Joan Donovan Photo

Joan Donovan

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


This memes war.

The internet isn’t singular – it is a tool, a tactic, and a territory. The internet is home to an accumulation of technologies that challenge relations of, relationships to, power globally. This course is designed to cultivate an understanding of what vulnerabilities exist within and across networked media. These media manipulation and disinformation campaigns are organized for a variety of purposes, from influencing political elections to mainstreaming extremist worldviews. In this course, we will focus on the negative impacts of social change by analyzing current media manipulation tactics and techniques, and the detrimental effects disinformation campaigns have on political communication and civil society.

From technologists to journalists; activists to policy makers. This course welcomes students interested in the implications of media manipulation and disinformation campaigns on public policy, journalism, social movements, technology, and democracy. Throughout this course, students will learn: what criteria defines a manipulation campaign, when is manipulation likely to occur, what types of content and political issues are most likely to be manipulated, and more. This course is designed to address how social movements, political parties, governments, corporations, and other networked groups engage in active efforts to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society.