Communication and Conflict: Iraq and Syria

The SOAS is holding a one-day conference on 7 May 2016 on “Communication and Conflict: Iraq and Syria”.

Core Topics are:

  • Mediation of the Islamic State war
  • Propaganda and public diplomacy
  • Narrative, image, subjectivities
  • Visual conflicts
  • Mediated violence
  • Forced migration
  • Moral panics
  • Information warfare
  • Practises of production and consumption
  • Witnessing conflict; changing journalism of conflict
  • Changing journalism of conflict
  • Images and moral journalism


0900-0915- registration
0915-0930 welcome, Dina Matar, SOAS
0930-1015 Morning Keynote
Title: “Reimagining the ‘Other’; Mediatization of the Islamic State War and Perceptions of the Arab World.” Professor Philip Seib, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California
1015-1045 – coffee break
1045-1230 Panel one: Propaganda, networks and Conflict
SHADER review: STRATCM and influence, view from the UK counter-propaganda campaigns, Ewan Lawson, Senior Research Fellow in Military Influence, Rusi.
Long-term study of the IS social media propaganda networks and content, Yannick Vielleux-Lepage, Centre for the study of terrorism and political violence, St. Andrews
Trajectory of Iran’s Regional Ambitions: as seen through Iran’s Arabic language media network, Massoumeh Torfeh, SOAS and
Hezbollah’s self-narrative in Syrian conflict, Zahera Harb, City University
Normalisation of war and conflict in Iraq’s Iraqiyya television, Aida Kaisy, CMS, SOAS
Chair: Dina Matar, SOAS
1230-1315 lunch break
1315-1500 Panel Two: Battles over narratives and image in long-term conflicts
The visual politics of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces on Facebook: Rhys Crilley, Birmingham University – yes
Mythical state: The aesthetics and counter aesthetics of ISIS in IRAQ, Nathaniel Greenberg, George Mason University.
Of Faith, Destruction and Salvation: A Discourse Analysis of Dabiq, Kajalie Islam, Centre for Media Studies, SOAS
Countering IS Propaganda: Duhok Radio and the Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, Jiyan Faris, Kevin Smets and Pieter Maeseele, University of Antwerp.
Everyday grassroots media activism in Aleppo and Raqqa, a visual narrative, Josepha Ivanka Wessels, University of Copenhagen
Chair: Gholam Khiabany, Goldsmiths
1500-1530 (coffee break)
1530-1730 Panel Three: Crisis reporting; visual conflicts; violence and migration
Shattering Stereotypes: Crisis reporting and the Alan Kurdi images, Professor Stuart Allan, Cardiff University
Media, migration and violence: #PrayforParis, #Prayfor Syria and the Dynamics of Antagonism, Billur Aslan, James Dennis and Ben O’Loughlin, Royal Holloway.
Accusations in a mirror, ISIS, ani-Islamic hate speech and the refugee crisis, Matti Pohjonen, Dublin City University
Image Politics and the Politics of the Image in the networked era- Notes from the battlefield in Syria, Donatella Della Ratta, University of Copenhagen
Experiencing the visual culture of war; how audiences react to war news images– Valerie Gorin, University of Geneva and Vittoria Sacco, University of Neuchathel
Chair: to be confirmed
1730-1815 Evening Keynote
Witnessing Conflict today: changing journalism of conflict and the public ethics of witnessing, Professor Lilie Chouliaraki, LSE