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Five Questions for Samantha Bradshaw

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SIS is fortunate to have a large and accomplished faculty working at the forefront of their fields. Here’s the latest in our getting-to-know-you series with new SIS faculty: Professor Samantha Bradshaw, who will join us at SIS next fall.

What are your areas of expertise, and why are you interested in these topics?
I study social media, technologies, democracy, and how the digital features of technology affect political participation, the security of elections, and the well-being of our democracy, more broadly speaking. So, for example, I think about computational propaganda, artificial intelligence, big data, automation, and how these new technologies are shaping and reshaping power, power relationships, and democratic participation. I’m interested in these issues because technology and social media have become so ubiquitous and so embedded into everyday life. We use emerging technologies for everything from interpersonal communications to big questions about democracy or global security. I'm fascinated by these kinds of changes—new technologies and their broader implications for society—because they just affect everything.
Where were you before coming to the School of International Service?
I’m currently a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University; I’ll finish up here in July 2022. At Stanford, I wear multiple hats. Currently, I’m affiliated with the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law; the Digital Civil Society Lab; and the Program on Democracy and the Internet. I was also affiliated with the Stanford Internet Observatory. I finished my PhD at the Oxford Internet Institute in 2020, where I studied issues about social media, elections, and democracy. Before doing my PhD, I worked at the Center for International Governance Innovation, a Canadian-based think tank, where I worked on cyber security and internet governance problems and policy, and supported the work of the Global Commission on Internet Governance.
As a professor at SIS, what kinds of course topics interest you?
I'd love to teach courses on global cyber politics, social media and democracy, or internet research methods for public policy research.
What’s a fact about yourself that students might find surprising?
I have played on e-sports teams, and I used to play this mobile game where we'd compete in official tournaments. We actually won once.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m reading Project Hail Mary. It's a science fiction book that’s so much fun and lighthearted. The most unbelievable part is that Russia, China, the US, and the world all agreed to collaborate to solve a problem—I don't want to ruin too much of it, but it involves a scientist with amnesia waking up in space, and he's trying to figure out, first of all, who he is. And then, second of all, where he is in space and what is going on.