“The California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg”: Call for Papers

Announcing a call for papers exploring the visual culture of Mark Zuckerberg

Perhaps more so that any other leader in the technology industry for the past decade, Mark Zuckerberg has been visually iconic.

Whether raising a brow in front of a frat house, strolling through a field of VR helmets, or meeting the Chinese, Zuckerberg, and the changes he symbolizes in technology and society at large, is — we would submit — a deep well for discussion and intellectual inquiry.

Following on the Journal of Venture Studies (Vol 1, Vol 2), and Adventure Time Forum, we are announcing a call for submissions to a newly launched publication: The California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg. This journal will be dedicated to unpacking specific visual depictions of Mark Zuckerberg in mass media, and linking them to broader academic and critical discourse.

We are seeking 2,000–3,000 word essays which will select a single image or series of images of Mark Zuckerberg, and focus on deconstructing their meaning, analyzing their visual composition, and/or delving into historical context. Potential themes of interest to the editorial board include:

  • Media Portrayals of Zuck: Over the past decade, the machinery of mass media has had to place Zuckerberg and Facebook into a communicable narrative. More often than not, this process has been visual. How has this translation occurred? How has it varied across media in film, news, illustration, social media, and beyond?
  • Art History and Zuck: To what extent do depictions of Mark Zuckerberg fit into historical visual representations of economic and political leaders? How does the photographic construction of Zuckerberg borrow from a broader Western photographic and visual tradition?
  • Zuck, Race, and Class: Zuckerberg’s 2017 project to better understand America has produced a range of striking images, each of which speaks to matters of race and class. How are these represented? What do they attempt to convey? And, what does the varying public reception to these images reveal?
  • Zuck as Symbol: Who is Zuckerberg and what does he symbolize? How does visual culture work to emphasize or deemphasize the physicality, attire, and aspirations of this individual? To what extent is this symbolism the intent of Zuckerberg himself, or the construction of others?
  • Zuck — Personal and Public: Zuckerberg’s private moments are public moments, too. How have visuals played a role in mediating this relationship between public and private? How do specific events, such as the birth of a child, become situated between these arenas? What does this reflect about the Facebook platform as a whole?
  • Man Zuck, Boy Zuck: As the prototype of the young, unicorn entrepreneur, Zuckerberg has left behind a sequence of images tracing his rise from scrappy dropout to industry leader. How has his process of maturation been depicted? What does it say about age and its place in the technology sector?

We have launched a short form for submitting abstracts, which will be open until midnight PST July 26. Authors selected for this inaugural volume will be notified shortly thereafter.

Final drafts are due in late September, with the full collection being released online in October 2017. We anticipate hosting an in-person symposia on this topic in November or December of this year in San Francisco. Authors will receive a $300 stipend on completion of their piece.

Pitches can be submitted here. Please contact our Submissions Editor Tim Hwang (tim@timhwang.org) with any questions.