Northwestern and Georgetown universities continue joint program

Mohamed Zayani, Georgetown University in Qatar associate professor and the director of the Media and Politics Program

Georgetown professor Mohamed Zayani gives book talk at NU-Q

Mohamed Zayani, Georgetown University in Qatar associate professor and the director of the Media and Politics Program, spoke recently about digital activism with students at NU-Q.

The Media and Politics Program is offered jointly by Northwestern and Georgetown University and capitalizes on the strengths of both universities in providing students with an enhanced understanding of the role of mass communication in political, diplomatic, and policy-making processes, as well as the role of politics in the shaping of mass media products and policies.

The talk was based on his newly published book, Networked Publics and Digital Contention, which came out recently within the Oxford Studies in Digital Politics Series. It was an opportunity for the NU-Q students enrolled in Northwestern Professor John Downing’s communication, technology and society class to learn about online activism within a region that is marked by the youth bulge, but also about the broader theoretical challenges of studying changing communication practices in the Middle East.

“One of the key questions the book attempts to answer is how young people become politicized on the Internet,” Zayani said. “It explores the emergence of a digital culture of contention that helped networked publics negotiate their lived reality, reconfigure power relations, and ultimately redefine the scope of politics.”

The book features a foreword by John Downing who noted that “Networked Publics and Digital Contention offers a highly suggestive model for a multilevel approach to the complex dynamics of social movements over time.”

Commenting on his research experience Zayani said: “We are excited about the Media and Politics Program not only because it has proved to be popular among students, particularly those who value interdisciplinary inquiries, but also because it opens up opportunities for research collaboration and research synergies between faculty from Northwestern and Georgetown University.”

The joint program allows students from both universities to specialize in the study of journalism and communication in the political, diplomatic, and policy-making processes, as well as the role of politics in the shaping of mass media products and policies. It enables students to understand better how politicians, diplomats and policy-makers influence, and are themselves influenced by, the media in its myriad forms and formats, as well as introducing students to the ideological and political implications of the representations that the mass media generate.