The Capital Coup One Year Later: How Research Can Assess and Counter Threats to Democracy

January 6-7, 2022

January 6 & 7, 2022

The University of North Carolina’s Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) and George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) invite you to join them for The Capital Coup One Year Later: How Research Can Assess and Counter Threats to Democracy, a two-day conference exploring key questions surrounding January 6, 2021. The event will span two half-days on January 6 and 7, 2022 with virtual participation only.

January 6 - Hosted at George Washington University

How does our research help us understand what happened on January 6?

Day 1 featured a keynote talk from Emily Van Duyn, "Democracy in the Dark: How our assumptions have blinded us and how to find the light again," followed by two panel discussions. The first panel will explore theories and methods that help to make sense of this moment in American history, while the second will consider new research questions that help explain the attacks.

Headshot of Emily Van Duyn

Dr. Emily Van Duyn is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before coming to Illinois, Van Duyn earned her PhD in Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University with the Program on Democracy and the Internet. Her research explores why people talk (or do not talk) about politics and the role of digital media in facilitating a space for community and political discourse.

Her book Democracy Lives in Darkness: How and Why People Keep Their Politics a Secret (Oxford, 2021) focuses on the reasons why individuals do not express their political opinions in public and how they express those opinions and organize in secret. Her work is concerned with the effects of social, geographic, and political polarization and how these phenomena threaten liberal democratic norms.

Emily Van Duyn Keynote: "Democracy in the Dark: How our assumptions have blinded us and how to find the light again"

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January 7 - Hosted at UNC-Chapel Hill

How should researchers respond to January 6? How should our work change in light of these events?

Day Two featured keynote talks at UNC: "Becoming the News: Tea parties, insurrections, and the fourth estate," from Khadijah Costley White, and "The Propagandists’ Playbook: The Long and Racist History of #StopTheSteal," from Francesca Tripodi, followed by two panels to discuss normative commitments in research and public engagement.

Dr. Kadijah White smilingDr. Khadijah Costley White is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Her book, The Branding of Right-Wing Activism: The News Media and the Tea Party (Oxford, 2018) examines the rise of the Tea Party in online, print, broadcast, and cable news. She has been a White House intern on the Obama broadcast media team, a National Association of Black Journalists and United Nations fellow, and an assistant producer for Now on PBS (formerly Now with Bill Moyers). Most recently, she was a 2020-2021 Whiting Public Engagement Fellow completing a community media project on lockdown culture in schools. She has contributed to books and published in journals such as Communication, Culture, and Critique, International Journal of Communication, and more.

White's writing and commentary on topics such as race, social movements, news, and politics has appeared in National Public Radio, The Atlantic, The New York Times and more. She is also an activist and community organizer, deeply invested in the transformative power of grassroots politics. Through this work, she has founded a community non-profit, SOMA Justice, which organizes for racial, social, and economic justice in South Orange and Maplewood, NJ.


Headshot of Dr. Francesca Tripodi

Dr. Francesca Tripodi is a sociologist and media scholar whose research examines the relationship between social media, political partisanship, and digital inequality. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) and a Senior Faculty Researcher at the Center for Information Technology and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill. She holds a PhD and MA in sociology from the University of Virginia, as well as an MA in communication, culture, and technology from Georgetown University.

In 2019, Tripodi testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on her research, explaining how search engines and processes are gamed to maximize exposure and drive ideologically based queries. This research is the basis of her upcoming book with Yale University Press titled The Propagandists’ Playbook. Recently, her research on patterns of gender inequality on Wikipedia, was featured on NPR All Things Considered and she was awarded an NSF Accelerator grant on Media Trust and Authenticity with partners at MIT, Stanford, and University of Washington.

Her research has been covered by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, The Columbia Journalism Review, Wired, Slate, The Guardian and The Neiman Journalism Lab.


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