed in a number of different ways; in this context, however, we will focus specifically on how artistic mediality also encompasses a set of political and economic relations embedded in its historical forms. Aesthetics, finally, stand out in our perspective not only as pertaining to the ‘rules of art’ or to sense experience, but rather to the interface between the human sensorium and affective capacities with the social world at large.

Alexander Galloway and Andrew Ross, both from New York University are invited as speakers. Galloway’s research interests include media theory and contemporary philosophy. He is a programmer and artist and a founding member of the Radical Software Group (RSG). Ross focuses on labor, the urban environment, and the organization of work, from the Western world of business and high-technology to conditions of offshore labor in the Global South.


Deadline for submissions is April 16. Please include a short abstract (300 words) for a 20 minutes presentation.


Do you want to represent TODOS at the SiN AGM?

The association of doctoral organizations in Norway (SiN) was officially founded in Oslo, in January 26th 2003. SiN is a joint committee of local organizations for doctoral candidates and post doctors at Norwegian colleges and universities. Currently there are 8 local member organizations.

The SIN Executive Board advocates on behalf of its members to gain resources for their benefit, allocates resources among them and arbitrates among them and any other involved parties. In general, the SIN oversees member unions’ activities and is the governing body of the doctoral organization in Norway.

SiN is a network promoting contacts between its member organizations and expressing joint opinions on political issues concerning education and research, and other issues relevant to the member organizations.

The SiN AGM is held in Oslo on the 7th of May. TODOS offers to send one representative to the SiN AGM. This representative will get travel costs reimbursed and should ideally think about becoming a member in the SiN board. If you want to go to the SiN AGM or have any questions related to being a member of the SiN board, please send a short e-mail about yourself to

2nd International Conference on Statistical Language and Speech Processing

When: 14th – 16th of October, 2014

Where: Grenoble, France


SLSP is a yearly conference series aimed at promoting and displaying excellent research on the wide spectrum of statistical methods that are currently in use in computational language or speech processing. It aims at attracting contributions from both fields. Though there exist large, well-known conferences and workshops posting contributions to any of these areas, SLSP is a more focused meeting where synergies between subdomains and people will hopefully happen. In SLSP 2014, significant room will be reserved to young scholars at the beginning of their career and particular focus will be put on methodology.


PhD Course – Global Challenges: Urbanization, Livelihoods and Food Security

When: 7th of July – 15th of August, 2014

Where: Botswana


The course is a mutual effort of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the University of Botswana, the EU-Africa Doctoral Student Network (DocLinks) and the African Network of Agriculture, Agroforestry, and Natural Resources Management (ANAFE).

The course will take place between July 7th and August 15th 2014. During the first two weeks, the course participants will spend time at home reviewing the literature and preparing for the course. Then between July 28th and August 8th, the students will attend the course in Botswana together with other course participants and facilitators from around the world. The course programme will include lectures, discussions and four field trips. Lastly, the time between August 9th and August 15th, the students will be expected to complete their individual written assignments to successfully complete the course.



Social Simulation for Serious Games – Call for Members & Call for Papers for Special Track @ ESSA 2014

Call for Members

Special Interest Group on Social Simulation for Serious Games


There is an important distinction between simulations and serious games: the latter provide abstractions and include game mechanics to entice players and let them learn or practice. Certain serious games try to ‘gamify’ social simulations, for example negotiation training systems, systems that help children cope with bullying and skills training for alcohol screening. Certain forms of serious games (e.g. role-play) also enable researchers to simulate and experiment with social situations otherwise difficult to reproduce in real life, thus allowing them to study human behaviour. This kind of gamified simulation was for example successfully used in the management of natural resources when studying the behaviour of stakeholders when faced with new fishing regulations.


In the SS4SG SIG, we investigate how the fields of social simulation and serious games are linked. In particular, we focus on the following topics:

  • Serious game design. Which level of abstraction is chosen for a serious game? Will it be close to a strict simulation or will it incorporate extensive metaphors? What are the factors based on which this choice is to be made? Which (serious) game mechanics are useful?
  • Modelling the social situation. Which approach captures the situation with sufficient granularity? How should a choice be made to include specific theories and models that describe the situation? For example, using a data-driven methodology, how can the steps be made from data to theory to application (and game mechanics)? For agent-based modelling, how can artificially intelligent agents be made that act according to a specified model?
  • Example implementations. Stories of success and failure: which elements in a serious game that includes social interaction turn out to be useful and which are counter-productive to the game’s goal? Which elements of social simulations can be used in the design of serious games?


We intend this SIG to be an active platform for discussions and information dissemination (e.g. relevant papers and events, exchanging knowledge and experience). Depending on the level of activity in the SIG and of the interests of its members, we plan to organise special tracks at future conferences, for example at (serious) game conferences such as GALA, VS-Games and ISAGA, but also at social science conferences such as ESSA and SocialCom. In addition, we are open to suggestions for other events, such as workshops or courses.


We welcome interested individuals from any field or level of education as we strive to take a cross-disciplinary approach to address social simulations and serious games.


For all queries associated with this SIG (for example wishing to join, sharing information or wanting the ability to post on our blog) please visit or contact one of the SIG co-organisers.


SS4SG organiser: Jeroen Linssen (

SS4SG co-organiser: Melania Borit (



Call for Papers for Special Track @ ESSA 2014


As a first possible event for SS4SG, we have been invited to submit papers related to our topic to ESSA 2014 at Barcelona, Spain, this year’s conference of the European Social Simulation Association. If at least 3 full papers get accepted, a special track on Social Simulation for Serious Games will be organised.


The official Call for Papers for ESSA can be found here: Please notify us if you intend to submit a paper to ESSA related to the topic of SS4SG.


Types of contributions accepted:

  • Full papers – in the length of 10 to 12 pages, should be comprehensive and consists of detailed presentation of theory, methodology and simulation results.
  • Extended abstracts – in the length of 3 to 4 pages, which presents the current topic in progress with enough detail to ensure proper evaluation and discussion, or
  • Posters – maximum allowed size A1 (smaller sizes are acceptable), should present the current work in progress. An abstract (1-2 pages) should be submitted before contributions deadline.


Important dates:

  • (Extended) deadline: April 11th, 2014
  • Notification of acceptance: May 15th, 2014
  • Early registration closes: May 23th, 2014
  • Final paper due: June 15th, 2014
  • Conference: September 1st-5th, 2014



Kind regards,


The SS4SG organisers


Jeroen Linssen (University of Twente, The Netherlands)

Melania Borit (University of Tromsø, Norway)

Ph.D. Course in Social Psychology and Micro-Sociology

When: 9th – 13th of June

Where: Linnæus University, Sweden

The course aims at promoting a general overview of methods, including experiments and simulation, and research questions typical of micro-sociology, social psychology, and other behaviorally oriented disciplines. It will also show how these instruments can be applied to improve our understanding of important social facets, such as social norms, social influence, collective action, and group identity.

The course is based on two lectures per day, Monday, June 9 to Friday, June 13. It will include both classroom lectures and laboratory activities. The latter ones are designed to give students a direct experience of participating in and running behavioral experiments and will present running examples of known simulation models.


Ph.D. Course in Mixed Models with Applications in Medicine

When: 12th – 13th June, 2014

Where: University of Southampton, Southampton

This course will focus on the application of linear mixed models for medical applications with a continuous outcome. Topics will include simple and more complex hierarchical data structure such as repeated measurements on patients within wards within hospitals, crossed and nested effects, fixed and random effects as well as random coefficient models. The course will give an introduction to the general mixed model and highlight its ability to cope with potentially nested fixed and random effects simultaneously. Data structures with repeated measures in time will also be touched upon. All models will be illustrated at hand of study data. The course will include a mixture of lectures and practical workshops using the software STATA.

The course is aimed at researchers who want to perform linear mixed model analysis and/or need to analyse hierarchically structured study data. Participants may be academic researchers in the Medical and Health or Social Sciences sector or may work within the Government, pharmaceutical industry, or other parts of the private sector.

Participants are expected to have a good working knowledge of simple statistical methods, including a basic understanding of regression and analysis of variance. No familiarity with the software STATA is required.