Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Carnegie Provides Major Global Media Grant; New Website Reflects Innovation in Int'l Relations

February 15, 2011

How are complex global networks, flows, and governance eclipsing state-centric models of the world? What ethical relationships, repercussions, and responsibilities are involved in the study, representation, and practice of world politics? What are the best practices and most effective tools for influencing experts and engaging the public on critical global issues?

These are the questions being addressed by the Global Engagement through Innovative Media Project at the Watson Institute, which has been recast with a third major grant from the Carnegie Corp. of New York and cast in a new light on a redesigned Global Media Project website.

“In the course of our investigations, and with the increasing acceleration, complexity, and interconnectivity of world politics, it became increasingly evident that global security, in the sense of how we understand, manage and seek to better an endangered world, could not be understood in isolation from global media,” says Institute Professor James Der Derian, who leads the project. “Global media, in its multiple and converging forms, has become a key driver as well as player in military, diplomatic, and other transnational affairs. Global media, from broadcast news to public diplomacy and jihadist Internet videos to mobile-phone images of official atrocities, represents the most pressing problems as well as the most promising opportunities for the future. It is the means by which we see others, others see us, and we might reflexively see ourselves through the eyes of others.”

Global Media research project accomplishments supported by Carnegie to date have included:

Human Terrain, an award-winning documentary film on the US military’s shift to a counterinsurgency strategy that includes the highly controversial use of academics to win hearts and minds in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Global Security and Sustainable Diplomacy conferences in Cyprus and at Watson, captured in an edited volume titled Sustainable Diplomacies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
• Innovating Global Security and Global Media Lecture Series, attracting a wide range of rising as well as accomplished scholars and practitioners
Radio Open Source, producing regular talk-show podcasts “with a global attitude,” in collaboration with host Christopher Lydon
• Global Security Regimes in the Making workshop, initiating a new collaborative research project on militarization and securitization with Science Po/Paris
• Global Security Matrix, revised for secondary education audiences, in collaboration with the Watson-affiliated Choices Program
• Global Media Senior Seminar and Global Media Lab, taught for the fourth year and providing Brown undergraduates a unique course on the history, theory, and production of global media

With the new support from Carnegie, Der Derian intends to launch new initiatives as well as expand existing activities, with new research collaborations and innovative modes of media diffusion. Plans include:

•  A recast lecture series, seminars, and workshops under the new title of Global Engagement through Innovative Media
• Collaboration with Watson’s Global Conversation initiative to produce student media on innovative international trends
• Expanded Global Security Regimes in the Making initiative, to include collaborative research and workshops on militarization and securitization with Science Po/Paris, PUC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal
• An e-book version and a study guide of the Human Terrain documentary
• Updated and revised Global Security Matrix 3.0
• Extension of the Global Media Senior Seminar and Global Media Lab into its fifth year of teaching Brown students the history, theory, and production of global media
• Continuing the Visiting Global Media Fellows Program, inviting recognized international documentary filmmakers.

As Der Derian puts it: "With this renewal we intend to take a big next step: to analyze, judge, and produce global media that can help create the world we want, rather than reproduce the world we fear."