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Fulbright award brings US student to the New Political Communication Unit

Elon senior Mary Rouse

Mary Rouse, a political science major from Charlotte, North Carolina, will study strategic narratives in the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London, as she works toward our MSc graduate degree in media, power and public affairs.  

Mary moves to the United Kingdom in September 2015 for our graduate program, funded through a Fulbright U.S. Student Award. 

The prestigious international fellowship will help continue her ongoing work on “strategic narratives,” which, broadly defined, are the stories leaders tell about the international system, state identity and policies.

Mary has conducted research under the mentorship of Professor Laura Roselle, a leading international scholar on strategic narratives. Professor Roselle is the co-author of the book Strategic Narratives with Ben O'Loughlin and Alister Miskimmon. Mary hopes to eventually join the foreign service through the U.S. Department of State.

“As an aspiring diplomat, this master’s program will allow me to build on my undergraduate research pertaining to political communication while gaining a broader understanding of the media landscape that shapes our increasingly interconnected world,” Mary told Elon. “I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to study at Royal Holloway, University of London, among scholars pioneering the idea of strategic narratives in the international context necessary for successful public diplomacy.”

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 03:55PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

The End of the Material Archive? Closed workshop, 14 April 2015

The New Political Communication Unit will host an invite-only workshop on 14 April 2015 on the theme, The End of the Material Archive? The workshop stems from Andrew Hoskins' ongoing project Archives of War funded by the AHRC. 

The workshop is intended as a provocation to address the challenges of dealing with the transformations in scale and complexity of records with the transition to the digital and how this might shape future history. 

Key issues include:


The technological, security and general resource issues of handling digital records.

The impact of the loss of the subliminal context of paper on how records are searched, found, lost.

The cultural devaluation of paper (and its worth for retention) in light of the digital move.

Changing Military/Government/Public/National Archive expectations on what should be accessible to them and how and when.

The impact of the shift from the 30 to the 20 year rule in shaping the above.

The day features presentations from the Historical Branch (Army), The National Archive, and scholars Michael Moss (Northumbria), Elizabeth Shepherd (UCL), Catherine Moriarty (Brighton) and Debra Ramsey (Glasgow).

The workshop is intended as a provocation to address the challenges of dealing with the transformations in scale and complexity of records with the transition to the digital and how this might shape future history. 

Key issues include:

·         The technological, security and general resource issues of handling digital records.

·         The impact of the loss of the subliminal context of paper on how records are searched, found, lost.

·         The cultural devaluation of paper (and its worth for retention) in light of the digital move.

·         Changing Military/Government/Public/National Archive expectations on what should be accessible to them and how and when.

·         The impact of the shift from the 30 to the 20 year rule in shaping the above.

The day features presentations from the Historical Branch (Army), The National Archive, and scholars Michael Moss (Northumbria), Elizabeth Shepherd (UCL) and Catherine Moriarty (Brighton) and Debra Ramsey (Glasgow).

Posted on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 02:08PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Bumper new issue of Media, War & Conflict out

The April 2015 issue of Media, War & Conflict is out. Please find the table of contents below. Thanks as ever to the legion of anonymous reviewers who undertake peer-review for the journal. 

April 2015 8(1) issue:

Book reviews

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Posted on Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 11:48AM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

#GeneralElection2015 debate - join us tomorrow night

In the final Departmental Seminar of the academic year, we look ahead and discuss the 2015 General Elections. Nicholas Allen, Kaat Smets and Cristian Vaccari from the Department of Politics and International Relations, will participate in a round table discussion which starts with a short presentation by all three of them. Kaat Smets will talk about trends in voter turnout generally and youth voter turnout in particular, Cristian Vaccari will discuss the latest trends in media coverage of the election and the campaign, and Nicholas Allen will shed light on political leaders and the coalition. The last part of the round table discussion, which is chaired by Amy Smith (PhD Candidate at the NPCU), consists of a Q&A session.

The Tuesday Seminar starts at 5.15pm in FW101. If FW101 turns out to be too small to accommodate all guests we will move to the Founders Lecture Theatre.

Posted on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 03:12PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Dennis: new article in Civic Media Project and appearance on BBC Radio Scotland

NPCU PhD researcher James Dennis has published a new article in the Civic Media Project published by MIT Press. The collection, edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis, brings together over 100 case studies from practitioners and scholars all over the world. Dennis' contribution is based on his ongoing PhD research on the hybrid mobilization movement, 38 Degrees. You can read the article here.

Dennis also took part in a discussion on online political advertising with Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland. You can listen to the discussion here.

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 06:15PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

O'Loughlin to participate in event, The Paris Attacks and Eyewitness Media

On Friday 20 March 2015 Ben O'Loughlin will take part in a closed workshop in London, The Paris Attacks and Eyewitness Media: Legal and Ethical Issues for International News Providers. The workshop features participatants from wire agencies AFP, Reuters and AP, and broadcasters France 24 and the BBC World Service. The event is organised by Marie Gillespie and Claire Wardle.

This event examines the tensions that arise around the uses of eyewitness media during the coverage of breaking news events. Gillespie and Wardle have invited 30 journalists to join academics and the team at Eyewitness Media Hub to explore the ethical and legal dilemmas that newsrooms face when sourcing, verifying and publishing footage captured by eyewitnesses.

With a central focus on the Paris attacks in January, the event will be run as a closed forum, conducted strictly under the Chatham House rules. The aim is to create an open, honest and candid debate about issues and decisions that are of central and growing importance to citizens and to news cultures.

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 04:05PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Two New Leverhulme Trust-Funded PhD Studentships for September 2015

We invite applications for two Leverhulme Trust-funded PhD studentships that will be jointly managed by the Departments of Politics and International Relations, History, and Computer Science.

Royal Holloway, University of London has been awarded over £1 million from the Trust to support a total of 15 PhD research projects on the theme of Freedom and the Rights of the Individual in the Digital Age. In 2015, Royal Holloway will also launch a Magna Carta Doctoral Centre for Individual Freedom.

Studentship 1: Surveilling the Surveillants: Organizational Practices, Democratic Debate, and the Ethical Challenges of the Political Monitoring of Citizens
Lead Supervisors: Dr Cristian Vaccari and Professor Andrew Chadwick, New Political Communication Unit, Department of Politics and International Relations

This project will provide an in-depth account of how and why different types of political and policy organizations in contemporary Britain acquire large quantities of digital data to monitor and analyse citizens' behaviour. It will explore how these organizations feed the results of data analyses back into their everyday operational goals, such as influencing citizens' political information, attitudes, and behaviours. The student will engage in extensive and immersive ethnographic field research in a minimum of two and a maximum of four different organizations. Suitable organizations include political parties, interest groups, activist movements, media organizations, political consulting companies, polling organizations, global digital companies, and government departments. The project will explore organizational leaders' sense-making about "big data," and the ethical, political, and legal challenges involved in the deployment of computational techniques. The project will be able to draw conclusions about how these new practices may limit or promote individual freedom, democratic debate, and the public interest.

Studentship 2: Magna Carta for the Digital Generation: The Intersection of Youth Protest and Technology
Lead Supervisors: Dr Akil Awan (Department of History, and New Political Political Communication Unit, Department of Politics and International Relations) and Dr James Sloam (Youth Politics Unit and New Political Communication Unit, Department of Politics and International Relations)


Many young people today feel alienated from formal politics, disadvantaged by public policy, and even victimized by the state. The political disillusionment and disenfranchisement of young people should be of serious concern to us all. The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta offers a useful and timely opportunity to explore and address some of these concerns. This project will seek to answer three related questions: How might young people reclaim the legacy of Magna Carta today, particularly the right to protest? How can we understand the relationship between youth, protest, and technology in historical context, for example by comparing today's youth protest movements with those of the 1960s? And can digital media technologies play useful roles in mobilising publics and engendering change?

The studentships will begin in September 2015 and cover Royal Holloway Home/EU level fees and include a living allowance grant at Research Councils UK rates of £15,726 per year. Additional funding will be made available to support each student's research training and conference participation.

To apply for Studentship 1, please send the following by email to Dr Cristian Vaccari (cristian.vaccari@rhul.ac.uk) no later than April 10, 2015: a 1,000-word research statement outlining the qualities and ideas you would bring to this project, a writing sample such as a Masters essay or dissertation, and your CV.

To apply for Studentship 2, please send the following by email to Dr Akil Awan (akil.awan@rhul.ac.uk) no later than April 10, 2015: a 1,000-word research statement outlining the qualities and ideas you would bring to this project, a writing sample such as a Masters essay or dissertation, and your CV.

Interviews are expected to take place via Skype or in person in late-April 2015.

The College is committed to equality and diversity, and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

Posted on Friday, March 6, 2015 at 10:34AM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Ben O'Loughlin elected to ICOMM committee for 2015-17

Ben O'Loughlin has been elected to the International Communication executive committee of the International Studies Association (ISA). Details of the committee are below.

ISA ICOMM 2016 Leadership

Section Chair: Babak Bahador, University of Canterbury

Section Program Chair: Craig Hayden, American University (Section Chair for ISA 2017)

Executive Committee 

  • Amelia Arsenault, Georgia State University (2013 – 2016), Program Chair for ISA 2017 and Section Chair for ISA 2018
  • Steven Livingston, George Washington University (2014 – 2016)
  • Ben O’Loughlin, Royal Holloway, University of London (2015 – 2017)
  • James Pamment, University of Texas at Austin (2014 – 2016)
  • Shayna Plaut, University of British Columbia (2014 – 2016)
  • Shawn Powers, Georgia State University (2015 – 2017)
  • Jenifer Whitten-Woodring, University of Massachusetts Lowell (2015 – 2016) (Past Section Chair)
Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 12:16PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Weaponising information: Putin, the West and Competing Narratives of Ukraine @OtagoPolitics 24 Feb 2015

Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 11:25PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Strategic Narratives of Identity international symposium | University of Canterbury @UCNZ 

The University of Canterbury in New Zealand this week plays host to a major international symposium based upon the Strategic Narratives approach to international relations advanced by Alister Miskimmon, Ben O'Loughlin and Laura Roselle. The approach helps to explain how states and other actors in international affairs project and contest narratives about the past, present and future of international relations in order to shape the behaviour of others and steer global order - and history itself - in a certain direction. Strategic narrative research involves researching the formation, projection and reception of narratives in local and global media ecologies. Speakers at this symposium will address that most difficult of questions: how do audiences receive, interpret and respond to narratives of global order and identity?

Miskimmon and O'Loughlin will provide two keynote addresses, and the event features important speakers from China and Ukraine. 

A full programme for the event can be downloaded here

If you are in the area and wish to join, please RSVP to Gabriel Weibl gabrielweibl@gmail.com for catering purposes.

  • Date: Friday 27 February 2015, 9:00AM to 5:00PM
  • Location: Undercroft Seminar Room 101, Puaka-James Hight building, Ilam Campus
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 09:43PM by Registered CommenterAdministrator | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint
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