Dangerous Speech and Elections Research Fellowship

The Dangerous Speech Project (DSP) seeks research fellows to work during the upcoming U.S. presidential election cycle documenting dangerous speech, which is human expression (such as words or images) that can inspire people to commit or condone violence against another group of people.

During any political campaign, candidates and their supporters say things that are objectionable to others, especially their opponents.  But only some of that content will shift norms in favor of violence. Distinguishing between these types of speech and protecting freedom of expression are key to preserving democratic culture. In this project, research fellows will detect DS in real time and share it with teams working to counteract such speech and forestall political violence.

Each fellow will have a specific research topic. Potential topics include: 

  • Dangerous speech related to the January 6th trials
  • Anti-trans speech
  • Dangerous speech in campaign ads

The DSP, based in Washington, DC, is a team of researchers who study how speech leads to violence. We advise internet companies, governments, and civil society on how to anticipate, minimize, and respond to harmful discourse in ways that prevent violence while also protecting freedom of expression.

The fellowship will run for 16 months, from October 2023 to January 2025. Fellows will be paid 10,000 USD.


Fellowship Duties: 

  • Assemble a database of dangerous speech examp les using the Dangerous Speech Framework
  • Write a brief report introducing the social, political, and historical context of the dangerous speech being studied
  • Attend monthly meetings with other fellows
  • Submit regular, short, written research updates, which will be distributed to teams at partner organizations.



  • Previous DSP  fellows have been scholars, activists, and journalists. We also welcome applicants with other professional and educational backgrounds, and especially people whose lived experience informs their understanding of dangerous speech.
  • Applicants must have extensive cultural and political knowledge of the United States and must have native-level fluency in English. 
  • Fellows will be independent contractors, so need not be eligible for employment in the United States.


To Apply: 

To apply, please submit the following documents as separate attachments to [email protected]

  • A one-page cover letter explaining your background and interest in the fellowship
  • A one-page document describing an election-related theme of dangerous speech that you think warrants attention during the upcoming election cycle. The document should explain why you think this is an important topic to analyze. It should also include 2-3 examples of dangerous speech related to that topic. (This will not necessarily be the topic you will be studying, if selected). 
  • A short English-language writing sample, not edited by someone other than you, that demonstrates your ability to research and analyze information from various sources.


Applications are due by September 1, 2023. If you have any questions or would like to discuss an idea for a proposal, please contact [email protected]