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February 4, 2011

Social Media and Social Movements: UMBC Perspectives on Protests in the Middle East

Dinah Winnick
Communications Manager
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Chelsea Haddaway
Communications Manager
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

UMBC faculty experts on social media and social/political movements in the Middle East have turned their attention to recent protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and across the region. They offer insight into the role of digital communications in coordinating protest efforts, representations of Egypt in the non-Western media, transnational Islamist movements, U.S. foreign and security policy, democratization and transitional justice.

Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor of sociology, is an expert on how digital communications play a role in political change, social organizing and community dynamics. Her analysis on the role of social media in Tunisia and Egypt has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on public radio. The UN Dispatch described her writing on Twitter and Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution as "the best, most balanced analysis of the role of social media in ousting Ben Ali." Tufekci is well-regarded for her blog and recent columns in The Atlantic on Wikileaks and Morosov’s "The Net Delusion." Contact her at or on Twitter @techsoc.

Rebecca Adelman, assistant professor of media and communication studies, can discuss the media’s visual representations of the protests in Egypt. She is especially interested in how these images fit with historic and contemporary visual rhetoric about Middle Eastern nations. Adelman is currently teaching a class on globalized mass media and media practices in non-Western countries and working on an interdisciplinary project that integrates political and cultural studies to discuss how images are created, defined and used in America’s war on terror. Contact her at or 410-455-2772 (o).

Brigid Starkey, lecturer in political science, has expertise on transnational Islamist movements in the Middle East, international negotiation, American foreign policy and security issues. She is the lead author of "International Negotiation in a Complex World," heralded as an “engaging book [that] moves us to a new era of international relations characterized by global diplomacy, nonstate actors, and complex, interlinked issues” by Daniel Druckman of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Contact her at or 410-744-0706 (o).

Devin Hagerty, professor and chair of political science, focuses on Iran and South Asia and can provide a comparative perspective on regional dynamics over time. He also has expertise on protest movements in the broader context of U.S. foreign and security policy. Hagerty is co-author of "Fearful Symmetry: Indo-Pakistani Crises in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons" and editor of "South Asia in World Politics." Contact him at or 410-455-2185 (o).

Brian Grodsky, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on democratization and the forms of transitional justice that outgoing leaders can face after they leave power. He is the author of the new book “The Costs of Justice” and the manuscript “Social Movements and the State.” A three-minute video on his current book is available online. Contact him at or 410-455-8047 (o).

Cell numbers available upon request.

Posted by dwinnick at February 4, 2011 11:44 AM