CSLS Launches New Research Collaboration



CSLS postdoctoral researcher Caitlyn McGeer has been awarded a British Academy ODA International Interdisciplinary Research grant alongside Co-Investigators, Mesfin Fikre Woldmariam, an Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and Researcher at Institute of Development Policy Research (IDPR), and Mbongeni Msimanga, a Senior Post Doctoral Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study (JIAS), South Africa.

Their two-year project, Gender and Digital Repression: The Practice and Toll of Digital Repression on Women in the Authoritarian Turn (GenDR), is a comprehensive research programme that builds on expertise from the ConflictNet project. GenDR reflects on the findings from the ConflictNet project but goes in a new direction premised on the urgency of analyzing the overlooked impact of the gender dimension of digital repression. The research will not only explore how gender impacts the experience of digital repression, but how gender intersects with other individual identities such as age, race/ethnicity, nationality, disability, and religion to compound the impact of the experience of digital repression. It will assess the impact on women and on what axes this impact is distinct from the experience of men.

GenDR will use Ethiopia and Zimbabwe as case studies, given their prevalence of digital repression mechanisms and autocratic state structures, as well as the collaborators’ previous work history on this topic in these countries during the ConflictNet project. According to the foremost index of digital repression, the 2023 Internet Freedom Status report by Freedom House (2023), Ethiopia’s internet is one of the most restricted in Africa, and Zimbabwe is in the middle with a partly free internet. These two case studies will enable the development of a more holistic mapping of the impact of the gendered dimensions of digital repression differ across perceived levels of internet freedom.

To find our more, please visit our Postdoctoral Fellows website. We are open to hearing from prospective candidates for postdoctoral fellowship schemes.