Bizü: “Making Distant Introductions”

Bizü has sought to create an international digital community that reduces extreme behavior. Bizü is about “making distant introductions”. It is a digital space where cultures are shared and learned – where people of all walks of life can interact and learn from one another. It is the cultural epicenter where people and life can occur... READ MORE

Sarah Brodsky: PETA's Facebook Page: Helping the Cause?

A couple months ago, a rare white rhinoceros was killed in his enclosure at the Paris zoo. The poachers removed his ivory horn with a chainsaw, probably hoping to sell it on the black market. On Facebook, many of the articles conveying this news came from PETA, a non-profit organization advocating for the ethical treatment of domestic animals... READ MORE


Kolbie Goodrich: FEMEN: Tactical Nudity

Cities throughout Europe have become a battleground for female “sextremists” protesting bare-chested in their crowns of heroism. These women deliver their truth by writing on their naked bodies. Marching in the streets and in front of parliament buildings, these
protests call for rights for women. Yet they are also designed as tactical manoeuvers to provoke violence, craving mass media dissemination ...  READ MORE


Tomislava Tomova: Fashion Bloggers and the Democratization of Fashion in today's digital Communication Society: A Challenge to Global Media Outlets?

Present day digital communication environments establish inclusive platforms, where like-minded individuals gather together to form a digital culture striving for mutual exchange of ideas, inspiration, art, fashion, and style. Challenging the fashion paradigm imposed in big media outlets, fashion blogs substantially contribute to the democratization of fashion and freedom of aesthetic expression... READ MORE

Great Expectations by Allexa Dunn

As a woman, I am continually interested in considering the roles that women need to fill in their daily lives. This project started as an investigation of these roles and the way womanhood has been defined and developed in the last couple of generations. The three women interviewed here explore these roles in the workplace and in other societal setting. With their help, I slowly began to develop a wider definition of what it means to be a woman in society today. Hearing their testimonials, I became increasingly interested in how women’s roles have changed and developed. Despite the First and the Second-wave feminism in the late 19th century and in the early 1960s in the United States, women still struggle for equal opportunities in every aspect of their lives. In the workplace and at home, women need to overcome many obstacles to define for themselves who they are and what their role is in society. The norms imposed upon them and the way people view them has developed into an overall definition of womanhood, which very often contradict with their own perception of it.

Through the testimonials of these three young women, I began to investigate what other women my age believed to be the definition of womanhood, and how their views have been shaped through their own histories and their families. It has become clear that even just from this generation to the generation before, the definition of what it means to be a woman has developed slowly from something much more conservative and submissive to something more modern and powerful.

I began by asking each woman to recall her most prominent childhood memory. Each woman immediately had a vivid picture of who they were as a child, and they all shared common themes of happiness and innocence. From there I interrogated each woman about who their biggest role model was as a child, and if they believed that now they might share some common characteristics with the person they idealised. Interestingly, and despite the evolutions of women’s rights from one generation to another, each interviewee named their own mother as their biggest role model, and believed or at least hoped that they were developing some of the same qualities as young adults. Each woman used common themes of strength, confidence, and boldness to define their mother. This led me to a central question, in relation to these themes: “Do you consider yourself as a woman or a girl?”. All interviewees described themselves as women, not because of their age but for their qualities, according to what they believed it means to be a woman today. This short film clearly demonstrates that these women take ownership of their role in society and choose to define themselves as women. Through their interviews, I wished to express the different ways in which womanhood is becoming a more dominant force in society in general.

Obruni: Black Expacts in Ghana by Sarah Mahgoub

Exploring the theme of “African Roots Tourism”, this short ethnographic documentary follows two American young women expats trying to integrate during a year abroad in Ghana. During ten days in the spring 2017, I followed Lina Salam and Sydni Kynard around as they experienced their daily lives while living in Accra, the capital of Ghana. I wanted to understand how they were perceived by the locals, and how they perceived themselves as outsiders in a place they felt they belonged to. In the case of Lina and Sydni, I wished to explore the experience of Black individuals (specifically those of lighter complexion) who do not get to be considered as Black or African “enough”. This lead me to question the importance for the local community to categorize these expats in a way that did not necessarily fit with their expectations. Through my interviews with Ghanaians, I understood that these categories referred much less to race than ethnicity and social class.

Ghana has been seen by the African and Black community as the “mecca of Africa” due to its history of being the first emancipated African country from colonization by the British in 1957, and due to its initiatives to be the “United States of West Africa” by Kwame Nkrumah (lead in 1960-1966 as first president of the Republic). Known previously during colonization as the Gold Coast, the country’s Pan African movement was fathered by Nkrumah, a man who befriended WEB du Bois, Martin Luther King and various other significant African American figures whom he met and even welcomed to Ghana. He is known to have said that “peoples of African descent” were African and “belonged to the African nation”. His position has inspired many Black expats in Ghana who have an Afrocentric perspective and, like the two young women I followed, seek to discover their African roots. Lina Salam and Sydni Kynard explained how they resented being labelled as foreigners by being called “Obruni”, and were not given credit or respected enough for their “Africanness”. Lina, especially, shares her background growing up in the U.S, and explains how she struggled to know herself fully due to her multiple identities as an African and as a Black American.

By following these girls and beginning to de-construct their lives in Ghana, I explored the relations and power dynamics between foreigners and Ghanaians, shaped by the shifting and blurry contours of the notion of “Africanness”. As my friends were not exactly perceived as being “African”, I found myself asking, what does it mean to belong to a group when you belong to the African diaspora? What of those with no knowledge of their exact ancestral roots due to the erasure by the colonizers? Where do these people belong and if they really can never know, can they “choose”?

Pass the Tech

Pass the Tech was born in a Development Communications class at AUP. The students took on an assignment where they collected used laptops and sent them to Hatua Likoni, an NGO in Mombasa, Kenya, which follows and supports students from secondary school to university. Afterwards, they were challenged to create an organization that would ensure the sustainability of their efforts. In its current iteration, Pass the Tech aims to send 100 used and refurbished laptops to Mombasa each fall, so that the program’s students have laptops for their university studies. Take a look at the video below titled "Kenya's Digital Divide: Empowering Mombasa's Youth" through which you get to experience first-hand the impact of this student-faculty collaboration. 

Persistent Women

share their stories

How can we solve a problem if we don't fully understand it?

Gender discrimination is the biased treatment of someone based on their gender, which happens to women in the workplace—a lot. The stories on this website exhibit the intricate nature of gender discrimination in the workplace, which must be recognized if we are to end this pervasive issue. 

Sharing stories invites us to feel and challenges us to learn. These are their stories—these are our stories. Find out more...

Do extreme wealth inequalities turn societies into plutocracies? investigates how the ultra-rich influence politics.

The project, developed by students and Prof. Peter Hägel within the course at AUP, is non-partisan and non-profit.

Design and Performance Workshop

Digital Ethnography & Participatory Politics Workshop

Digital Ethnography & Participatory Politics – Methodological Challenges & Opportunities for Publics and Ethnographers

With this workshop, you will explore a mix of methods to be used in a moving, digital field site when identifying, collecting, and analyzing ethnographic materials. You will also investigate ways in which researchers can critically engage with manifestations of culture, even as those manifestations become increasingly mediated across various media sources.

In the first portion of the workshop, Fatima Aziz (PhD candidate at École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales, Paris, whose research focuses on identity and sociality as co-constructed practices shaped by photographic production, sharing, and interpretation across social media) will introduce the challenges posed by conducting research across social media, which is used as a political platform by publics and as a moving digital field site for ethnographic inquiries. Her insights into the challenges of conducting a digital ethnographic inquiry across different social media will be inspired by the empirical examples she’s drawn from her research into the Twitter movements #tousvoilés and #hijabday.

In the second part of the workshop, you and your fellow participants will engage in a speculative research design discussion, be introduced to different available digital tools for conducting ethnographic inquiries, and explore your own research processes, while creating ethnographic inquiry scenarios. 

How People Consume the News

In the Spring semester, 2017, Professor Westley’s class CM1023b undertook a research project into their peers’ news consumption. The research methodology was triangulated through three different stages and modes of enquiry. 

  • Stage 1: The class filled out detailed news diaries of their news consumption over one week. These diaries were then analyzed by a group of students (group 1). The data analysis was presented to the class in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, when each student explained his/her own slides. Their findings were further summarized in an essay. 
  • Stage 2: A second group of students designed and sent out a news survey to the AUP student body. There were 80 respondents. The group then analyzed these results and compared them with the results from group 1 to identify trends and differences. The research was presented to the class in a PowerPoint presentation and summarized in an essay. 
  • Stage 3: A third group of students examined research into international millennials’ news consumption. They then compared this research with the findings of group 2. Similarly, the results were first presented and explained in a PowerPoint presentation and then summarized in an essay. 

Take a look at their project website that presents their findings, their discussion of the data and their conclusions.