Join the Journal of International Affairs to celebrate the launch of our 2018 Special Issue on Disinformation and Contentious Narratives at 6:00 PM on Monday, 1 October 2018. Attendance is free. A reception to follow with light food and drinks to encourage additional discussion among guests and authors about this important topic.

The event will take place on the 15th floor of Columbia University's International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St, New York, NY 10027). Space is limited. RSVP via Eventbrite or contact us at jia@columbia.edu for more information.

The event will also be livestreamed on our Facebook page here.


Disinformation is increasingly at the forefront of global public policy discussions from Brexit and the 2016 U.S. elections to ethnic violence in Myanmar and protests in the Middle East. The Journal of International Affairs' special issue brings together leading practitioners and academics from around the world to illuminate and analyze aspects of this contentious topic.

The launch event will feature a dynamic discussion format called the Long Conversation, where authors interact one-on-one to discuss their perspectives on contentious narratives and ask probing questions about their work. The Long Conversation will feature the following speakers: 

Steven Livingston is a professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs at  George Washington University. He holds appointments in the School of Media and Public Affairs and the Elliott School of International Affairs. He is also a senior fellow at the Carr Center at the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University. He has had recent fellowships or visiting appointments at the Freie Universität-Berlin, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, St. Galen University in Switzerland, and the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He serves on the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the Technology Advisory Board of the International Criminal Court at The Hague. With Gregor Walter-Drop, Livingston edited Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood (Oxford University Press, 2014). Among other publications, including approximately 50 articles and chapters, he has written Africa’s Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Security and Stability (NDU Press, 2011) and Africa’s Information Revolution: Implications for Crime, Policing, and Citizen Security (NDU Press, 2013).

Anya Schiffrin is the director of the Technology, Media, and Communications specialization at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Her research includes investigative journalism in the Global South, African reporting on oil and mining, business sustainability for media startups in the Global South, and media trust and online disinformation. Schiffrin spent 10 years working overseas as a journalist in Europe and Asia and was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1999–2000. Schiffrin is on the Global Board of the Open Society Foundations and the advisory board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute and the American Assembly. Her most recent books are African Muckraking: 75 Years of African Investigative Journalism (Jacana 2017) and Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Reporting from Around the World (New Press, 2014).

Hans Klein is Associate Professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy and currently the Microsoft Visiting Professor of Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. Klein’s research areas include internet governance, institutional theory, and alternative media. Klein’s current research focus is on holistic modeling of Internet governance and analyzing the intersection of domestic alternative media and cross-border news as it plays out in Russia’s RT.com. Klein was the chair of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, where he led its participation in the institutional design of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). He has served on the board of Cambridge Community Television and the WRFG/Radio Free Georgia. Klein has a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, an MS in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from MIT.

Michael Bossetta is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. His research uses computational methods to investigate politicians’ and citizens’ use of social media during elections. He is the producer and host of the Social Media and Politics Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and all downloadable podcasting apps. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelBossetta and the podcast @SMandPPodcast.

Matthew Levinger is Research Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University. He directs the National Security Studies Program as well as the Master of International Policy and Practice Program at GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Previously, Levinger was Founding Director of the Academy for Genocide Prevention at the  U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. At the Holocaust Museum, he played a key role in launching “Crisis in Darfur,” a joint initiative of the Museum and Google Earth, as well as the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Levinger’s research and teaching have focused on conflict analysis and prevention, as well as the history of nationalism, revolutionary politics, and genocide. His handbook Conflict Analysis: Understanding Causes, Unlocking Solutions was published by the U.S. Institute of Peace Press in 2013. He is also the author of Enlightened Nationalism: The Transformation of Prussian Political Culture, 1806-1848 (Oxford, 2000) and coauthor of The Revolutionary Era,  1789-1850 (Norton, 2002). He received his B.A. from Haverford College and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago.

Ben Nimmo researches patterns of online disinformation and influence for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (@DFRLab). A former journalist with dpa, the German press agency, and a former NATO press officer, he specializes in exposing attempts to manipulate online discourse through false narratives or false social-media accounts. His research into bots on Twitter has included exposing a Russian botnet that was amplifying election-related messaging in Germany, an American botnet amplifying political messaging in South Africa, and a 100,000-strong botnet that was used to harass journalists writing on Russia.

Matthew J. Flynn is Professor of Military History at Marine Corps University, where his interests include cyber warfare, great power status, preemptive war, and  piracy. He is the author of numerous publications, including a co-authored study entitled Washington & Napoleon: Leadership in the Age of Revolution and the book  First Strike: Preemptive War in Cyber Modern History. Professor Flynn also operates the website Newconflict.org, which is dedicated to examining the new conditions shaping global conflict.

Jonathan Albright is the Director of the Digital Forensics Initiative at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. Also a 2016-7 faculty associate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, he was formerly an assistant professor at Elon University, where he helped develop the first undergraduate media analytics major in an accredited school of communication. He is a co-author of Pew Internet’s report, “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online,” Albright's work is frequently featured in outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, The New Yorker, and Wired, amongst others. His research has been cited in congressional and senate hearings involving technology companies' response to dis/misinformation, state-sponsored propaganda, and coordinated influence campaigns. Albright's projects include mapping emergent news ecosystems to better understand how information is circulated and amplified across platforms, social networks, and media channels.

Matt Skibinski is the general manager of NewsGuard, a new service that fights unreliable news by employing trained journalists to rate and review news and information websites for accuracy and accountability. In his role at NewsGuard, Matt has helped develop systems for identifying, tracking, and objectively rating thousands of news and information websites based on journalistic criteria--including propaganda, misinformation, disinformation and other forms of unreliable news. Prior to his work at NewsGuard, Matt was the head of publisher success at Press+ and Piano Media, where he helped news organizations generate from their readers by selling subscriptions and memberships for quality journalism. After leaving Press+, he has consulted with hundreds of news publications on digital strategy and business models through Empirical Media and The Lenfest Institute.

Laura Livingston is the Programs Manager at Over Zero. She previously advised human rights, transitional justice, and rule of law programming in the Balkans, Sri Lanka, and East Africa.