Project Director:

Dr. Muzammil M. Hussain (PhD, University of Washington; MA, University of Washington; BS, University of Wisconsin) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, and Faculty Associate in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Hussain’s interdisciplinary research is at the intersections of global communication, comparative politics, and complexity studies. At Michigan, he teaches courses on research methods, digital politics, and global innovation. His published books include “Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring” (Oxford University Press, 2013), a cross-national comparative study of how digital media and information technologies have supported the opening-up of closed societies in the MENA, and “State Power 2.0: Authoritarian Entrenchment and Political Engagement Worldwide” (Ashgate Publishing, 2013), an international collection detailing how governments, both democracies and dictatorships, are working to close-down digital systems and environments around the world. He has authored numerous research articles, book chapters, and industry reports examining global ICT politics, innovation, and policy, including pieces in The Journal of Democracy, The Journal of International Affairs, The Brookings Institutions’ Issues in Technology and Innovation, The InterMedia Institute’s Development Research Series, International Studies Review, International Journal of Middle East Affairs, The Communication Review, Policy and Internet, and Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism. His website is, and he tweets from @m_m_hussain.

Graduate Research Managers:

Wei Chen (MA, Wuhan University; BA, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law) is a doctoral candidate at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Crisis Communication Management. She is interested in social media and social survey research. Her research focuses on the new media, public opinion studies and social management. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism of Law and Finance from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, and her Master’s degree in Communication from Wuhan University. Recently, she examined the relationships between Internet use and social perception, and her paper was presented at the ANPOR (Asian Network for Public Opinion Research) Annual Conference, in Japan.

Vishnupriya Das (MS, University of Oxford; BA, University of Oxford) is a Ph.D. student at University of Michigan’s department of Communication Studies and member of its Global Media Studies Initiative. She is interested in technology-mediated mobilities and transnational sexual publics. Her research focusses on the social imaginaries surrounding dating apps in India. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences and Master’s degree in Contemporary India, both from Oxford University. As part of her Master’s thesis she examined the relationship between gender, mobile phones and development initiatives in India. Following these two degrees Vishnupriya worked as a researcher and new media producer for a variety of development organizations (Save the Children, Generations for Peace, AID India, Restless Development, Himalayan Quests) across countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Jordan. Most recently, she worked with social enterprise ‘Gram Vaani’ to understand the impact of mobile phone based community media platforms on the ability of people from marginalized communities to contest traditional power hierarchies in rural areas of Bihar and Jharkhand. She tweets from @dia_das.

Nadiya Kostyuk (MSc, New York University; BA, City University of New York; BA, Kyiv National Linguistic University) is a doctoral student in Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. She has research interests in security issues and the cyber dimensions of international conflict. Her current work explores the relationships between kinetic and cyber operations, the peculiarities of hacker-government relationships, and looks at the issues of internet governance.

Fan Liang (MS, University of Glasgow; BA, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan’s Department of Communication Studies. He received his B.A. degree in Public Administration from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2009 and worked as a journalist covering economic issues until 2014, then completed his M.Sc. in Political Communication at the University of Glasgow. His masters thesis examined the comparative relationships between Internet use and protest participation in China and Hong Kong. Fan’s research interests include the political implications of new media, and the effects of communication on politics in non-democratic countries.

Undergraduate Research Assistants:

Nicholas Moore is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Michigan’s Departments of Communication Studies and Political Science, where he has previously worked on the Project on Comparative Digital Politics and Democratization at the Institute for Social Research’s Center for Political Studies. His research interests are in the increasing use of digital channels as political tools, where he seeks to support the integrated inquiry of the macro- and meso- levels of interaction increasingly defining our digital and globalized society. Nick is starting as Communications Coordinator at the UM’s Department of Philosophy in Fall 2017.

Jack Turman is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Michigan double majoring in political science and communication studies. He previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant with Professor Ann Lin in the Ford School of Public Policy and in collaboration with Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote. Through a phone banking experiment with three different scripts, this research team investigated which script mobilized Asian American voting turnout the most in southeastern Michigan during Michigan’s presidential primary. His research interests include political communication and how a candidate or party tries to change the message or narrative. Jack is starting as News Associate at CBS’ Face the Nation in Fall 2017.

Peiyu Yu is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, and minoring in Economics and Political Science. She has previously worked at the Institute for Social Research as a research assistant and is a Telluride Fellow. Peiyu is interested in public health and international humanitarian law, and starting at Harvard Law School in Fall 2017.

External Reviewers:

William H. Dutton is the Quello Professor of Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University, where he is Director of the Quello Center in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Department of Media and Information. Prior to joining MSU, in 2014, Bill was Professor of Internet Studies, University of Oxford, and Fellow of Balliol College, where he was the Founding Director of the Oxford Internet Institute. He came to Oxford in 2002 from his role as Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, where he remains an Emeritus Professor. In the UK, he was a Fulbright Scholar 1986-87, and was National Director of the UK’s Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT) from 1993 to 1996. Bill’s research is focused on the social and political implications of new communication and information technologies, such as the Internet, and the role of new policy and regulation that is reshaping technology and its societal implications. He has a particular focus of research on his conception of ‘The Fifth Estate’ of the Internet realm – an idea that has created a new research project and a book in progress. His recent publications on the social aspects of information and communication technologies include Society and the Internet (OUP 2014)  and The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies (OUP 2013, pbk 2014) and a four-volume series of readings on Politics and the Internet for Routledge, published in 2014.

Shobita Parthasarathy is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She studies policy and politics related to science and technology, as well as the politics of evidence and expertise in policymaking, in the United States, Europe, and India. She is the author of numerous articles and a book, Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT Press, 2007). Findings from this book, which compared the development of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer in the United States and Britain, helped to inform the 2013 US Supreme Court case over gene patents. Her second book, Patently Political: Life, Markets, and Morality in the United States and Europe, is forthcoming with University of Chicago Press. Comparing recent controversies over life form patents in the United States and Europe, it demonstrates how political culture, ideology, and history shape patent systems in fundamental ways. She is starting a new project that aims to develop a better understanding of grassroots innovation in India, which often takes place outside the global marketplace and is low-tech and small-scale, in the hope that it might usefully inform both our theories of innovation and our innovation and development policies. She is a Faculty Affiliate in UM’s Science, Technology, and Society and Feminist Science Studies programs. She sits on the Council of the Society for the Social Studies of Science, and the Governing Council of the Science and Democracy Network.

Daniela Stockmann is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Before joining the faculty at Leiden she received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2007) and an MA in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (2001). Her research interests include comparative politics with a specialization on China, public opinion and political communication, research design, and more recently digital methods, big data, and data science as an emerging field. She applies theories and methods developed in research on media and public opinion to authoritarian politics, placing China into a broader comparative context. Danie’s research has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Political Psychology, Political Communication, the China Quarterly, the Journal of Contemporary China, and other journals and edited volumes. Her book, Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China (Cambridge University Press, 2013) has received the 2015 Goldsmith Book Prize for the best academic book on media, politics, and public affairs by the Shorenstein Centre at Harvard University. In 2014 she started a new project tracing the impact of social media on authoritarian politics, funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (ERC).