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ICA Pre-Conference: What Comes After Disinformation Studies?

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The médialab at Science Po, Paris, France
27 rue Saint-Guillaume, Room Leroy-Beaulieu
Virtual participation will be available

Introduction

The title of this pre-conference, “What Comes After Disinformation Studies?”, is something of a deliberate provocation. With an ongoing increase in authoritarian and nationalist politics globally over the past several years and the weakening of democratic institutions in many countries, scholarly and media attention to disinformation has exploded, as have institutional, platform, and funder investments towards policy and technical solutions. This has also led to critical debates over the “disinformation studies” literature. Some of the more prominent critiques of extant assumptions and literatures by scholars and researchers include: the field possesses a simplistic understanding of the effects of media technologies; overemphasizes platforms and underemphasizes politics; focuses too much on the United States and Anglocentric analysis; has a shallow understanding of political culture and culture in general; lacks analysis of race, class, gender, and sexuality as well as status, inequality, social structure, and power; has a thin understanding of journalistic processes; and, has progressed more through the exigencies of grant funding than the development of theory and empirical findings. These concerns have also been surfaced by journalists and community organizers in public forums, such as Harper’s Magazine’s special report “Bad News” in late August 2021; or, organizers highlighting the exclusions of communities of color in existing discourse and subsequent responses. 

Even as disinformation has been the subject of growing academic debate, the relationship between disinformation, technology, and global democratic backsliding, white supremacy, inequalities, nationalisms, and the rise of authoritarianism globally remains unclear, and raises important questions of what constitutes healthy democratic systems

Given this, the time is right to create and advance an interdisciplinary, critical, post-disinformation studies agenda that centers questions of politics and power. We are particularly excited to take the best existing aspects of the research that has been done so far and put it into dialog with other fields (such as history, feminist science and technology studies, critical race and ethnic studies, anthropology, social movement studies, etc.) that have their own perspectives on how to understand and study politics, technology, and media in the 21st century. 

Schedule Overview

The conference aims to foster a series of overlapping conversations that will also introduce original empirical and theoretical research. There will be four 10 minute keynotes to introduce each panel followed by short 5 minute presentations. Coffee, tea, lunch and dessert will be served over the course of the day.

9:00 – 10:00: Breakfast

10:00 – 10:30 am: Introduction

with Mathias Vicherat, director of Sciences Po.

10:30-11:45 am: Panel Session 1

Reframing the Field with keynote by Nguyễn Yến-Khanh

Dr. Nguyễn Yến-Khanh is currently a faculty at RMIT University Vietnam. She holds a PhD in Communication from Massey University and a Master in Advertising and Marketing from the University of Leeds. Her research interests encompass health communication, social marketing, gender equity and sustainable consumer behaviour. Coming from Vietnam, she is keen to advance a research agenda that de-Westernizes media and communication studies. As a mother of a child with autism, she has been advocating for the rights of people with autism and involved in contesting mis/disinformation in this critical health issue. 

Presentations:

Hamsini Sridharan (USC Annenberg School)
Chico Q. Camargo and Felix M. Simon (Oxford Internet Institute)
Bilge Yesil (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Sakshi Bhalla, Rik Ray, and Harsh Taneja (University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign)

Contextual Approaches with keynote by Eugenia Mitchelstein

Dr. Eugenia Mitchellstein is an associate professor and director of the Department of Social Sciences at the University of San Andrés and co-director of the Center for Studies on Media and Society. She has a degree in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires, a Master in Science in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Communication at Northwestern University. Her research agenda examines the interplay between political communication, new media, and citizen participation.

Presentations:

Katerina Tsetsura (University of Oklahoma)
Elizabeth DuBois (University of Ottawa)
Pranav Malhotra (University of Washington-Seattle)
Julia Sonnevend (The New School for Social Research)
Manon Berriche, Valentine Crosset and, Dominique Cardon (médialab Sciences Po)

12:30 – 2:00: Lunch

2 – 3:30: Panel Session 2

The Right and Politics as Style with keynote by Jen Schradie

Dr. Jen Schradie is a digital sociologist at the Observatoire sociologique du changement at Sciences Po in Paris, Jen Schradie graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School and received her PhD in sociology at UC Berkeley. Her research on digital democracy and inequality has been featured on CNN and the BBC and in the New Yorker, Le Monde, The Washington Post, and WIRED, among others. She was awarded the UC Berkeley Public Sociology Alumni Prize and has directed six documentary films. Her Harvard University Press book, The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives, won the Charles Tilly Distinguished Scholarship Award from the American Sociological Association and has been translated into French. Follow her on Twitter @schradie or the book at www.therevolutionthatwasnt.com.

Presentations:
Reece Peck (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Cindy Ma (Oxford Internet Institute)
Alice Marwick (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Kirsten Eddy (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford)

Political Economy and Capitalism with keynote by Paula Chakravartty

Keynote: Paula Chakravartty

Dr. Paula Chakravartty is Associate Professor at New York University. Her books include Race, Empire and the Crisis of the Subprime (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Media Policy and Globalization (Edinburgh University Press, 2006), and Global Communications: Towards a Transcultural Political Economy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008). Her current research focuses on race and caste in the discipline of Communication, racial capitalism and global media infrastructures, and migrant mobility and justice. She serves as the Vice President of the NYU Association for University Professors (AAUP).

Presentations:
Moira Weigel (Northeastern University)
Caroline Jack (University of California, San Diego)
Aman Abhishek (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Fenwick McKelvey (Concordia University)

3:45 – 5:15: Panel Session 3

States, Pluralism, and Power with keynote by Bruce Mutsvairo

Dr. Bruce Mutsvairo’s research sits at the intersection of data, disinformation and democracy. He focuses mostly on the Global South and teaches journalism and media courses at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He returned to Utrecht after serving as as Professor in Journalism at Auburn University in the US. A former Associated Press reporter, he was an Associate Professor in Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney till 2019.

Presentations:
Roderic Crooks  and Bryan Truitt (University of California, Irvine)
Dhiraj Murthy (University of Texas at Austin)
Christoph Mergerson (University of Maryland)
Shaden Shabayek (médialab Sciences Po)

Democracy and Disinformation with keynote by Marwan Kraidy

Dr. Marwan M. Kraidy is dean of Northwestern in Qatar and a professor of communication and the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture at Northwestern. He is also the founder of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South. His interdisciplinary research spans culture and geopolitics, theories of identity and modernity, humanistic inquiry, comparative media systems, images and effects, media industries, and digital sovereignty. As an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, he is currently writing a book on war machines in the digital age, focusing on the projectilic imagery of extremist movements.

Presentations:
Yiping Xia (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
A.J. Bauer (University of Alabama) and Anthony Nadler (Ursinus College)
Heidi Tworek (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Sameen A. Mohsin Ali (University of Birmingham)
Benjamin Tainturier (médialab Sciences Po)

5:15 pm: Closing

6:00 – 7:00: A drink at 1 Saint Thomas

Contact

Email Chris Anderson (C.W.Anderson@leeds.ac.uk) or Daniel Kreiss (dkreiss@email.unc.edu) with any questions.

Sponsors

ICA Lead sponsor: Political Communication Division

ICA Co-sponsor: Ethnicity and Race in Communication Division

University of North Carolina Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP)

University of Leeds School of Media and Communication

Science Po médialab

Organized by

Chris Anderson (University of Leeds, School of Media and Communication),

Meredith Clark (Northeastern University, College of Arts, Media and Design),

Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Hussman School of Journalism and Media), and

Rachel Kuo (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science)

Sylvain Parasie (Sciences Po, médialab)

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