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CGCS Visiting Scholar Lunchtime Discussion

October 15, 2014
12:15PM - 01:45PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 300
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Categories: Seminar

Please join us to welcome CGCS’s visiting scholars to the Annenberg community and engage in an informal discussion. The scholars will be presenting their research interests, areas for potential collaborations, and pertinent media policy issues relevant to their regions and areas of expertise. Lunch will be served.



Efrat Daskal: My study aims to shed light on the actual role of civil society organizations in defining and framing digital rights by analyzing, in depth, the activities of at least two organizations, both of which fought in the last year against governmental violations of citizens’ privacy. The Israeli Digital Rights Movement, which campaigned against the creation of a biometric database; and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the US, which battled with the NSA over its surveillance activity. My research will explore the similarities and the differences between these organizations while focusing on the following research questions: (1) How do they define and construct the meaning of the right for privacy in the political and judicial arena? (2) How they educate the public and raise awareness of this right? In order to answer these questions, I plan to conduct content and discourse analyses of the organizations’ textual products and in-depth interviews with several key activists.

Fangzhou Ding: I will briefly introduce myself and present three projects that I intend to conduct here at Annenberg. The first project is “Social Media Use and Role Perceptions of American Journalists,” for which I am seeking fieldwork opportunities at newsrooms in U.S. news organizations. The second project is my PhD dissertation on “Social Media as Political Arena: Dynamics, Processes and Consequences of Digital Activism in China.” The third and final project is a big data and visualization project, “Global Communication Landscape: A Visualization Study of Communication Flow of the Global Warming Issue on Twitter.” I spend time at Van Pelt Library every week to cultivate my Python skills, which I hope to use for data collection. Collaborations are welcome for all my projects.

Mathias Klang: On one hand, there seems to be an inherent distrust of anonymity in political speech, as if the speaker is not to be trusted since she is not prepared to face the criticism her words may incur.For example, theories of civil disobedience stress that disobedience must be done openly if it is to retain the moral high ground. On the other hand, the importance of anonymity in ensuring a fearless criticism of political ideology is enshrined in our voting system. Voting is done behind a screen so that others do not influence our political choices. The growth of social media as a channel of individual communication is problematic as the organizations behind the platforms strive to gather data and identify the user in order to become better marketers. These strategies of identification (e.g. real-name policies, data analysis) are a threat to individual anonymity and to the future of political communication.

James Losey: Is the internet borderless? The potential of a global information infrastructure and cultural exchange gives the illusion of a borderless internet, but the reality is a complex web of national regulations, with some countries controlling information flows to maintain stability and silence dissent. This talk will give an overview of the tension between global communications and national-bounded internets, and will discuss why researching the role of the state is important for understanding the role of democracy and citizenship in a networked world.

Ting Rong: Recently, China’s rapid economic development has caused various dire environmental pollutions. Consequently, the number of environmental protests has multiplied in rural and urban China. My research focuses on the logic of collective actions in the new media age, based on a study of environmental protest cases in rural and urban China. My study aims to shed light on the two following questions: (1) What are the mechanisms (including motivation, recruitment, and consequence) of the environmental collective actions in China? (2) What has been the impact of the new media on environmental collective actions from 2003-2014? (3) What are the differences and similarities between rural and urban environmental collective actions?

Elder Tanaka: Our doctoral research analyses three American gangster films of the 1930s and 1940s: Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931), Manhattan Melodrama (W. S. Van Dyke, 1934), and Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1947). Through the examination of both the gangster character in Hollywood and the conditions of production of the gangster films in that particular historical period, our research discusses two main questions: First, the problematic depiction of the working-class immigrants in the gangster genre, and second, the impact of the conservative movements (Prohibition, Production Code Administration and McCarthyism) on the American culture industry.

Tingrong Zhi: There are several public opinion fields in China, including the state-dominated, the media-influenced and the public-participated. Recently, the focus of the state, the media, and the public is on the Chinese Dream, social governance, and civil life. The architecture of public opinion fields in China consists of sections and levels that function as a pyramid, with several areas worthy of investigation. My other research interests include public opinion, new media, and international relations.