Applications of the covariant theory of drive-forms are considered for a class of perfectly insulating media. The distinction between the notions of ‘classical photons’ in homogeneous bounded and unbounded stationary media and in stationary unbounded magneto-electric media is pointed out in the context of the Abraham, Minkowski and symmetrized Minkowski electromagnetic stress–energy–momentum tensors. Such notions have led to intense debate about the role of these (and other) tensors in describing electromagnetic interactions in moving media. In order to address some of these issues for material subject to the Minkowski constitutive relations, the propagation of harmonic waves through homogeneous and inhomogeneous, isotropic plane-faced slabs at rest is first considered. To motivate the subsequent analysis on accelerating media, two classes of electromagnetic modes that solve Maxwell’s equations for uniformly rotating homogeneous polarizable media are enumerated. Finally it is shown that, under the influence of an incident monochromatic, circularly polarized, plane electromagnetic wave, the Abraham and symmetrized Minkowski tensors induce different time-averaged torques on a uniformly rotating materially inhomogeneous dielectric cylinder. We suggest that this observation may offer new avenues to explore experimentally the covariant electrodynamics of more general accelerating media.