2019-2020 Global Research Initiative (GRI) Fellows

The Dangerous Speech Project is thrilled to introduce our 2019-2020 Global Research Initiative (GRI) Fellowship cohort. These inaugural Fellows will be the first in a worldwide network of researchers in countries where Dangerous Speech abounds.  Members will support each other to advance research and intervention projects. This year’s class of Fellows was chosen from a highly competitive pool of students, scholars, and members of civil society. Each Fellow will complete a detailed case study on their selected topic, discuss their work with other Fellows, and share their results on the DSP’s blog. The Fellows’ work will help us continue to advance our understanding of Dangerous Speech and how it operates in a variety of contexts. A list of Fellows along with brief descriptions of their projects is below.

Achol Jok Mach, South Sudan

Mach will study the use of hate speech by South Sudanese politicians and whether it has influenced the diaspora to encourage more conflict, both online and offline.

Achol Jok Mach is a South Sudanese/Canadian. She was born in South Sudan and has lived in Cuba and Canada. In 2011, she voluntarily moved back to South Sudan, a few months before independence, with the hope of learning more about her country and culture and wanting to contribute to building the new nation. She is currently a Specialist with PeaceTech Lab managing their South Sudan projects, which include developing and updating the South Sudan lexicon of hate speech, monitoring online hate speech using semi-automated and manual media monitoring approaches, and working with a data scientist to produce biweekly early warning reports containing predictions of violence. 

Álex Cabo Isasi, Spain

Isasi will analyze far-right Islamophobic speech in Spain, where there has been a recent rise of the far-right party VOX.

Álex Cabo Isasi was part of the team that devised PROXI (Project against Xenophobia and Intolerance in Online Media), a project that was recommended as best practice by the European Web Site on Integration. He co-authored the report “Hate Speech in Social Media” for the Barcelona City Council. The report was the background paper of the Barcelona vs. Hate Speech International Conference, and he collaborated in the launch and contents of the Barcelona City Council’s website against hate speech. He delivers seminars and workshops on hate speech in social media, as well as on other topics, for the University of Barcelona, the University of Deusto-Bilbao, and the Immigration Observatory of the University of the Basque Country. He holds a Degree in Law and Economics, and a MA in Immigration Management.

Alexandra DiBranco, USA

DiBranco will examine misogynist speech in the United States (with a particular focus on “incels” —men who identify as “involuntarily celibate” and view their lack of sexual access to women as an injustice) analyzing increasing male supremacist ideology online, its political influence and appearance in mainstream discourse, and its contribution to violence.

Alex DiBranco is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, which is dedicated to the study of misogynist mobilization, ideology, and violence. Her writings on male supremacism and incel terrorism have appeared in The Public Eye quarterly, a publication of the think tank Political Research Associates, and she has provided trainings and advice on misogynist ideology for social justice organizations such as Western States Center, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and SURJ. DiBranco has been interviewed about her work by outlets including NPR, The New Republic, the Chicago Tribune, Think Progress, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has a chapter in the forthcoming book News of the Right published by Oxford University Press, which is drawn from her in-progress dissertation analyzing how the U.S. Right built sustainable infrastructure and political power from the 1970s through 1990s. DiBranco is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at Yale University and affiliated with the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies.

Ana Cristina Nuñez, Venezuela

Using the Dangerous Speech framework,  Nuñez will explore dehumanizing speech used by the President of Venezuela to refer to the political opposition and dissenters during compulsory blanket presidential broadcasts (known as cadenas).

Ana Cristina Nuñez is a Venezuelan attorney who specializes in freedom of speech and freedom of the press. She earned her law degree from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas and has a Masters and a Doctorate from Stanford Law School. Ana Cristina conducts field and desk research for international organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch. Her research on freedom of speech has been funded and supported by Stanford University through various grants, awards, and fellowships, including the prestigious Lieberman Fellowship for leadership and excellence in academia. Her academic papers have been published in the US, the UK, Venezuela, and Chile.

Annet Matebwe, South Africa

Matebwe will analyze anti-immigrant speech by various political and cultural leaders in South Africa. Such speech has fallen short of being declared hate speech by South African courts despite potentially inciting xenophobia which is now a nationwide crisis.

Annet Matebwe is a future trainee solicitor at Linklaters LLP and is currently pursuing her Graduate Diploma in Law at The University of Law in London. She completed her LLB at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2017. In 2018, she was the youngest receiver of the DAAD scholarship award for study towards an LLM in transnational criminal justice: an international and African perspective at the South-Africa German Centre housed at the University of Western Cape and Humboldt University. Her research focused on anti-corruption law in Africa for which she produced a paper evaluating Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission. Annet has volunteered at numerous legal clinics around South Africa and served as a legal clerk for some of South Africa’s revered judges in the South African High Court and Supreme Court of Appeals. While an Associate Legal Officer at the Pan African Lawyers Union, she gained experience working on human rights cases in the East African Court of Justice and the African Court for Human and People’s Rights.

Eren Sozuer, Turkey

Sozuer will examine speech against Syrian refugees in Turkey. Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country, and they are increasingly targeted by media outlets and opposition politicians who disseminate divisive rhetoric and misinformation on social media.

Eren Sözüer is a lecturer and PhD candidate at Istanbul Law School, where she researches and teaches human rights law, political theory, and the impact of Internet and communication technologies on human rights. She is particularly interested in the harmful effects of social media, algorithmic tools, and surveillance, as well as building ethical and human rights-compliant technologies. At Istanbul Law School, she co-founded and coordinates a community outreach clinic where law students create awareness about cyber-bullying and refugee issues. Eren holds LLM degrees from Harvard Law School and Istanbul University and was a visiting researcher at Georgetown University Law Center. You can find her on Twitter @eren__sozuer.

Eriko Lau, Hong Kong

Lau’s case study will explore the misleading and discriminatory speech made by pro-establishment parties in Hong Kong against individuals making asylum claims in the country.

Eriko Lau just finished her two-year legal training in a human rights law firm and will soon be admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong. In her work, She has assisted many non-refoulement claimants in seeking protection in Hong Kong. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Immigration Detention Working Group of the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network. She recently obtained her Master of Laws in Human Rights (with Distinction) with a focus on refugee law at the University of Hong Kong.

Jake Wallis, Australia

Australia’s far-right are using new media ecosystems to target large, politically-engaged audiences on social media. Wallis will analyze how these groups use language and news-style content framing, digital media (podcasts, imagery and memes) and social media channels to seed mainstream Australian political discourse with Dangerous Speech.

Dr. Jake Wallis is a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre where he works on projects that explore the information warfare capabilities of state and non-state actors. Jake has worked in national security and as an academic researching the impact of digital connectivity on political participation. Jake’s PhD explored the mobilization of online networks by political groups. His subsequent research investigated the polarization of online political debate and the use of social media by extremist groups.

Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, India

Poruthiyil will use discourse analysis of content from right-wing English-language portals to study what can be called “performative sectarianism” among significant sections of Indian elites, demonstrated by their apathy and enthusiasm for the systematic denials of civil liberties of minorities and dissenters.

Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil is a faculty member at the Centre for Policy Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He teaches social policy, usually through the lenses of inequality, sectarianism, and ageing in developing societies. Vishnu’s research has appeared in Business and Society, Journal of Social Quality, Critical Discourse Studies, Economic and Political Weekly, and the Journal of Business Ethics. His most recent publication in the Journal of Business Ethics, titled “Big Business and Fascism: A Dangerous Collusion,” demonstrates the interlocking interests of big corporations and proto-fascist political movements.

You can find more information about past GRI researchers here.

If you have questions or would like more information about the Global Research Initiative Fellowship, please contact cathy@dangerousspeech.org