Faculty of Information & Media Studies

Rogers Chair Lecture Series

Rogers Chair: Information Wars and Struggles Banner

Image Credit: "Very Large Array, 2012" by John Fowler (https://commons.wikimedia.org)

The Rogers Chair of Studies in Journalism and New Information Technology reflects a commitment to interdisciplinary studies in media and information technology, with a base in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies. Support for the Chair is provided by an endowment from Rogers Communications Inc., announced in the summer of 1994, and from a long-standing commitment by the Office of the Secretary of State, Government of Canada. The first appointment to the Rogers Chair occurred in January, 2000.

Professor Nick Dyer-Witheford is serving as Rogers Chair between July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2017.

Winter 2016 Semester Lectures

Under a Martial Gaze: The Logistics of Military Perception
Dr. Antoine Bousquet
Wednesday, January 13
12:00 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.
North Campus Building 293

Public Lecture: Littered with electronic sensors and criss-crossed by the watchful eyes of orbiting satellites and drone aircraft, the contemporary battlespace is placed under intense and persistent surveillance. With precision-guided munitions that can be delivered to any position on the globe, any entity an advanced military can perceive and track is liable to being struck with devastating accuracy and lethality. This contemporary martial condition can be encapsulated by one prominent strategist’s pithy formula according to which “visibility equals death.” This talk will chart the historical constitution, present operation and future ramifications of the disembodied gaze surveying the planetary battlespace which, through its key functions of sensing, imaging and mapping, constitutes a vital enabler of contemporary exercises in the targeting and projection of military power. In conjunction with the manifold counter-measures taken by belligerents to evade or deceive this roaming eye through dissimulation, misdirection and bedazzlement, war has increasingly become a struggle for mastery over the fields of perception, with profound consequences for both the character of armed conflict and the place of human subjects within it.  Everyone welcome.

Inside the Martial Gaze: Sensing, Imaging, Mapping
Dr. Antoine Bousquet
Thursday, January 14
11:30 a.m.
North Campus Building 454

A seminar for grad students and faculty with Dr. Bousquet. Based on his forthcoming book. If you wish to attend this event and receive the readings, please contact Nick Dyer-Witheford at: ncdyerwi@uwo.ca

Dr. Antoine Bousquet is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity (Columbia University Press, 2009), and articles on ‘Ernst Jünger and the Problem of Nihilism in the Age of Total War', 'Complexity Theory and the War on Terror: Understanding the Self-Organising Dynamics of Leaderless Jihad', 'Chaoplexic Warfare or the Future of Military Organization' and ‘Cyberneticizing the American War Machine: Science and Computers in the Cold War'.

The Needle in the Haystack: Citizenship and War in the Age of Big Data

Dr. Ron Deibert
Wednesday, February 3
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Somerville House 3345

Public Lecture: We are living through an enormous shift in global communications, the scale of which is largely unprecedented in human history. With the rise of social media, cloud computing, and mobile connectivity, we are turning our digital lives inside out.  We leave a digital exhaust behind us everywhere we go.  This digital exhaust includes the calls we make, the emails we send, the links on which we click, and the websites and documents we retrieve.  It also includes data about our social relationships, habits, preferences, and even movements in space and time.  This digital exhaust does not evaporate.  It accumulates on the servers and equipment that makes up the global communications infrastructure and now constitutes an entirely new and exponentially expanding planetary Big Data eco-system of information.  The Snowden/NSA revelations have shown how the US and its allies' secretive signals intelligence agencies routinely collect, mine and analyze this ecosystem, partially with the cooperation of the private companies that operate it.  But when did we, as a society, agree to such wholesale access?  The question of citizenship in the age of Big Data is an urgent one for the future of liberal democracy.  Everyone welcome.

The Citizen Lab's Mixed Methods Approach to Research on Information Controls
Dr. Ron Diebert
Thursday, February 4
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
North Campus Building 454

A seminar for graduate students and faculty with Ron Deibert.
The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory that investigates the intersection of human rights, global security, and the digital world.  For over a decade, we have used a mixed methods approach that combines techniques from network measurement, information security, law, and the social sciences to research and document information controls (e.g., Internet censorship, surveillance, and targeted digital attacks) that impact the openness and security of digital communications and pose threats to human rights.  Dr Deibert will provide an overview of the Citizen Lab's approach, highlight several reports and their outcomes, and discuss some of the ways rigorous, evidence-based, and peer-reviewed research can inform public policy, advocacy and human rights.

Contact Nick Dyer-Witheford, ncdyerwi@uwo.ca, to reserve a place and receive readings.

Dr. Ron Deibert is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. The Citizen Lab undertakes interdisciplinary research at the intersection of global security, ICTs, and human rights.  Dr Deibert  is founder of the OpenNet Initiative (2003-2014) and a of Psiphon, a world leader in providing open access to the Internet. He is  the author of Black Code: Surveillance, Privacy, and the Dark Side of the Internet (Random House: 2013), and  numerous books, chapters, and articles on Internet censorship, surveillance, and cyber security.

The Red Web: Internet Censorship in Russia
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
4:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Somerville House 3345

Andrei Soldatov (Russia) is an investigative journalist and editor and co-founder of Agentura.Ru, an information hub on intelligence agencies. Soldatov is a regular contributor on the topics of terrorism and intelligence for Vedomosti, Radio Free Europe and the BBC. He authored a chapter on Russia’s secret services in the PSI Handbook of Global Security and Intelligence: National Approaches.

Irina Borogan (Russia) is an investigative journalist and a deputy editor of Agentura.Ru. She started her journalistic career in 1996 as a reporter at Segodnya newspaper.  As reporter, she covered the NATO bombings in Serbia in 1999, hostage takings in Russia, 2006 Lebanon war and tensions in West Bank and Gaza Strip. Borogan regularly chronicled the increasing influence of the security services in the Russian government and investigated the Kremlin’s campaign to gain control of civil society under pretext of fighting extremism.

Soldatov and Borogan are co-authors of The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB (2010) and The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries (2015).

The Red Web - Book Launch and Discussion with Authors
Thursday, March 3, 2016
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Museum London

Book launch and discussion with Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, co-authors of The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries.

The Kremlin and the Internet
Friday, March 4, 2016
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
NCB 454

A seminar with Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, co-authors of The Red Web: The Struggle Between Russia's Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries.

For more information on the seminar, contact Nick Dyer-Witheford at ncdyerwi@uwo.ca.

Proxy Politics and Proxy Wars
Friday, March 4, 2016
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
London Public Library

Oleksiy Radynski (Ukraine) a filmmaker and writer based in Kyiv. He is a participant of Visual Culture Research Center, an initiative for art, knowledge, and politics founded in Kyiv, 2008. His screenings and talks have recently taken place, among other venues, at Oberhausen International Film Festival, e-flux (New York), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Institute for Contemporary Arts (London), Academy of the Arts of the World (Cologne), and Volksbühne Theater (Berlin).

Integration (2014) is a documentary that follows the escalation of violent resistance during the protests at Maidan in Kyiv. The video focuses on the relations between violence and politics, and the performative dimension insurgency. This film looks at the margins of public manifestations of the protest movement to examine its uncanny underside.

People Who Came to Power (2015) is a documentary film that traces the gradual sliding of society into war. Shot in March-April 2014 in Donbas region in East Ukraine, it represents the degradation of the social protest into an armed uprising heavily backed by covert foreign invasion. The film focuses on the depiction of the inner logic of the social movement, rather than on its individual participants. Its narrative is concerned with the step-by-step disintegration of society into the state of war.

How Anonymous (narrowly) evaded the cyberterrorism rhetorical machine - Public Lecture

Thursday, March 17, 2016
2:00 p.m.
Social Science Centre 5220
Anonymous--the masked activists who have contributed to hundreds of political operations around the world since 2008--were perfectly positioned to earn the title of cyberterrorists. In this talk Dr. Coleman considers the various factors that allowed them to narrowly escape this designation.

"The State of Anonymous" - Seminar
Friday, March 18, 2016
10:00 a.m.
North Campus Building Room 266
To reserve a place and receive advance readings, contact ncdyerwi@uwo.ca

Dr. Gabriella Coleman holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific & Technological Literacy at McGill University. Trained as an anthropologist, her scholarship explores the intersection of the cultures of hacking and politics, with a focus on the sociopolitical implications of the free software movement and the digital protest ensemble Anonymous. She has authored two books, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014), which was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and was awarded the 2015 Diana Forsythe Prize by the American Anthropological Association. The Chronicle of Higher Education named her "the world's foremost scholar on Anonymous".