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Dr. Miriyam Aouragh is Leverhulme fellow at Communication And Media Research Institute. She grew up in Amsterdam as a second generation Moroccan and has a background in cultural anthropology/non-Western sociology (Vrije Universiteit Amsterrdam).
For her PhD (University of Amsterdam) she studied the implications of the internet as it was first (Web 1.0) introduced in Palestine and in particular the significance of this techno-evolution coinciding with the outbreak of the Second Intifada. She was awarded a Rubicon grant in 2009 and began postdoc research at the Oxford Internet Institute where she focused on the political role of Web 2.0 for grassroots activists.
During fieldwork in Palestine and Lebanon between 2009 and 2010 she combined ethnographic offline methodologies (participant observation and interviews) with critical theory and media analyses. Her work is published in several books and journals including her own monograph Palestine Online (IB Tauris 2011).
Since 2011 she follows, and writes about, the complex revolutionary dynamics in the Arab world with special interest in the impact of the internet. In 2013 she was awarded a Leverhulme fellowship to develop this into a critical study of new media in the paradoxical context of revolution and counter-revolution.
Her next book is about cyber imperialism which will offer an attempt to theorize how the contradictions of capitalism shape the modes and meanings of resistance in the era of revolution and digital transformations. She will be teaching about internet, media and politics at CAMRI and has previously (2011 and 2012) taught Cyber Politics of the Middle East at the Oxford Middle East Centre from which she will also offer students specialist insights.
Her research interests and areas of expertise include: digital imperialism; cyber warfare; social media; activism; Arab uprisings; MENA (Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Bahrain, Egypt).
Miriyam will be teaching the MA module Media, Activism & Censorship in 2014.
This module investigates the relationship between media, activism and censorship. It offers a critical assessment of the role of media in political mobilization, social movements, dissent, wars, conflicts, elections, and political and social crises.
The module considers the impact of different forms of censorship and regulation on social, political and cultural expression in the media. It also looks at the impact of the internet and new means of transparency and communications on journalism and activism in a range of circumstances from secure democracies through different kinds of political systems.
By examining the role of the media historically it raises questions about interpretations of contemporary developments. The module assesses the range of institutions campaigning for freedom of expression and those seeking to hold the media and journalism to account. She supervises theses on aspects of online activism, cyber warfare and revolution in the Arab world.
Miriyam is currently involved in Centre for Social Media Research and the Arab Media Centre. For the latter she organised the annual conference, titled 'New Media-New Politics?' in April 2013. A selection of the papers and keynotes of this conference will be published in collaboration with the highly acclaimed e-journal Jadaliyya.
Miriyam is part of TVRI, a team of international scholars working on an InterAsia media research project, funded by the Social Science Research Council (US). Together with Paula Chakravarty (NYU) and Jack Qui (Chinese University of Hong Kong), she coordinates the Media Empires group.
Where possible, Miriyam engages in the public debate in the quest of a more critical understanding of the power relations in the media environment. This includes raising awareness about struggles for a just and non-corporate ICT infrastructure, unveiling undemocratic decision-making processes, and countering orientalist stereotypes regarding Arab and Muslim subjectivities.
Some of the recent examples of her organic interventions are: