Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Abstract for Global Fusion 2010 conference at Texas A&M

I just heard today that my paper was accepted for presentation at Global Fusion 2010: Sustenance and Globalization, an academic conference at Texas A&M University. Here is the version of the abstract that I submitted to the selection committee, which includes some basic information on the issues that my paper will cover.

Net neutrality and reproductive health: How new media platforms navigate controversial issues.

In this uncertain time for the future of access and openness on the Internet, it is not surprising that controversial issues are often not permitted the same amount of openness as neutral ones. A contentious issue around the world, especially in relation to the United States’ recent attempt to pass health care reform, has been and continues to be the issue of abortion, including not only access to the service itself but also access to information regarding the service. This project is interested in exploring how companies and institutions that own rights to new media services - such as search engines and text messaging services - censor messages or information regarding controversial issues such as abortion. What does this censorship imply for the future of public health when certain reproductive health NGOs and information sharing societies both within the US and in Latin America are the target of this silencing?

In this paper, I would like to begin with an introduction stating the current temperature of the net neutrality debate; provide a brief background on the issue of abortion at home and abroad; introduce and analyze some of the literature on net neutrality, Internet filtering, and access to information on reproductive health; outline the inspiration for the methodological approach to this research; and present two instances of censorship: Verizon Wireless's refusal to participate in NARAL Pro-Choice's text messaging campaign, and Google AdWords' exclusion of ads offering abortion information in over a dozen countries internationally.
I am SUPER excited for this opportunity, especially since this is the first academic conference to which I have ever submitted an abstract. Certainly encouraging and commending considering the flood of rejections I've received for job opportunities lately. Let me know what you think, and fill me in on some ideas for presentation methods - already thinking about Prezi or something similar.


deepthiw said...

I am not at all surprised that abstract made it in! It's not just a timely intersection of topics, but it's an incredibly intelligent and informed approach and analysis. Can't wait to hear how it goes! And maybe even see it, if they do video documentation of some kind!

Katharine Relth said...

Thanks for your support and encouragement, Deepthi! Maybe they'll take a few tips from CT10 and hook us up with some HD documentation of the presentation ;)

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that life and time change people? I hope they'll find their "way home" after reading your post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I like the way you write, and I hope you won't stop doing that.