NULab core faculty member Brooke Foucault Welles, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, was recently awarded a Social Data Research Fellowship grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). The SSRC’s Social Data Initiative awarded a total of $500,000 to fifteen projects supported as Research Fellowships or Dissertation Fellowships. The initial round of grants will support fellows’ production of timely research about social media, misinformation, and online political activity leading up to the 2020 election.

With support from the Social Data Research Fellowship grant, Foucault Welles will be the principal investigator on a project titled “Reconsidering the Connections between New Media, (In)Equality, and Political Participation in the United States.” The project addresses the extent that online media has altered or reinforced race, class, and gender-based inequalities in political communication, and seeks to determine whether and how Twitter activity from traditionally marginalized groups “may be shifting the balance of who has voice and influence in the public sphere.” Foucault Welles’ research builds upon her recent scholarship in #Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice, a new book co-authored with Sarah Jackson, Presidential Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh, and NULab core faculty member Moya Bailey, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. #Hashtag Activism was published by MIT Press in March 2020.