Sarah Kendzior on political culture in the Digital Age

About Sarah Kendzior: Dr. Kendzior is an anthropologist and communications scholar who studies digital media and politics. Her research interests include the ways in which the internet affects political mobilization, privacy, trust and self-expression with a focus on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. Topic of the class: Political Culture in the Digital Age

What role does political culture play in shaping how people interact online? Since the Arab Spring, the internet has been hailed as a medium which allows citizens of authoritarian states to mobilize against their governments. Often overlooked is how the internet impacts relationships between the dissidents themselves. Dissidents struggle with problems of audience, authorship and anonymity exacerbated by both the online environment and by the political norms of an authoritarian state. In this class, we will read about the dissidents of Uzbekistan, one of the most repressive states in the world, and discuss how political culture shapes online interaction. Structure of the presentation:

  • Overview of the presentation
  • Uzbekistan political culture
  • Dramatic change in 2005
  • Bohodir
  • Ethnography
  • Internet propaganda
  • Uzbek Exiles
  • Uzbek children abroad



Sarah Kendzior. “Digital distrust: Uzbek cynicism and solidarity in the Internet Age”.American Ethnologist 38 (3): 559-575

Supplemental Readings

 Sarah Kendzior

The Strange Saga of a Made-Up Activist and Her Life—and Death—as a Hoax

Sarah Kendzior

Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan: An example of social control and censorship in the 21st Century


Tim Wedig on the success of global movements

About Tim Wedig: Dr. Wedig holds a PhD in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park. Research and teaching interests are focused on approaches to sustainable peacebuilding, conflict prevention, humanitarian intervention, and information technology. Dr. Wedig has over 15 years’ experience in designing and facilitating simulation exercises for classroom and professional training environments.

Topic of the class: What is the long-term experience and success of these movements/organizations? Have they continued to rely on the internet or have they established/added new methods/structures/tools? Is their impact still influential?

Structure of the presentation:

  • Chip’s Introduction
  • Wedig Background
  • Overview of the lecture
  • Anti-globalization
  • Free Burma
  • Dean for America
  • Conclusion


Democracy and Human Rights – Free Burma
Danitz and Strobel (1999). “The Internet’s Impact on Activism: The Case of Burma.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Transnational Activism – Anti-Globalization
Van Aiest and Walgrave (2002). “New Media, New Movements? The Role of the Internet in Shaping the ‘Anti-Globalization’ Movement.” Information, Communication, & Society.

Political Campaign – Dean for America
Hindman (2005). “The Real Lessons of Howard Dean: Reflections on the First Digital Campaign.” Perspectives on Politics.



Yan Li on digital divide and media education in China

About Yan Li: Since September, 2004, Dr. Li has been working at Institute of Educational Technology, College of Education, Zhejiang University. Her research interests include distance education, ICT education, media education, diffusion of educational innovations, and etc. In recent years, she has presided several research projects and has published series of academic papers or books in area of educational technology.

Topic of the class: 

The digital divide and media education in China

Structure of the presentation

Introduction by Prof. Chip Bruce
Introduction and the plan of the class
On Digital Divide
On Digital Divide in China
Media Education
Media Education and the teenagers
Answering Questions on Media Education


  • Introduction by Prof. Chip Bruce
  • Introduction and the plan of the class

  • On Digital Divide

  • On Digital Divide in China

  • Media Education

  • Media Education and the teenagers  

  • Answering Questions on Media Education

Jon Gant on digital communities

About Jon Gant: Dr. Jon Gant is a professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he serves as the Director of the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI). Jon is a national leader in the areas of digital inclusion and broadband adoption. In the past two years, Jon has published groundbreaking research in the areas of Internet access and use, including co-authoring the first report to examine broadband adoption among minority communities.

Topic of the class: Strategies for building digital communities Structure of the presentation:

  • Chip’s introduction
  • Understanding the internet
  • Broadband technology opportunity program
  • Digital mismatch
  • Open government
  • Corporate data
  • Freedom of Information
  • Lying on the internet
  • More inclusive technology


Jon Gant & Nicol Turner- Lee. 2011. Government Transparency: Six Strategies for More Open and Participatory Government.

Bertram C. Bruce on theory and history of political use of social media

Title of the class: Theory and history of political use of social media

Structure of the class:

  • What is social media?
  • What is hardware?
  • Digital democracy
  • Civil Society
  • Public Sphere
  • First wave
  • Asking Questions about social media


Fuchs, C. (2012). “Some Reflections on Manuel Castells’ Book “Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age.” Triple-C.



Sarah Gaby on Occupy Online

Guest Speaker: Sarah Gaby (UNC-Chapel Hill, Sociology)

About Sarah Gaby: Sociology doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill, research interests include the ways in which sites such as Facebook and Twitter work to link supporters of social movements.

Structure of the presentation

  • Introduction of Sarah Gaby made by professor Chip Bruce.
  • Introduction by Sarah Gaby
  • On Civil Rights  Movement
  • Occupy Movement (preparation, on the ground and online)

Introduction of Sarah Gaby made by professor Chip Bruce.

Sarah Gaby introduces her interest  in Occupy movement and the research she conducted together with Neal Caren.

Has Social Media changed the ways in which social movements get organized? Take a look at Civil Rights movement.

How Occupy Movement came about

Watch also:

Preparations for the Occupy Movement

Occupy Movement as it developed on the ground

Occupy Movement online


Sarah Gaby and Neal Caren. 2012. “Occupy Online: How Cute Old Men and Malcolm X Recruited 400,000 US Users to OWS on Facebook.” Social Movement Studies.

Clay Shirky. 2011. “The Political Power of Social Media.” Foreign Affairs.

Watch also: