Calling for abstracts open: 1st HCIAS International Symposium: Communication in Polarized Societies

The Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS) is calling for abstracts  for the 1st HCIAS International Symposium.

This initial symposium aims to offer a space for the exchange of approaches which broadens our understanding of the forms, premises, and consequences of communication in polarized societies, viewed from multiple angles of the social sciences and the humanities. The symposium aims to create a space for the exchange of academic experiences, to generate knowledge, and to contribute to the training of the next generation of scholars in interdisciplinary area studies on Ibero-America.

Communication varies among the social contexts it is used in, from politics to public health, the environment, security, business and commerce, and science and technology, among others. Effective communication in all of these social spaces becomes even more crucial during periods of change or crisis. The recent succession of global crises and transformations, such as political and religious fundamentalism, the increasing impact of climate change, pandemic outbreaks, and the rise of radical populism, highlights the fundamental need for communication in modern societies to be effective and reliable.

Public communication, in particular, reflects societal change and offers a platform for political and social polarization, and the advance of radicalism and populism. Prominent examples of this are the malicious use of propaganda and communicative dynamics in social media that generate hate speech and disinformation. Phenomena like fake news, for instance, are undermining the very concepts of ‘public sphere’ and ‘public communication’ and question the possibility of effective and reliable communication based on contrasted facts.

The 1st HCIAS International Symposium addresses the study of communication and its multiple socio-political implications in Ibero-American societies. Ibero-America, with its imbrications within the region and with other regions of the world, is characterized by highly dynamic, socio-cultural processes of transformation in which the role of communication is decisive.

The symposium adopts an interdisciplinary perspective to reveal the analytical potential of the framework of societal communication, especially regarding the analysis of transversal issues such as democratization and democratic backsliding, polarization, or trust. At the same time, it highlights the capacity of area studies to analyze and interpret contemporary communication phenomena based on profound regional knowledge.

The symposium will be held in person. Places are limited. Participation is possible in the following modalities:

  •  Presentations

Presentations shall have a maximum length of 15 minutes and will be organized in panels of 4 presentations, which will be followed by 30 minutes of discussion. Proposals for contributions need to be included in the registration form and submitted via email to hcias‑symposium2023@uni-heidelberg.de.

  • Flash Talks

The symposium invites doctoral students so submit proposals for a flash talk. Flash talks are 4-minutes presentations showcasing ongoing doctoral research projects. Proposals for flash talks can be submitted by completing the registration form for abstracts of flash talks. The registration form should be submitted via email to hcias‑symposium2023@uni‑heidelberg.de.

  • Participation without presentation

If you would like to participate in the symposium without giving a presentation or flash talk, please fill in the registration form and send it via email to hcias‑symposium2023@uni‑heidelberg.de. Please note that places in the symposium are limited and preference will be given to participants with presentation or flash talks.  


Registration and submission of abstracts

To register and submit your proposal for a presentation or flash talk, please fill out one of the following pdf forms and email the completed form to hcias-symposium2023@uni-heidelberg.de:

Application deadline and communication of acceptance

Deadline: 30 June 2023
Communication of acceptance: 17 July 2023