I’m very excited to be co-organizing a virtual workshop hosted by Syracuse
University’s iSchool this August 5th and 6th with Joshua Introne, Whitney
Phillips, and Emily Thorson entitled “Beyond Misinformation: Towards a
Research Agenda for Information Ecosystems, Network Dynamics, and Emergent
Epistemologies.” We’ve included the call below, and you can find an online
version on the conference website, https://easychair.org/cfp/INDE-2021.
Abstracts are due by June 15th. We would love for members of this community
to participate. Thank you!
Brian McKernan, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
School of Information Studies
Syracuse, New York 13244
Beyond Misinformation: Towards a Research Agenda for Information
Ecosystems, Network Dynamics, and Emergent Epistemologies
This workshop starts from the premise that the problem of online
misinformation is a symptom, not a cause. While undeniably problematic,
misinformation is the current cause célèbre of a larger class of
pathological dynamics that have emerged in our evolving digital media
ecosystems and cause harm at different systemic levels. These dynamics are
exacerbated by many aspects of our evolving digital infrastructure,
including the affordances of different media platforms, algorithmic
filters, the loss of trusted gatekeepers, the attention economy, and ever
evolving modes of journalism. Additionally, cognitive factors as well as
offline social structures, including systems of oppression, play an
enormous role in shaping the consensual realities that emerge in digital
This is a wicked problem, and while many dimensions of the problem have
been examined, a more complete articulation requires the synthesis of
insights from scholars across many disciplines. Our hope is that this
workshop will provide a vehicle for this process and pave the way to a
research agenda that leads to solutions.
To participate, please submit an abstract to the conference website (
https://easychair.org/cfp/INDE-2021) that addresses at least one of the
How do current information ecosystems exacerbate pathological
psychosocial dynamics in human societies, and what might be done to fix
What new theoretical and/or methodological approaches are necessary
to strengthen our understanding of the pathological dynamics of information
What pattern of pathological dynamics created or exacerbated by our
information ecosystems is the most pressing to address?
Abstracts should be 500 to 1000 words in length and should articulate
connections between pathological dynamics, information ecosystems,
psychosocial factors, and / or design. Pathological dynamics might include
but are not limited to the spread of misinformation, ideological
polarization, partisanship as a social identity, tribalism, online
toxicity, clicktivism, conspiracism, and extremism. Priority will be given
to statements that report on work that has moved beyond a conceptual stage.
We are eager to receive contributions from a wide range of disciplinary
perspectives, including biology and evolutionary science, physics and
network science, critical race and cultural studies, complexity theory,
computational sciences, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Nine to twelve participants will be invited to present their work and
others will be invited to participate in a collaborative sense-making
effort that spans two days. The organizers will synthesize the effort into
a white paper that will be made available on the workshop website.