The International Communication Section (ICOMM)

of the International Studies Association

Contentious Narratives Conference – April 2-3, 2018

Sponsored by the Carr Center at Harvard University, the World Bank, and George Washington University, the Contentious Narratives: Digital Technology and the Attack on Liberal Democratic Norms conference will take place at the GW Elliott School on April 2-3, 2018 in Washington, DC. The full agenda is available here. The conference is organized by ICOMM Members Steven Livingston and Babak Bahador.

The conference will focus on the effects of disinformation on peacebuilding and on efforts to document human rights abuse and war crimes. Trolls, bots — bits of computer code designed to augment social media activities — have emerged as disruptive elements in foreign and domestic politics.

Soon, generative adversarial network technology — the ability to invert words and images onto video feeds, even live ones — will deepen the epistemological murk surrounding fact-based analysis and discourse.

The conference begins with a review of the strengths and challenges associated with the role of digital technology in human rights documentation and peacebuilding. From there, we consider specific cases involving the tension and struggle between, on the one hand, the use of digital technology to verify and document events, and, on the other, the uses of technology to obfuscate and delude. We will then turn to a consideration of potential remedies.

The Journal of International Affairs at Columbia University will publish a special issue in association with the conference. Papers will be drawn from conferees and from select external proposals.


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This entry was posted on March 1, 2018 by .
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