Sarah Oates is an expert on Russian media and propaganda. She is Professor and Senior Scholar at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park, where she researches and teaches political communication. Her most recent book (Revolution Stalled: The Political Limits of the Internet in the Post-Soviet Sphere, Oxford University Press) focused on the democratizing potential of the internet in Russia. She has researched and published on the media’s role in framing election and security issues in Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A former journalist, she has been an election observer in Russia and Kazakhstan. Her current research focuses on tracking Russian propaganda in the U.S. media sphere, both through traditional media outlets and internet platforms. She holds a PhD and MA in Political Science from Emory University and a BA in English from Yale.

Project Summary

This project will use the study of Russian propaganda to refine ways to define and track strategic narratives as they travel through our contemporary media ecosystem. By triangulating strategic narrative theory, media studies, and computational linguistics, it is possible to create a more robust and precise understanding of how pro-Russian messages reach foreign audiences. At the same time, this approach offers a useful tool in the sphere of public diplomacy in that it moves the discussion of Russian propaganda from the realm of conjecture to an evidence-based study of the volume and type of state-sponsored propaganda affecting U.S. citizens.

Major Publications

A Perfect Storm: American Media, Russian Propaganda. 2017. Current History 116(792): 282-284
Russian Media in the Digital Age: Propaganda Rewired. 2016. Russian Politics 1(4): 398-417.
Revolution Stalled: The Political Limits of the Internet in the Post-Soviet Sphere. 2013. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199735956