Professor Ben O'Loughlin - Director

Ben O’Loughlin is Professor of International Relations and Co-Director of the New Political Communication Unit at Royal Holloway, University of London. He was Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on Soft Power and the UK's Influence. He is co-editor of the Sage journal Media, War and Conflict. In December 2013 Routledge in New York released the monograph: Strategic Narratives: Communication Power and the New World Order. This is followed by an edited volume, Forging the World: Strategic Narratives and International Relations, to published by University of Michigan Press in 2016 and drawing together leading experts in communication and IR. His previous books include Radicalisation and Media: Terrorism and Connectivity in the New Media Ecology (2011) and War and Media: The Emergence of Diffused War (2010). He has carried out projects on media and security for the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure. He has contributed to the New York TimesGuardian, openDemocracySky News and Newsweek. Ben has recently completed a study of global responses to the 2012 London Olympics with the BBC, and is now beginning several EU-funded projects examining strategic narratives and public opinion in Ukraine and Israel-Palestine.

Click here for more information about Ben O'Loughlin.
Follow Ben on Twitter

Dr Sofia Collignon

Dr. Sofia Collignon joins us in January 2018 as Lecturer in Political Communication. Sofia obtained her PhD from the Department of Political Science, University College London. Before that, she was awarded an MSc in Political Economy from the University of Essex and a BA in International Relations from ITESO (Mexico). Prior to joining Royal Holloway, Sofia was a postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde, working as part of the team behind the ESCR-funded Representative Audit of Britain project, part of Parliamentary Candidates UK. During that time, she was also part of the Constitution Unit team. Sofia's main research interests include: a) framing contests in the formation of public opinion, b) the study of candidates, elections and parties and c) the role of political communication in the formation and successful implementation of policies. Her research is comparative in nature with an especial focus on the UK, EU and Latin America and she uses mainly quantitative methods. 

Click here for more information about Sofia Collignon (coming soon).

Dr Akil N. Awan

Akil N. Awan is Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Political Violence and Terrorism at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is based in the Department of History. His research interests are focused around the history of terrorism, radicalization, social movements, protest, and new media. He has written widely in these areas, both academically and in the popular press. Dr Awan is also regularly consulted by government bodies, think-tanks, media and other organizations in his fields of expertise, and has served in an advisory capacity to the UK Home Office, the Foreign Office, the US State department, the US Military, Council of Europe, and the OSCE amongst others. Most recently, he served as special advisor on Radicalization to the UK Parliament; as academic expert on Genocide to the UK House of Lords delegation to Srebrenica; and as expert advisor on Youth Radicalisation to the United Nations. He is Founder and Chair of the UK Political Studies Association’s Specialist Group on Political Violence & Terrorism. His books include Radicalisation and Media: Terrorism and Connectivity in the New Media Ecology (Routledge, 2011), and Jihadism Transformed: al-Qaeda and Islamic State’s Global Battle of Ideas (Hurst/Oxford University Press, 2016).

Click here for more information about Akil N. Awan.
Follow Akil on Twitter.

Dr James Sloam

James Sloam is Reader in Politics and International Relations. His research interests are: political parties, the role of new media in young people's democratic engagement, German politics, European social democracy. He is the coordinator of the Youth Politics Unit at Royal Holloway.

Click here for more information about James Sloam.
Follow James on Twitter

Dr Joanna Szostek

Dr Joanna Szostek joined Royal Holloway in September 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow. She received her DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford in 2013. She was previously based at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, where she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her most recent research explores the association between habits of news consumption and geopolitical imaginations among university students in Moscow. Her doctoral research identified factors which shape reporting of Russia in Ukraine and Belarus. Findings have so far been published in Communist and Post-Communist Studies and East European Politics & Societies. At Royal Holloway she is working on a new project, Stratnarra, which aims to explain the reception of strategic geopolitical narratives in Ukraine. Joanna will collect data on media use and perceptions of the West among different groups of Ukrainians in order to shed light on how rival governments manage (or fail) to exert influence via mass communication in contemporary international relations. The project is overseen by Professor Ben O’Loughlin and is funded by a three-year Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission. Joanna has spent around six years living in Moscow and has travelled widely across Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Amongst other things, she has worked for the BBC as a senior monitoring journalist and interned at the European Commission's Delegation to Russia.

Click here for more information about Joanna Szostek.

Dr Jinghan Zeng

Jinghan Zeng is Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also an Associate Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. He holds degrees from the University of Warwick (PhD, May 2012- April 2014) and the University of Pittsburgh (MA, 2009-2011). His research and teaching interests lie in the field of Chinese politics and research methodology, with more specific interests in the study of China's authoritarian system, elite politics of contemporary China, and Chinese foreign policy. Jinghan is the author of The Chinese Communist Party's Capacity to Rule: Ideology, Legitimacy and Party Cohesion (Palgrave, 2015). His academic papers have appeared in International AffairsContemporary PoliticsJournal of Contemporary China, and Journal of Chinese Political Science. Before his academic career, he worked for the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs in New York City.

Click here for more information about Jinghan Zeng.
Follow Jinghan on Twitter

Dr. Elinor Carmi

Elinor Carmi has been appointed Teaching Fellow in Political Communication for 12 months from 1 September 2017. Elinor completed her PhD in August 2017 at the Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research looks at spam other deviant media, and is transdisciplinary travelling between several fields: media theory, media history, law, software studies and sound studies. Before she joined the Politics & International Relations Department at Royal Holloway she was a Visiting Lecturer at the Global Media Management M.A. programme at Winchester School of Art and a Visiting Lecturer at the Sound Design B.A. programme at London South Bank University. She was also an Associate Lecturer at the Advertising Department at London College of Communications and at the Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths. Elinor is an activist and journalist who writes on technology and gender, digital rights, sound and internet governance. In addition, she was a radio broadcaster, an editor of Trance channels on Israeli television, and has been working for various electronic music labels for almost a decade. In 2013, she published a book based on her M.A. thesis titled TranceMission: The Psytrance Culture in Israel 1989-1999 (Resling Publishing). She regularly presents her thoughts in international conferences as well as organising events and workshops.

Click here for more information about Elinor Carmi.

Follow Elinor on Twitter.