2015 Samuel L. Becker Memorial Conference

Sam Becker, black and white

"Interesting questions are the lifeblood of any field. In our case, they must be questions that make a difference, that puzzle and stimulate, and that give some intellectual coherence to this field of communication studies."
—Sam Becker, 1984

Interesting Questions: Bodies and Technologies

Saturday, October 17, 2015
9:00 a.m.—4:30 p.m.; reception to follow
Old Capitol Museum Senate Chamber on the University of Iowa campus
Iowa City, Iowa

This conference honors the life and work of Samuel L. Becker (1923–2012), noted communication scholar and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies. In his 1984 keynote address to the Central States Speech Association, Sam took up the theme of "interesting questions" to argue for more sustained intradisciplinary conversations among communication studies scholars, which will better enable them to address critical issues in our time. In that spirit, we've assembled a day of speakers to address the themes of bodies and technologies, which are issues that Sam addressed in his own work, are of central concern to communication studies, and represent thematic areas of inquiry in our own Department.

The University of Iowa 2015 Samuel L. Becker Memorial Conference, Bodies and Technologies, features prominent scholars Mark Andrejevic, Kory Floyd, and Debra Hawhee. The conference will explore bodily rhetorics, the interplay between interpersonal affection, physiology, and health, and the role of digital culture in contemporary modes of surveillance. Through conversation across subdisciplines, we hope to inspire rigorous conversation and interdisciplinary thought at the nexus of communication, bodies, and technologies. 

The 2015 Samuel L. Becker Memorial Conference is free; advance registration is required and available here. Please note: There is a block of rooms reserved at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel with a base rate of $116 per night for Friday, October 16th, and Saturday, October 17th. To obtain this rate, the room must be booked by September 16th. Please reserve through this website.


  • Mark Andrejevic

    Mark Andrejevic, Pomona college

    Mark Andrejevic is Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies, Pomona College. He is the author of Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched; iSpy:Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era; and Infoglut: How Too Much Information is Changing the Way We Think and Know; as well as articles and book chapters on surveillance, popular culture, and digital media. He is currently writing a book on drones, tentatively titled Drone Theory.

  • Kory Floyd

    Kory Floyd, University of Arizona

    Kory Floyd is professor of communication at the University of Arizona. His research focuses on the communication of affection in close relationships and its effects on stress and physiological functioning. He has written 12 books and over 100 scientific papers and book chapters, and he is the current editor of Communication Monographs. His work has been recognized with both the Charles H. Woolbert award and the Bernard J. Brommel award from the National Communication Association. His newest book, The Loneliness Cure, examines the problem of affection deprivation and identifies strategies for increasing affection and intimacy.

  • Debra Hawhee

    Debra Hawhee, Pennsylvania State University

    Debra Hawhee is Professor of English and of Communication Arts and Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research on history and theory of rhetoric, ancient and modern, focuses on bodily communication practices and has received funding from the Spencer Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her work has won awards from the National Communication Association, the NCA’s Rhetoric and Communication Theory Division, and the Kenneth Burke Society.