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  • Diversity & Inclusion

This event is supported by the CALS Office for Diversity and Inclusion and is part of the CALS Dean’s Inclusive Excellence Seminar Series, which highlights academic excellence through inclusive science and creates a platform for extended discussions on how our science can and should be transformative in leading to best practices and policies that support social, economic, environmental and climate justice.

The CALS Dean’s Inclusive Excellence Seminar Series and the Department of Communication present: A conversation with Laura Partain, Ph.D.

Talk abstract:
In this talk, Laura Partain provides an overview of her research agenda, broken down into the categories of media effects on socio-political participation and belonging as well as media effects on health and wellness. Both areas of research focus on the proliferation of stereotyping in media (news media, social media) and how these modes of representation lead to deleterious outcomes for underrepresented and marginalized communities in the US and around the world. Laura primarily uses socio-psychological theories to examine the socio-political circumstances that contribute to group loyalties, divisions, and re-evaluations in the presence of multiple outgroups. Focusing on anti-Black and anti-Muslim racism, as well as anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment, Laura will discuss the ethics of working with communities underrepresented in media literature. For example, she will discuss the need for co-designing research projects and experimental studies with Palestinian and Syrian Americans and explain how this research lays the groundwork for future projects on mediated bias-reduction strategies that aim to increase opportunities for marginalized communities’ access to civic processes, health and wellness services, and human rights.

Speaker bio:
Laura Partain
is a lecturer in Civic and Global Media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She earned her Ph.D. in Media Sciences and Communication from Indiana University’s Media School in May of 2021, holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas-Austin, and graduated with a BA in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laura is an intergroup and intercultural communication scholar who examines audience receptions of US and global media representations of marginalized communities. As a social scientist in the field of media effects, her research explores cognitive and affective processes as well as the underlying mechanisms that lead to intergroup emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. Laura analyzes socio-political ideologies that underpin audience responses to representations at the intersection of multiple identities, such as race, religion, nationality, and citizenship status. Her research shows how these responses gate-keep marginalized peoples’ access to equal rights, civic participation, and healthcare resources. For example, Laura’s scholarship shows how, over time, socialization into ideological Whiteness shapes automatic, emotional reactions to out-groups, which in turn elicit audience attitudes and behaviors in support of civic and extra-judicial limitations on marginalized communities. Her research focuses on anti-racist sentiment directed at Black Americans, Muslims, immigrants and refugees, Indigenous communities, and Southwest Asian and North Africans (SWANA), specifically Palestinians, Syrians, Iranians, and Lebanese peoples.


Date & Time

February 7, 2022
1:30 pm - 2:45 pm


Laura Partain Headshot

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Kelli Carr

  • kac345 [at]


Laura Partain, Ph.D.


Department of Communication

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