2019 CMCS New York City, USA

Conference Program – Bridging Gaps NYC 2019

CMCS 8th International Conference
Bridging Gaps: Re-Fashioning Stories for Celebrity Counterpublics

Club Quarters – Times Square
(Booking link / code: BRG830 – deadline August 1)
40 West 45th Street Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
New York City, USA

Download Conference Program – Bridging Gaps NYC 2019

Pre-Conference Meet & Greet – Thursday, August 29
Club Quarters (Times Square)
Day 1 Conference, Media Panel & Reception – Friday, August 30 

Club Quarters (Times Square)
Day 2 Conference & Social – Saturday, August 31
Club Quarters (Times Square)
Library Bar – Fireplace, Sheraton Hotel (Times Square)
Day 3 Conference and Best Paper Awards
Club Quarters (Times Square)

Conference Registration:

Registration Options

Guest Registration: You are most welcome to enjoy the event including all-day coffee and an evening cocktail for a discounted rate of $150 in New York City.  For questions, please email celebrity.mediastudies@gmail.com. All guests must fill the registration form for catering purposes: 2019 NYC CMCS Registration Form

Key Speakers:

Keynotes & Media Speakers:

Andrew Zolides
Communication and Media, Xavier University, USA
Day 1 – Opening KeynoteCelebrity and Digital Narrative Practice

Basuli Deb
English and Gender Studies, Rutgers University and CUNY, USA
Day 2 – Opening Keynote:
From MeToo to UsToo: Celebrity Counterpublics to Migrant Counterpublics

Alex Symons
Fashion Media, LIMS College, USA
Day 3 – Opening Keynote:
“Cultural Citizenship” in the Digital Age:
Activism and Risks for Comedians in America

Jacque Lynn Foltyn
Sociology, National University, USA
Media coverage: NBC Today, CBS 48hrs, NPR, CNN, BBC, NYT, VICE
Key speaker for CMCS media panel, “Scholars as Critics”

Hannah Yelin
Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture
Oxford Brookes University
Key speaker for CMCS media panel, “Scholars as Critics” (via video)

Jacqueline Strayer
Faculty, New York University and Columbia University
Key Speaker for “Maximizing Your Personal Brand”

Best presented papers will be published in the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies @IntellectBooks. Discounted subscription options are below. In addition to receiving in-depth reviews and editorial support for publishing with Intellect Books, eligible registered delegates will have the option to share opinion pieces. The best op-ed / personal essay will be published in the Medium and receive further editorial advice for print media. The conference includes CMCS media workshop ‘Scholars as Critics’ with the keynotes and chair who will address further one-on-one questions on media and academic relations.

Call for Papers:

In the recent past, there has been an increased interest in exploring intersections of life writing and studies of celebrity culture. Storytelling is central to effective branding in fame. Furthermore, the use of biographical elements has been recognized as a rhetorical device in writing op-eds, personal essays, and public speaking that often raise awareness on critical issues in popular media. Biography, as Lola Romanucci-Ross points out, is mainly a useful symbolic tool for reflecting, rotating and reversing real-life situations. Like biography, autobiography, memoirs, and testimonials play crucial roles in mapping social facts.

The impacts of glamorous forms of storytelling in scandals, gossip, and rumor become so crucial that they are often studied as sociological data, regardless of whether they enable actual social change. For pop culture enthusiasts and social observers, celebrities may or may not be actual role models in telling meaningful stories and constructing subjectivity. Yet, fans and students often invest affective and intellectual labor when it comes to accepting, negotiating or contesting what appears to be significant in understandings of popular figures. Celebrity scholars are equally familiar with the complexities of engaging with and researching “glossy topics”. As Sean Redmond (2014) has shown, acknowledging one’s own celebrity attachments can produce innovative ways of (re)writing fame. Conversely, these first-person accounts may also contribute to the celebritisation of individual academics. What is the critical and pedagogical potential of personal takes on fame within the field of celebrity studies?

Celebrity narratives are perceived to have real power whether or not celebrities are “important” people in the academic or moral sense. Drawing on current affairs, celebrity politicians have used personal claims and outrageous stories to push political agendas in divisive ways. Many other famous personas use extravagant fashion as expressions of their luxurious lives and build persona brands at the cost of ethics. For Elizabeth Wissinger, the “glamour labor” involved in self-fashioning, surveillance, and branding is often an inevitable and unfortunate outcome in the production of consumer values and desirable bodies in fashion industries. Public personas still self-fashion themselves and promote their brand by extending text(ures) of language that sells to consumer tastes. However, the challenge remains to sell the values of social justice. Can public intellectuals learn narrative strategies from celebrity storytelling and fill this gap?

What appears to be a shared reason behind the success of most popular narratives, verbal (including oral) and non-verbal, is a persuasive ‘strategy’ to effectively tell life stories. If studying celebrity biographies/autobiographies, best-selling memoirs, and other popular forms of life-writings and self-expressions carry cultural worth, then biographical elements of rising and celebrated public intellectuals, academics, critics, and activists are equally important to consider in disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices and understanding of fame. For instance, real-life first-hand accounts, such as testimonies and visual evidence, together with literary/artistic representations of gendered oppression provide meaning for progressive thinking and practice. Anecdotal accounts of famous sports personalities, actors, best-selling authors, and top models among other public figures are often useful rhetorical tools that help us to understand popular culture better. With this in mind, we need to extend popular storytelling beyond celebrity culture and persona branding, and use it to empower social change in academia, politics, and other spheres.

The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) Bridging Gaps conference series uses a reflective practice paradigm and asks an urgent question: Can we learn popular strategies and re-fashion celebrity stories into tools for public intellectualism and social transformation, in addition to studying them? What enables or disables the public to tell personal stories in studies and practices of celebrity culture? Can different forms of storytelling from the lives of rising and celebrated academics, public intellectuals, critics, and activists enable urgent social change? The conference problematizes what it means to be a popular “storyteller” and invites all academics, journalists, publicists, activists and models and guests to attend, collaborate and publish valuable and purposeful work around this key question and related topics in our conference.

The format of the conference aims at being open and inclusive of interdisciplinary academic scholars and practitioners involved in all areas of celebrity culture, fandom, fashion, and journalism.  The conference combines paper presentations, workshop panels, roundtables, slideshows, and interviews that aim to bridge gaps in celebrity activism, persona branding, and fashion education. Working papers, media productions, and personal stories will be considered for the conference.

Extended versions of selected best papers will be published in an edited collection – Samita Nandy

Registration includes: Your printed package for the complete conference, professional development workshop, all-day coffee, access to evening  receptions, a complimentary evening drink, consideration for publications with Intellect Books and the Medium, and the CMCS $100 best paper and $100 best screen awards.

Abstract Submission Guidelines:

  • 250-word abstract or workshop / roundtable / book talk proposal
  • Include a title, your name, e-mail address, and affiliation if applicable
  • Submit abstract to chairs at celebrity.mediastudies@gmail.com: March 18, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: March 31, 2019
  • Regular registration deadline for hotel booking & conference registration: June 30, 2019
  • Conference reception and presentations: August 30 – September 1, 2019

Video Submissions Guidelines:

  • Video length should be 10-20 minutes
  • Include a title, your name, e-mail address, and affiliation if applicable
  • Submit to celebrity.mediastudies@gmail.com
  • Conference reception and presentations: August 30 – September 1, 2019

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Celebrity
  • Fandom
  • Audience
  • Persona
  • Life Writings
  • Oral storytelling
  • Fiction
  • Fashion
  • Photography
  • Performance
  • Publicity
  • News
  • Interviews
  • Social Media
  • Film and video
  • Theory and Methods
  • Research Agenda
  • Business Models
  • Ethics and Morality
  • Media Literacy
  • Human, Animal, and Environmental ethics
  • Education and Advocacy
  • International Relations
  • Community Building
  • Business and Community Partnerships

Conference Chair: Dr Samita Nandy
Conference Committee: Kiera Obbard, Sabrina Moro, and Diana Miller
Conference URL: http://cmc-centre.com/nyc2019
Conference Twitter @celeb_studies #CMCS19

CFP author: Samita Nandy
CFP Reviewers: Basuli Deb, Jarret Ruminski, Nicole Bojko, Sabrina Moro, Kiera Obbard, and Diana Miller

Special Acknowledgements:

Intellect Books @IntellectBooks

Half Price for Personal Journal Subscription 

Print only*: £22 / $39 USD
(Full price: £44 / $78 USD)

Please contact Turpin Distribution, quoting ‘HALF PRICE PC’:


Delegates may begin calling at their convenience to make reservations through our Club Quarters Member Services department by referencing the group code BRG830  or via the link below:


Member Services can be reached at 203.905.2100 or at memberservices@clubquarters.com during the hours of:

Mon. – Fri. 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

Sat. 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

Sun. 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

Special thanks to CMCS board members Dr Nicole Bojko & Jarret Ruminski, author of The Limits of Loyalty: Ordinary People in Civil War Mississippi @TheDevilHistory 

Conference Sponsors: 

Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies
Centre for Ecological, Social & Informatics Cognitive Research