Professor Maria Repnikova to give keynote speech on “Advancing Research on Communication under Authoritarianism”
On the 21st of September 2022, the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture will host Professor Maria Repnikova (Georgia State University) for a talk on “Advancing Research on Communication under Authoritarianism”. Professor Repnikova’s talk will be open to the public and will also serve as the keynote speech for the eighth annual conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics, a leading interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the media and politics in a globalized world.
Date: 21 September 2022
Location: Brockington Building, room U0.20
An abstract of Professor Repnikova’s talk and a short biography follow.
In the current moment of resurgent authoritarianism and democratic fragility, it is timely to reflect on creative approaches to researching political communication in non-democratic contexts. Drawing on past research on media politics in China and Russia, as well as on the current project on China’s diplomatic footprint in Africa, and on other studies in the field, this talk calls for de-essentializing our treatment of political communication under autocracy. Complicating labels like “digital authoritarianism” and “digital iron curtain,” this talk attempts to showcase the dynamism and complexity of political communication practices carried out in and by non-democratic regimes. Specifically, the analysis will interrogate the binary of democracy and autocracy by delving into the evolving repertoire of creative mediatized expression in China and Russia, as well as by exploring some surprising areas of convergence and divergence in how China and the West practice public diplomacy. As part of this reflection, the talk will also address some analytical and methodological tools for expanding our study of political communication to non-democratic contexts, including the importance of comparative case studies and grounded ethnographic fieldwork, as well as the challenges of doing such work in the current political climate.
Professor Maria Repnikova is an expert on Chinese political communication, and an Associate Professor in Global Communication at Georgia State University. She has written widely on China’s media politics, including propaganda, critical journalism, digital nationalism and soft power. Dr. Repnikova is the author of the award-winning book, Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism (Cambridge 2017), as well as the recent, Chinese Soft Power (Cambridge Global China Element Series). Her public writings have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Atlantic, amongst other publications. Other than working on China, Repnikova does comparative work on information politics in China and Russia. Most recently, she has been researching and completing a monograph on Chinese soft power in Africa, with a focus on Ethiopia. Dr. Repnikova holds a doctorate in politics from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar. In the past, she was a Wilson Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center (2020-2021), a visiting fellow at the African Studies Center at Beijing University (2019), and a post-doctoral fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication (2014-2016), amongst other positions.