Georgia State Selected to Receive $1.3M to Research Media and Terrorism

Georgia State University has been selected to receive a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Minerva Initiative for the proposal, “Mobilizing Media: A Deep and Comparative Analysis of Magazines, Music and Videos in the Context of Terrorism.”

The Minerva Initiative is sponsored by the Department of Defense and primarily focuses on university-based social science research related to national security. The Minerva Initiative received 297 white papers and 46 full proposal submissions. Only 11 projects were chosen for funding.

“It’s always tough getting this funding because there are a lot of really good projects attached to inter-institutional teams nationwide,” said Anthony Lemieux, principal investigator for the project, Global Studies Institute assistant director and associate professor in the Communications Department. “It took extensive work and preparation to get here, but we were persistent and kept at it.”

The goal of the Mobilizing Media research project is to explore the text, audio and visual communication elements that recruit participants and promote acts of violence. To achieve this goal, Lemieux and his team will begin their research by examining the propaganda campaigns of terrorists groups such as Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIL.

“One of the things that we know is that the kind of messaging and propaganda that is out there appears more frequently, has production values of high quality and has wide distribution through lots of channels,” said Lemieux.

“This project will allow us to really know more about the kind of media that’s being used and ideally it positions us to be able to develop effective response strategies down the line,” he added.

Lemieux is working on the project with Carol Winkler and Shawn Powers of the Communications Department and Ben Miller of the English Department. The Georgia State team is also collaborating with colleagues from the United States Military Academy, the City University of New York, the City College of New York and University of London’s Royal Holloway University.

The project falls within Georgia State University’s Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative.

“One of our fundamental goals under the Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative has been to put together teams and projects like what is represented here, so we’ve achieved the core aspect of that mission. Now, the hard work starts,” Lemieux said.

Georgia State is also eligible to receive two years of additional Minerva award funding, which would bring the total award amount to $2.2 million.

All official work related to the Mobilizing Media project is anticipated to begin September 2015. To see a complete list of the universities who received Minerva funding, visit the Minerva Initiative website.