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Call for Applications


4-7 January 2023

Lisbon Winter School for the Study of Communication
Media and Propaganda

The 4th Lisbon Winter School for the Study of Communication takes a comparative and global approach to the study of media and ambivalence. Jointly organized by the Faculty of Human Sciences (Universidade Católica Portuguesa), the Center for Media@Risk at the Annenberg School for Communication (University of Pennsylvania), the School of Journalism and Communication (Chinese University of Hong Kong), the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (University of Southern California) and the Helsinki institute for Social Sciences and Humanities (University of Helsinki), the 4th Lisbon Winter School offers an opportunity for doctoral students and early career post-doctoral researchers to strategize around the study of media and ambivalence together with senior scholars in the field.

Call for Applications

At a time in which multiple places around the globe are dealing with the effects of rampant disinformation and misinformation, propaganda is being revealed as a concept before its time. Widely associated with the falsehoods, manipulation and brainwashing that often accompany wartime, propaganda has been generally seen as a negative phenomenon describing the practices of ‘others’ who aim to deceive individuals, groups and societies. But this connotation is far from universal. While states, organizations and groups in the Global North typically reject descriptions of their own activity as propaganda, in many geographies in the Global South propaganda is mostly understood as a less virulent product of political and commercial advertising. Regardless of its meaning, propaganda has always played a central role in human societies, performed by political, economic, religious, cultural and social agents who aim to mold public opinion and people’s perception of reality.
In contemporary media landscapes that are marked by high polarization and a profusion of platforms for the instantaneous sharing of information, propaganda is easily disseminated and customized to allow its purveyors to reach specific targets in the context of wars, election campaigns, health crises and conflicts over identity and inclusion. Over the last decade, social media have become the main tools for disseminating not only state propaganda but also the sentiments of a wide set of interest groups designed to interfere in affairs by spreading untruthful narratives. While such activity has been apparent in multiple regions with the Covid-19 pandemic, political turbulence surrounding elections, mounting racial, gendered and ethnic violence as well as the recent invasion of Ukraine all point to a lingering resistance in the Global North to address these phenomena as propaganda. Instead, concepts like disinformation, misinformation, fake news and post-truth have become prevalent when
describing the contemporary circulation of falsities and half-truths. For many, propaganda is seen as a thing of the past, despite its very real existence in these unstable times.
In his seminal book written a century ago, Walter Lippman noted that “under certain conditions [people] respond as powerfully to fictions as they do to realities,” adding that “in many cases they help to create the very fictions to which they respond.” To what extent is this phenomenon evident today? To which extent is it undermining the possibilities of digital participation? What role is being played by journalists, activists, scientists, medical practitioners and other invested individuals in countering it?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed at the 3rd Lisbon Winter School for the Study of Communication. We welcome proposals by doctoral students and early career post-doctoral researchers from all over the world to discuss the intertwined relation between media and propaganda in different geographies and across time. The list below illustrates some of the topics for possible consideration. Other topics dealing with media and propaganda s are also welcome:

  • Dis- and misinformation, fake news and hate speech

  • Participatory propaganda

  • Warfare propaganda

  • (International) media and soft power

  • Propaganda and foreign policy

  • Social media platforms and disinformation

  • Fact-checking and other activities designed to counter propaganda

  • Media and the dissemination of fear

  • Persuasion, strategic communication and information management

  • Authoritarian regimes and populist movements and propaganda (both

  • Contemporary and historical cases)

  • Recreating history for propaganda purposes

  • Bots, sock puppets and the dissemination of propaganda

  • Deep fakes

  • Propaganda in specific national and regional contexts

  • Distorting science for propaganda purposes

  • Propaganda and climate change

  • Propaganda and racism

  • Propaganda and misogyny

  • Role of education in offsetting propaganda


Proposals should be sent to no later than October 10, 2022 and include a paper title, extended abstract in English (700 words), name, e-mail address, institutional affiliation and a brief bio (max. 100 words) mentioning
ongoing research. Applicants will be informed of the result of their submissions by late-October.


Presenters will be required to send in full papers (max. 6.500 words) by December 12, 2022.

Winter School Convenors:

  • Barbie Zelizer, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

  • Francis Lee, Chinese University of Hong Kong

  • Nelson Ribeiro, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

  • Risto Kunelius, University of Helsinki

  • Sarah Banet-Weiser, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California

For more information, please visit the Winter School website:

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