Media Literacy, Civic Engagement and Democracy Project
MLCED is a multiyear project to inform and engage the southern Maryland community on the important relationship between the media and American democracy.
September 27, 2022
The Devil is in the Details:
When Conspiracies are Good,
Bad and Ugly
Presented by Brandi Collins-Dexter
Associate Director of Research,
Technology and Social Change
Project Shorenstein Center on Media,
Politics and Public Policy (Harvard University)
Glendening Annex at 5 p.m.
October 24, 2022
Presented by SMCM Faculty
Glendening Annex at 11:30 a.m.
November 10, 2022
Presented by Shauna Siggelkow
Director of Digital Storytelling
for Define America
Cole Cinema at 5 p.m.
Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Hilda C. Landers Library
Center for the Study of Democracy
St. Mary's College of Maryland,
the National Public Honors College
April 12th at 4:00. Make Memes. Eat Pizza
On Tuesday, April 12th, 2022 from 4:00-6:00, we discussed how memes can function as propaganda, the four keys to crafting a message that spreads, and how what's old is new in the world of virality and propaganda. Student participants took what they'd learned to create their own memes designed to spread a message of their own choosing.
Most importantly, we had pizza for all attendees!!
On March 1st, Dr. Cathy Buerger delivered a lecture in the Blackistone Room entitled "Dangerous Disinformation: The Rhetoric of January 6th and Where We Go From Here". In addition, Dr. Buerger held a workshop entitled "Countering Hateful Speech Online: An Introduction to Counterspeech".
Dr. Buerger is the Director of Research for the Dangerous Speech Project, a non-profit organization that studies speech that inspires violence between groups of people and investigates ways to mitigate this violence without suppressing freedom of speech. The organization works primarily in four avenues:
1. Tracking and studying dangerous speech in many countries
2. Researching effective responses to dangerous speech and other forms of harmful expression
3. Advising social media and other tech companies on their policies, and encouraging them to engage in transparent research
4. Teaching dangerous speech ideas to a variety of people who use them to study and counter dangerous speech
You can find a recording of the lecture below, as well as recordings of several other lectures Dr. Buerger has given.
On February 8th, 2022, The Center for the study of Democracy and the Library presented a Lunch and Learn program titled "Reflections on the Anniversary of January 6th." Dr. Antonio Ugues presented the findings of the MLCED Survey Research Project on public attitudes toward January 6th, 2021. This was followed by a community conversation about the study.
On January 25th at 7:00 pm, The Center for the Study of Democracy and The Library hosted a virtual screening of the PBS Frontline Documentary American Insurrection. This film follows a Pro Publica investigative reporting project on far-right and white-supremacist groups in the United States and the increasingly bolder tactics they've used from the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA to the January 6th attack and beyond.
On October 14th, 2021 the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Library hosted Dr. Rene DiResta of the Stanford Internet Observatory. Dr. Diresta is the Technical Research manager at the Observatory, a regular contributor to Wired and The Atlantic, and has advised The United States Congress and State Departments on the Russian Internet Agency's attempts to interfere with U.S. democracy.
DiResta studies the way that narratives, including potentially harmful misinformation, spread across traditional, digital, and social media, taking into account factors like crowd dynamics and platform algorithms. She is particularly interested in the way that users from domestic activists to foreign governments, can coordinate efforts to influence dominant media narratives, and this was the focus of her talk.
Testimony Before the Senate Intelligence Committee - August 1st, 2018
Keynote Address: Black Hat USA 2020
Renee DiResta on The Open Mind: Ethical and Societal Implications of Technology
Essays and Research Reports
On April 19th, 2021, The Media Literacy and Democracy Project hosted it's inaugural speaker, Dr. Joan Donovan. Dr. Donovan is the Research Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she leads the Technology and Social Change Project. Dr. Donovan specializes in media manipulation and disinformation campaigns, as well as online extremism and adversarial media movements. She is the creator of the Media Manipulation Casebook, an online platform for research into media manipulation and disinformation campaigns, as well the author of the Meme War Weekly newsletter, and the host of the Big, If True webinar series.
Her lecture covered misinformation and disinformation in our media ecosystem, the role of political and media elites in disinformation campaigns both online and offline, the origin and spread of conspiracy theories, and the impact of media manipulation campaigns on American Democracy.
What is Media Manipulation?
The True Costs of Misinformation: Producing Moral and Technical Order in a Time of Pandemonium