Critical Digital Sovereignties



Lauren Bridges is a PhD student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on material and discursive constructions of digital infrastructure and how these infrastructures work to facilitate or mitigate social, economic, and cultural inequalities. She has written about feminized and precarious labor in the publishing industry, published in New Media & Society, and has presented on the data industries, digital labor, and digital infrastructure at a number of international conferences. She received a master’s degree in creative writing, publishing & editing from the University of Melbourne and a bachelor’s degree in business from Queensland University of Technology. 

Stanislav Budnitsky’s work explores the relationship between culture, global communication, and digital technologies across internet governance, public diplomacy, and nation branding, among other domains. Stanislav received his PhD in 2018 from the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Stanislav has presented his research at a number of conferences, including International Communication Association, International Association for Media and Communication Research, and International Studies Association. Stanislav’s academic writings have appeared in the European Journal of Cultural StudiesInternational Journal of Communication, and an edited collection, The Net and the Nation-State, from Cambridge University Press. Stanislav has held fellowships with the Summer Media Policy Institute at Oxford University, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and the Stanford US-Russia Forum under the auspices of Stanford University. Prior to graduate studies, Stanislav was a Russia-based media producer and writer.

Zane Griffin Talley Cooper is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a doctoral fellow at the Center for Advanced Research on Global Communication (CARGC), where he researches the cultural and ecological politics of digital infrastructures, and how they intersect with regimes of energy production and resource extraction. He is currently focusing on the material and logistical spaces of blockchain infrastructure, and how these spaces are influenced by resource politics – especially rare earth mineral mining. He is also a filmmaker, currently exploring virtual reality as a method for analyzing and communicating complex infrastructural entanglements.

Heather Jaber is a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication and a doctoral fellow at the Center for Advanced Research for Global Communication. In her work, she analyzes moral panics around the body in the Arab world, turning to cultural production as a way to understand the panic as a pleasurable form of knowledge production. She draws on theories of affect and affordances, as well as religious studies, to understand the infrastructures of pleasure and shame which undergird these phenomena. Prior to joining Annenberg, she worked as a journalist and researcher in Beirut.

Marwan M. Kraidy is the Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, at the Annenberg School for Communication, where he is also Associate Dean for Administration and the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture. Kraidy’s work focuses on the geopolitics of media and culture, digital sovereignty, and theories of identity and modernity, with a special interest in the Middle East and its global connections. In 2016, he was the first communication scholar to be awarded a prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for his work on war machines.  Kraidy has published 130+ essays and policy papers, and 13 books, including Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization  (Temple, 2005), and Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life (Cambridge, 2010), supported by a Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a grant from the United States Institute of Peace, and winner of three major prizes: the Diamond Anniversary Best Book Award and the Roderick P. Hart Outstanding Book Award in Political Communication, National Communication Association; and Best Book Award in Global Communication and Social Change, International Communication Association.

Florence Madenga studies journalistic practice broadly and comparatively construe –  how certain existing journalistic models and paradigms fall short in different cultural and global contexts. She is particularly interested in the roles journalists play in or beside state-sponsored media, how they challenge or are affected by censorship laws and “nation-building” tools employed by governments, and journalists in diasporic communities and social media. Prior to CARGC, Madenga worked as a freelance writer both from the United States and internationally. She holds a B.A. in journalism and political science, and an interdisciplinary M.A. from New York University.

Before joining Annenberg’s doctoral program and CARGC, Mariela Morales was a Research Analyst at the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. She graduated in 2017 from University of Pennsylvania, with a major in Global Communication. Before graduation, she completed an undergraduate honors thesis about emergent voices in Cuba’s new media landscape. Her research interests are, the politicization of information sources and popular culture in Latin American and Caribbean contexts; the transculturalist tendencies of popular culture production and reproduction between Cuban migrant communities and residents on the island; and comparative studies around issues of digital sovereignties and affordances in socialist, post-communist, and authoritarian nations.

Giang Nguyen-Thu finished her doctoral study at the University of Queensland in 2016. She has published works on the relationship between Vietnamese television and national belonging. Her forthcoming monograph Television in Post-Reform Vietnam: Nation, Media, Market (Routledge) provides a historical review of popular television in Vietnam and reveals how popular television alter the ways ordinary Vietnamese people organize and make sense of their post-Reform living. Giang is now interested in the emotional politics of social media in Vietnam. Her current research investigates how Vietnamese mothers use Facebook to navigate in an emerging economy of precarity caused by the widespread panic related to food, environment, and education. This research aims at revealing the gendered nature of precarity, and its geopolitical complexity in Vietnam, a non-Western but highly globalized context.

Fernanda R. Rosa’s work applies a sociotechnical lens to the study of internet interconnection politics to unveil the social, political and economic aspects that arise from internet infrastructure. Specifically, her work shows how unbalanced relations of power in internet interconnection arrangements challenge values embedded in local indigenous networks. It also addresses how highly privatized dynamics in interconnection facilities known as Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) exacerbate interdependencies between the global North and the global South, and raise human rights questions in contemporary communication. Her research has received awards from American University, Columbia University and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. In 2018, her paper “Internet Infrastructure as a Network of Relations, Devices and Expectations” won one of the Best Student Paper Awards at the TPRC 46 (Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy). Previously, she co-authored the book Mobile Learning in Brazil (Zinnerama, 2015) on technology and education issues. Fernanda holds a Ph.D. in Communication from American University, in Washington DC, a Masters in Management and Public Policy from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), and a BA in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo (USP).


Clovis Bergère is Senior Research Manager at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a visual ethnographer whose research examines the politics of youth as they are realized in relation to digital media in Guinea, West Africa. He completed his Ph.D. in Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden in 2017, with a specialization in global youth media. His work has appeared in the International Journal of Communication, African Studies Review, American Anthropologist as well as several edited volumes. In addition to digital media, he has written on street corners as spaces of youth socialization in Guinea.  Prior to moving to the United States in 2011, he worked for seven years as a project manager in Children’s Services in London, UK, where he built over thirty innovative playgrounds and youth centers, focused on natural play and collaborative design.

Padma Chirumamilla examines how media infrastructures shape and are shaped by everyday cultural life and labor in postcolonial South India and the broader Global South. Her dissertation investigates how the television — both the physical object and the broader media entity — were integrated into the daily rhythms of viewers and media workers in small-town and rural regions in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, through venues like the repair shop and technologies likes the videotape and VCR. Through a combination of ethnographic and textually-based methods, Chirumamilla’s research considers how the materiality of media shapes its absorption into the routines and rhythms of everyday life in the Global South. She is also interested in notions of technological futurity, and how the futuristic allure of digital technologies configures everyday encounters with media infrastructures. Padma is a first-generation postsecondary scholar. She holds a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Michigan.


Photograph on cover page reproduced with permission from Susan Stockwell. Credit:  'World 2' Susan Stockwell 2013 recycled computer components Photo Syd Shelton. Black Rock Investments collection NYC (commission courtesy of TAG Fine Arts)) For more information on her work, please see:


This Digital Publication is published by CARGC Press.


Bridges, L. et al. Critical Digital Sovereignties, Philadelphia, PA: CARGC Press, 2020,

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