*** Deadline Extended to September 15, 2020 ***

The Dangerous Speech Project (DSP) is accepting proposals for its 2020-2021 Dissertation Fellowship, from current PhD candidates working on research related to dangerous speech and/or efforts to counteract it. Dangerous speech is any form of human expression (such as words or images) that can inspire people to commit or condone violence against another group of people.

Based in Washington, DC, the DSP 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.

Fellowship Duties: 

  • Attend a 1-hour virtual training on dangerous speech
  • Take part in quarterly check-in calls to discuss research progress
  • Produce a research report (10-15 pages), which will be published on the DSP’s website


  • Applicants may be graduate students of any nationality, in any discipline, currently enrolled in a PhD program at an accredited university in any country.
  • Applicants must have successfully achieved PhD candidacy (i.e. fulfilled all requirements besides the completion of a dissertation) by the start of the fellowship.
  • Applicants must be able to write fluently in English. 
  • Fellows will be independent contractors, so need not be eligible for employment in the United States.

The fellowship will run from October 2020 – September 2021. Fellows receive $1,200 to support their research. 

To Apply: 

Send the following documents as a single attachment (PDF or .docx) to DSP Director of Research Cathy Buerger (she/her): If you have questions, direct them to Cathy at the same address.

  • Abstract (50-80 words)
  • Proposal (2-3 pages – double spaced)
  • Bibliography
  • CV

The proposal should describe the concept, methodology, how this research aligns with the DSP’s mission, and the significance of the research project to the applicant’s academic field. 


The DSP’s inaugural Dissertation Fellow, Kyong Mazzaro, is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Center in The City University of New York. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to study violence, electoral politics, and media freedom. 

In her dissertation, Kyong examines the conditions under which political struggles incentivize governments and nonstate actors to restrict media freedom. Using qualitative and quantitative data, including microdata on attacks against journalists, she explains subnational and cross-national patterns of media freedom in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela. As a Dangerous Speech Project Dissertation Fellow, she will study the features of government-sponsored anti-media speech and empirically assess the extent to which dangerous speech poses a threat to the physical integrity of journalists in Venezuela.

Kyong holds a MA in Political Science from Columbia University, a MA in Migration Studies from Sapienza University of Rome, and a BA in International Studies from the Central University of Venezuela. She was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where she lived until she graduated from college.

Stay tuned for more updates from Kyong as her research progresses!


For more information about the DSP’s Dissertation Fellowship, please email