CARGC members standing together and having a discussion
Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication


Since 2013, the CARGC Press imprint has published CARGC Papers, CARGC Briefs, and special issues of scholarly journals with partners like International Journal of Communication and Communication and the Public and other collaborators who share our vision, like the International Panel on Social Progress, a co-publisher of our first booklet. 

We envision our growth to include publishing original and translated books for teaching, research, and practice. In addition to publishing and promoting CARGC research, we seek to understand technologically and economically driven changes to knowledge production, dissemination, and access worldwide. CARGC Press publications offer original and timely contributions to pressing issues in global communications such as refugee mobile media practices, street art on the U.S.-Mexico border, rural communication in the U.S., and hacktivism in Turkey, authored by a range of global media scholars from CARGC Undergraduate Fellows to world renowned scholars such as Saskia Sassen and Arjun Appadurai.

Papers & Briefs

CARGC Papers on display

Toni Walker

This is a cover of CARGC Paper 16 by Toni Walker

This paper examines the continuous struggle over meanings of freedom in post-apartheid South Africa particularly for marginalized communities. It came as a result of the research project that Toni Walker pursued during her undergraduate fellowship at CARGC. In March 2020, she took a twelve-day research trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg to interview South African Black women, nonbinary, and self-identifying queer artists and visit the neighborhoods, art galleries, and cultural centers where these artists live and work. Through a careful and sensitive analysis of six multimedia pieces enriched with insights from her interviews with the artists, Toni Walker highlights the meanings of freedom that emerge when these artists are centered. CARGC Paper 16 not only situates culture and lived experiences as important focal points for navigating meanings of freedom, but it also argues that some of the most expansive meanings of freedom can be found in the cultural expressions of marginalized Black creators.

Read "Freeing Freedom: Decentering Dominant Narratives of Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa"

CARGC Special Report

Sara García Santamaría

CARGC Special Report Cover, white bust of a man with Spanish words written on the wall behind it.

This report examines the latest developments in the emergent wave of Cuban independent journalism, taking a special look at the impact of both digital technologies and recent regulation. As access to the Internet and digital technologies has increased, it has changed what it means to be a citizen and a journalist, on the Island. Attempts to convince journalists that a change from within the system is not only possible, but also more stable for the country, have been pervasive since the mid-1970s and have managed to deter journalists from looking for change outside the institutional channels. However, for some Cuban journalists this view has been changing in the last decade. The report consists of sections that analyze the impact of digital technologies on citizens’ life and on independent journalism, the intersection between legitimacy and legality in Cuban independent journalism, the consequences that a lack of “official” legitimacy and legality have on journalists’ careers, and the ways they have found to reassert their right to exist. The goal of this report is to stress the levels of complexity that traverse current transformations in the Cuban mediasphere and acknowledge that, growing up within the system, it is not straightforward for young journalists to break away from it. Such complexity needs to be taken into account if we want to go beyond binary and simplistic accounts of the contemporary Cuba.

Read English version of "Beyond “Technological Exception”: Emerging Debates in Cuban Independent Journalism" 

Read Spanish version of "Beyond “Technological Exception”: Emerging Debates in Cuban Independent Journalism"

Giang Nguyen-Thu

Cover of CARGC paper 14 showing tiled images of Vietnamese food

CARGC Paper 14, “Hectic Slowness: Precarious Temporalities of Care in Vietnam’s Digital Mamasphere,” by Giang Nguyen-Thu explores the temporal entanglements of care and precarity in Vietnam by unpacking the condition of “hectic slowness” experienced by mothers who sell food on Facebook against the widespread fear of dietary intoxication. Crafted during Nguyen-Thu’s CARGC Postdoctoral Fellowship, originally presented as a CARGC Colloquium, and drawing on thirty months of ethnographic fieldwork with Vietnamese mothers, CARGC Paper 14 paper offers an incredibly nuanced and fine-grained engagement with the everyday digital practices of Vietnamese mothers and grandmothers in cities such as Hanoi. This grounded attention to digital life and motherhood is, then, entered in productive dialogue with feminist and media scholarship in order to build a rich analysis that challenges our continued reliance on Western-centric notions such as autonomy to make sense of care, mothering, and media practices.

Read "Hectic Slowness: Precarious Temporalities of Care in Vietnam’s Digital Mamasphere"

Stanislav Budnitsky

Woman at protest with sign

CARGC Paper 13, “Toward a Cultural Framework of Internet Governance: Russia’s Great Power Identity and the Quest for a Multipolar Digital Order,” by CARGC Postdoctoral Fellow Stanislav Budnitsky was initially delivered as a CARGC Colloquium in 2018. As part of Budnitsky’s larger research project on the relationship between nationalism and global internet governance, CARGC Paper 13 considers the cultural logics underlying Russia’s global internet governance agenda. It argues that to understand Russia’s digital vision in the early twenty-first century and, by extension, the dynamics of global internet politics writ large, scholars must incorporate Russia’s historic self-identification as a great power into their analyses. 

Read "Toward a Cultural Framework of Internet Governance: Russia’s Great Power Identity and the Quest for a Multipolar Digital Order"

Saskia Sassen, Columbia University

Paper 12 cover, abstract image of gears

Initially delivered as the 2017 CARGC Distinguished Lecture in Global Communication, CARGC Paper 12 presents an analysis of cities as complex, diverse, and incomplete systems. For Sassen, it is precisely these features of urban forms – their complexity, diversity and incompleteness – that offer the possibility of a new type of politics, centered on new types of political actors. She is particularly interested in two features of global cities: their presence as strategic frontier zones where actors from different worlds can meet without clear rules of engagement and their strategic importance for hacking old orders.

Read "Cities Help Us Hack Formal Power Systems"

Julia Becker

Cover that shows murals along the US-Mexico border

What tools are at hand for residents living on the US-Mexico border to respond to mainstream news and presidential-driven narratives about immigrants, immigration, and the border region? How do citizen activists living far from the border contend with President Trump’s promises to “build the wall,” enact immigration bans, and deport the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States? CARGC Paper 11, “Dreamers and Donald Trump: Anti-Trump Street Art Along the US-Mexico Border,” answers these questions through a textual analysis of street art in the border region, examining Donald Trump’s rhetoric about immigration, and analyzing how street art situated at the border becomes a medium of protest in response to that rhetoric.

Read "Dreamers and Donald Trump: Anti-Trump Street Art Along the US-Mexico Border"

Bülay Doğan

Cover that shows man in a black hoodie with Soviet symbol over face

Through an empirical examination of the criminalization of the Turkish hacktivist group Redhack in social, legal, and cultural discourses, CARGC Paper 10 — “Contextualizing Hacktivism: The Criminalization of Redhack” by Bülay Doğan — explores the critical conflation of hacktivism with cyber-terrorism that enables states to criminalize non-violent hacktivist groups.

Read "Contextualizing Hacktivism: The Criminalization of Redhack"

Samira Rajabi

Cover that shows women holding political signs

CARGC Paper 9, “Mediating Possibility after Suffering: Meaning Making of the Micro-Political through Digital Media,” by CARGC Postdoctoral Fellow Samira Rajabi, is based on Rajabi’s 2018 CARGC Colloquium. Using three empirical case studies from Instagram, Rajabi examines the Trump administration’s 2017 travel ban as a traumatic experience and its digital mediation. First exploring a general understanding of trauma as it relates to global media studies, she then develops the notion of “symbolic trauma” to understand how Iranian-Americans mediated the travel ban’s effects.

Read "Mediating Possibility after Suffering: Meaning Making of the Micro-Political through Digital Media"

Rayya El Zein

Cover that shows woman singing on a stage

CARGC Paper 8, “Vamping the Archive: Approaching Aesthetics in Global Media,” by CARGC Postdoctoral Fellow Rayya El Zein, is based on El Zein’s CARGC Colloquium and draws its inspiration from Metro al-Madina’s Hishik Bishik Show in Beirut. CARGC Paper 8 weaves assessments of local and regional contexts, aesthetic and performance theory, thick description, participant observation, and interview to develop an approach to aesthetics in cultural production from the vantage of global media studies that she calls “vamping the archive.”

Read "Vamping the Archives: Approaching Aesthetics in Global Media"

Christopher Ali

Cover that shows electric wires across a large field

CARGC Paper 7 begins with the provocative question, “What Does It Mean to Be Rural?” In answering this question and taking up the difficult task to “theorize the rural,” former CARGC fellow Christopher Ali drew on critical scholarship in media and communication studies, political economy, critical geography, phenomenology, and mobility studies to point the way forward for a critical theory of rural communication. He argues that understanding the rural is essential to understanding the dynamics of our globalized and networked world.

Read "Thoughts on a Critical Theory of Rural Communication"

Mariela Morales Suárez

Cover that shows a street in Cuba

Drawn from Morales Suárez’s Penn Honors Thesis about the evolution of the Cuban media landscape, and developed during her CARGC Undergraduate Fellowship, CARGC Paper 6 presented findings from an empirical study of Cuban journalists, their decision-making practices, the motivations that drive them, the challenges they face, and the opportunities they crave. Morales Suárez conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a group of independent Cuban journalists recruited from twenty non-governmental publications during the spring of 2017.

Read "Emergent Voices and Evolving Agendas: Writing Realities in Cuba’s New Media Landscape"

Mimi Sheller

Cover that shows a woman near a body of water

This CARGC Paper drew on Sheller’s Distinguished Lecture and presented a project in collaboration with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and French curator Guillaume Logé. For many refugees, smartphones have become their most valuable asset. While theories of migration have long spoken of the “double absence” of migrants (both from their country of origin and from their host country), Sheller identified that certain researchers now allude to the “double presence” made possible by ICT. This paper explored the increasingly intrinsic overlap between physical and virtual mobility.

Read "On the Maintenance of Humanity: Learning from Refugee Mobile Practices"

Arjun Appadurai

Cover that shows abstract graphic of two figures

CARGC Paper 4 reprinted Appadurai’s October 2015 Distinguished Lecture at PARGC. In it, he warned against the dangers of “knowledge-based imperialism and scholarly apartheid” and offered possible ways to avoid them. Appadurai identified a growing rift between media studies and communication studies, with scholars concerned with institutions, power, resources, and large-scale data on one side, and scholars concerned with interpretation, texts, languages, and images on the other. Yet, despite the history of this divide, in CARGC Paper 4, Appadurai outlined what we can do to close the growing distance between media and communication studies.

Read "The Academic Digital Divide and Uneven Global Development"

Maria Repnikova

Cover that shows a person filming

CARGC Paper 3 grew out of Repnikova’s 2014 Postdoctoral Fellow Colloquium. In it, Repnikova rebuked a popular projection in comparing media landscapes based on a binary vision of free versus not free and objectivity versus propaganda. The frequent focus of Western media on censorship in authoritarian regimes, Repnikova argued, highlights the gap between media practices in democratic and non-democratic contexts. Challenging these conceptions, CARGC Paper 3 examined a journalism practice generally associated with democratic contexts—investigative reporting—in a regime most renowned for censorship and pervasive propaganda—contemporary China.

Read "Media Oversight in Non-Democratic Regimes: The Perspectives of Officials and Journalists in China"

Donatella Della Ratta

Cover that shows a person with a gun standing in a war zone

In CARGC Paper 2, Della Ratta explored how one 2013 Syrian television serial, Wilada min al-Khasira [Birth from the Waist] responded in real time to unfolding events of the Syrian revolution. She argued that the serial offers a living site for scholarly reflection on how cultural production and the power relations that shape it might shift, recombine, and adapt in the context of the three-year-old uprising turned into an armed conflict. Della Ratta mobilized the television serial to explore how the geopolitical relationships between Syrian and Gulf political elites had been dramatically reconfigured.

Read "Making Real-Time Drama: The Political Economy of Cultural Production in Syria’s Uprising"

Michael Curtin

Cover that shows a uniquely shaped building

CARGC Paper 1 drew on Curtin’s then book project, Media Capital, which compares and contrasts cities that have become centers of the global film and television industries, such as Bombay, Lagos, and Miami. In the paper, Curtin explored the implications of Chinese cultural policy within the broader context of media globalization, providing a framework for understanding the logics of media capital and the challenges confronting national governments, making comparisons to Arab, African, and Indian media, and reflecting on the prospects for creativity and diversity in film and television.

Read "In the Shadow of Official Ambition: National Media Policy Confronts Global Media Capital"

Yara M. Damaj, Michael Degerald, Kareem El Damanhoury, Katerina Girginova, Rowan Howard-Williams, Brian Hughes, Mohammed Salih, John Vilanova, and William Youmans

Cover that shows dark abstract graphic

The essays that comprise CARGC Briefs Volume I: ISIS Media began their lives as presentations at a small, by-invitation workshop, “Emerging Work on Communicative Dimensions of Islamic State,” held on May 3-4, 2017 at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication. Consistent with CARGC’s mission to mentor early-career scholars, the workshop was a non-public event featuring graduate students, some affiliated with the Jihadi Networks of Communication and CultureS (JINCS) research group at CARGC, and others from around the United States and the world, in addition to postdocs and faculty members. Parameters were purposefully broad to encourage independent thought and intellectual exploration: contributors were asked to write short essays focusing on any single aspect of Islamic State that was part of their research. The result is a group of fascinating essays: using mostly primary sources (textual, visual, or audio-visual), examining several media platforms and modalities, considering multiple levels of theoretical deployment and construction, and shedding light on various aspects of Islamic State communication against the broad back drop of history, ideology, and geopolitics, the following include some of the most innovative approaches to Islamic State to date, and promise a wave of fresh voices on one of the most important challenges to global order.

Read "CARGC Briefs Volume I: ISIS Media"

Latest Special Issues

International Journal of Communication, Volume 14, April 2020

Co-Editors: Marwan M. Kraidy & Marina R. Krikorian

How does the group that calls itself “Islamic State” communicate? How has Islamic State been understood and contested? This Special Section gathers emergent scholarly voices, many deploying humanistic inquiry, to probe a phenomenon that has predominantly been the province of social scientists, to explore and understand the players, patterns, and practices that have mediated Islamic State: the communicative ways in which the group has been studied, reported on, visualized, narrated, mocked, spoofed, and resisted. We use “mediation” rather than “media” to shift public discourse on Islamic State beyond the focus on technology that has characterized research on media and sociopolitical change generally, and Islamic State communication in particular. We seek to understand the historical, ideological, technological, and cultural complexity of Islamic State, meshing translocal struggles with global geopolitics. Mediation connotes a broad approach to media, which includes words, images, bodies, platforms, and the expressive capacities and meaning-making practices that communicators generate when they deploy these media.

Read "Mediating Islamic State"

Communication and the Public, Volume 2, Issue 2, June 2017

Co-Editors: Marwan M. Kraidy & Marina R. Krikorian

A comprehensive picture of dissent in the Arab uprisings requires an understanding of how revolutionaries have represented themselves and how various media, digital and otherwise, were incorporated in these communicative processes. Together, the articles in this Special Issue focus on the myths, ideologies, and histories that inspired slogans, murals, and poems of pointed social relevance and political potency. Originally presented at the inaugural biennial symposium of what was then the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication in 2014, these papers explore the creative permutations of symbols, words, images, colors, shapes, and sounds that revolutionaries deployed to contest despots, to outwit each other, to attract attention, and to conjure up new social and political imaginaries. The issue exemplifies one of the fundamental principles undergirding the institutional mission of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication: a robust dialogue between theoretical advances on one hand, and deep linguistic, cultural, historical knowledge of the world region under study, on the other.

Read "The Revolutionary Public Sphere: The Case of the Arab Uprisings"

International Journal of Communication, Volume 11, 2017

Editor: Marwan M. Kraidy

In the 1980s and 1990s, the question “Is there a global culture?” fueled heated debates as intellectual opponents debated the social, political, economic, and cultural consequences of globalization. Guest-edited by Marwan M. Kraidy, this Special Section of the International Journal of Communication by global communication scholars revisits the discussion on global culture in light of the digital revolution. Originally presented at CARGC’s second Biennial Symposium in April 2016, these articles do not pretend to provide a comprehensive answer to the existence or lack thereof of a global digital culture. Rather, they consider this question as an intellectual provocation to revisit how the universal relates to the particular, the global to the local, the digital to the material. Questions guiding these articles include: How do networks transmute individual autonomy and the sovereignty of the body? How is digital culture fomenting disjuncture across the globe in dissident, marginal, or rogue formations? How is the digital affecting the ways people work and play, how they experience and judge beauty, and how they protest? Most fundamentally, does digitization herald a new chapter in how we understand ourselves?

Read "Convergence and Disjuncture in Global Digital Culture"

Crafted at CARGC

CARGC books on display

Marwan M. Kraidy, Harvard University Press, 2016

Book Cover

Uprisings spread like wildfire across the Arab world from 2010 to 2012, fueled by a desire for popular sovereignty. In Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria, protestors flooded the streets and the media, voicing dissent through slogans, graffiti, puppetry, videos, and satire that called for the overthrow of dictatorial regimes. Investigating what drives people to risk everything to express themselves in rebellious art, The Naked Blogger of Cairo uncovers the creative insurgency at the heart of the Arab uprisings. While commentators have stressed the role of social media, Marwan M. Kraidy shows that the essential medium of expression was not texting or Twitter but the human body. Brutal governments that coerced citizens through torture and rape found themselves confronted with the bodies of protestors. Activists challenged authority in brazen acts of self-immolation, nude activism, and hunger strikes. The bodies of dictators became a focus of ridicule. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad was rendered as a pathetic finger puppet, while Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak became a regurgitating cow. As Kraidy argues, technology publicizes defiance, but the body remains the vital nexus of physical struggle and digital communication, destabilizing distinctions between “the real world” and virtual reality, spurring revolutionary debates about the role of art, and anchoring Islamic State’s attempted hijacking of creative insurgency.

A 2016 Times Higher Education Book of the Year; 2017 Outstanding Book Award, International Communication Association2017 Best Book Award, Division Of Global Communication & Social Change, International Communication Association; 2017 Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award, Political Communication Division, National Communication Association

View "The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World"

Toby Miller and Marwan M. Kraidy, Wiley, 2016

Book Cover

Global Media Studies is unique in its coverage of places, peoples, institutions, and discourses. Toby Miller and Marwan M. Kraidy provide a comprehensive how-to guide to the study of media, going far beyond the established English-language literature and drawing on the best methods and research from around the world. They look at political economy, global policymaking and governance, and the past and present manifestations of cultural imperialism. 

In addition to providing a survey of the field, the book introduces a new form of textual analysis, with a special focus on reality television, as well as models of audience research. The authors include original analyses of the US, European, Latin American, and Arab worlds, and case studies of mobile telephony, the impact of US media, and reality television. 

This original and uniquely global textbook will be an essential resource for students of global media and international communication.

View "Global Media Studies"

Maria Repnikova, Cambridge University Press, 2017

Book Cover

Who watches over the party-state? In this engaging analysis, Maria Repnikova reveals the webs of an uneasy partnership between critical journalists and the state in China. More than merely a passive mouthpiece or a dissident voice, the media in China also plays a critical oversight role, one more frequently associated with liberal democracies than with authoritarian systems. Chinese central officials cautiously endorse media supervision as a feedback mechanism, as journalists carve out space for critical reporting by positioning themselves as aiding the agenda of the central state. Drawing on rare access in the field, Media Politics in China examines the process of guarded improvisation that has defined this volatile partnership over the past decade on a routine basis and in the aftermath of major crisis events. Combined with a comparative analysis of media politics in the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, the book highlights the distinctiveness of Chinese journalist-state relations, as well as the renewed pressures facing them in the Xi era.

View "Media Politics in China: Improvising Power under Authoritarianism"

Donatella Della Ratta, Pluto Press, 2018

Book Cover

From ISIS propaganda videos to popular regime-backed soap operas and digital activism, the Syrian conflict has been profoundly affected by visual media. But what are the aesthetic, political, and material implications of this disturbing collusion between war and digital culture? Drawing on a decade of ethnographic research conducted in Syria and neighboring countries, Donatella Della Ratta examines here how the networked age shapes contemporary warfare, from conflict on the ground to the performance of violence on the screen. Her findings present a stark parallel to the digital democracy offered by techno-utopians, delving into the dark side of web 2.0 practices, where visual regimes of representation and media production are put in service of modes of destruction. A vivid account of the politics of Syria’s visual media, from commercial television to citizen journalism and Daesh propaganda, Shooting a Revolution offers fascinating insight into the media’s role in transforming conflict zones in the digital age.


View "Shooting a Revolution: Visual Media and Warfare in Syria"

Hatim El-Hibri, Duke University Press, 2021

Visions of Beirut full cover

In Visions of Beirut, Hatim El-Hibri explores how the creation and circulation of images have shaped the urban spaces and cultural imaginaries of Beirut. Drawing on fieldwork and texts ranging from maps, urban plans, and aerial photographs to live television and drone-camera footage, El-Hibri traces how the technologies and media infrastructure that visualize the city are used to consolidate or destabilize regimes of power. Throughout the twentieth century, colonial, economic, and military mapping projects helped produce and govern Beirut's spaces. In the 1990s, the imagery of its post-civil war downtown reconstruction cast Beirut as a site of financial investment in ways that obscured its ongoing crises. During and following the 2006 Israel/Hizbullah war, Hizbullah's use of live television broadcasts of fighting and protests along with its construction of a war memorial museum at a former secret military bunker demonstrate the tension between visualizing space and the practices of concealment. Outlining how Beirut's urban space and public life intertwine with images and infrastructure, El-Hibri interrogates how media embody and exacerbate the region's political fault lines. 

View "Visions of Beirut: The Urban Life of Media Infrastructure"

Samira Rajabi, Rutgers University Press, 2021

All My Friends Live in My Computer cover

All My Friends Live in My Computer combines personal stories, media studies, and interdisciplinary theories to examine case studies from three unique parts of society. From illness narratives among breast cancer patients to political upheaval among Iranian-Americans, this book examines what people do when they go online after they have suffered a trauma. It offers in-depth academic analysis alongside deeply personal stories and case studies to take the reader on a journey through rapidly changing digital/social worlds. When people are traumatized, their worlds stop making sense, and All My Friends Live in My Computer explores how everyday people use social media to try and make a new world for themselves and others who are suffering. Through its attention to personal stories and application of media theory to new contexts, this book highlights how, when given the tools, people will make meaning in creative, novel, and healing ways.

View "All My Friends Live in My Computer: Trauma, Tactical Media, and Meaning"