Digital Civil Society Lab

Postdoctoral Fellow Projects

DCSL hosts exceptional early-career scholars from various disciplines, including the social sciences, humanities, law, computer science, and engineering. Our postdocs engage in research on a wide range of priority issues. These notably include the relationship between data and social movements; the digitization of public goods like libraries; public-private partnerships involving data sharing; the ethics of technological design; the roots, spread, and effects of mis/disinformation;  and the history of digital rights advocacy.

Current Projects

FOIA data, Civil Society and Immigration Enforcement

This project uses Freedom of Information Act requests to expand access to immigration enforcement data for civil society organizations and the public. This data contributes to identifying opportunities for advocacy and litigation by civil society organizations, and to evaluating the effectiveness of civil society efforts to protect immigrants. (2021-2022)

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Automating Suppression

This research examines how innovations in technology—including artificial intelligence, surveillance, and big data analytics—reshape authoritarian power, influence, and control. It explores how computational propaganda is being used to automate suppression and dissuade the political participation of women, minorities, and activist communities online. (2020-2022)

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Youth, Media Activism, and Communication Counterpower

This project investigates how young activists in Canada, the US, and Cambodia engage in contentious politics and social movements via social media. Based on field research with 100 young activists, it examines how they incorporate social media tactics into their political repertoires to navigate state and corporate digital surveillance. (2020-2022)

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Diffusion and Effects of Disinformation

Based on advanced computational techniques, including large-scale data analysis, online experiments, and  computational simulation, this research aims to build novel theoretical frameworks and empirical analyses to further our understanding of disinformation, increasing political polarization and the manipulation of public discourse. (2020-2022)

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Previous projects

Public Education, Philanthropy and Civic Advocacy

This project explores the changing role of civic advocacy in American politics, focusing on the rapid increase in philanthropy in public schools. It combines archival research, social media data on advocacy and issue mobilization, and a national, longitudinal dataset of private and public spending in public education. (2019-2020)

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Libraries, Cultural Heritage Institutions, and Digital Civil Society

This project explores how digital civil society interacts with libraries and other cultural heritage institutions. It examines citizens’ mobilization through libraries, like the Internet Archive, as examples of digital civil society in action and identifies relevant legal frameworks to build accessible infrastructure for online content. (2018-2020)

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An History of Cyberlibertarianism

This project traces the circulation of cyberlibertarianism throughout the US technology community from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the Microsoft antitrust trial in 1999. It explores how widely different groups – from hackers and tech executives to civil liberties advocates – contributed to the apparition of cyberlibertarianism. (2018-2020)

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Free Basics and the African Digital Civil Society

This project traces the expansion of Facebook’s Free Basics program across Africa. By combining archival research and an innovative VPN-based method, it explores big tech’s growing engagement with civil society organizations; and the landscape of digital rights advocacy across Africa. (2018-2020)

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Distribute, Randomize, Rotate: Democratic Values in Design for Decentralized Data

This project seeks to develop theories of normative ethics for localized and decentralized communication, consensus and trust models such as mobile mesh networks and distributed multiparty cryptographic methods. (2017-2018)

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Exploring Public-Private Data Hybrid

This project explores how the distinction between public and private information goods are blurred through data sharing partnerships and services that combine digital public resources with citizen-generated and commercially-owned data. (2017-2018)

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