Dr. Joan Donovan

Dr. Joan Donovan Named Shorenstein Center Research Director

May 12, 2020

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy is pleased to announce that Dr. Joan Donovan has been named Research Director for the Center. In addition to this appointment, Dr. Donovan will continue in her role as the Director of the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research Project, as an editor of the HKS Misinformation Review, and as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Dr. Donovan is the leading researcher and expert on media manipulation, adversarial media movements, and the effects of disinformation campaigns. Both HKS and the Shorenstein Center are thrilled about Dr. Donovan’s promotion to Research Director. Her work is overwhelmingly relevant: through the course of this pandemic and with the upcoming election, Dr. Donovan’s work will continue to be at the forefront of academic and popular conversation on mis- and disinformation.

Dr. Donovan founded TaSC, which produces a weekly webinar series titled, “Big, If True,” and a newsletter, “Meme War Weekly.” In addition to creating open-access lectures and Internet culture updates, Dr. Donovan has been published in Nature, MIT Technology Review, and The New York Times. Her peer-reviewed articles have appeared in Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Online Information Review, and Information, Communication, & Society.

With the TaSC research team, Dr. Donovan is leading the development of the Media Manipulation Case Book, which is an online research platform that advances knowledge of how misinformation and disinformation travel across the web and social media. The Case Book includes case studies, theory, methods, and frameworks. It has been built in order to equip researchers in the field of Critical Internet Studies to analyze dynamic media ecosystems, tactical innovation, and the interplay between society, technology, and politics.

Dr. Donovan has been with the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy since January 2019. She received her Sociology and Science Studies Ph.D. in 2015 from University of California – San Diego. Her postdoctoral fellowship was at the University of California – Los Angeles Institute for Society and Genetics where she studied white supremacists’ use of DNA ancestry tests, social movements, and technology. Dr. Donovan’s extensive experience covers the fields of critical Internet studies, medical misinformation, and media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.

Sign up here for Meme War Weekly, catch Dr. Donovan’s weekly “BIG, If True” webinar, or check out her HKS course on media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.