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What is Universe? Communication • Complexity • Coherence

University of Oregon Portland
70 NW Couch Street
Portland, Oregon 97209, US (map)



The eighth annual What is…? Conference-Experience, What is Universe? examines communication, complexity, simplicity, coherence, incoherence and how they may or may not contribute to “a pluralistic universe”—networks of relationships. It expands the University of Oregon’s commitment to transdisciplinary research and its impact—by cultivating communication at the heart of science, technology, and their environments.

This year’s event will continue to catalyze and accelerate the impact of transdisciplinary inquiry across communication universes with over 100 international, national, and regional researchers, participating in six plenary sessions and over 20 panels. These include a wide range of “universes,” not limited to: systems, ecologies, social worlds, native pragmatism, politics, news, solutions journalism, documentary, entertainment, games, comics, immersive virtual realities, digital identity and embodied practice, advertising, effects, globalization, posthumanism and agential realism, IoT, maker culture, urban ecodesign, multicultural communities and cosmologies.

With definitions of “universe” continuing to expand, this year marks the third collaboration with scholars from the natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts.