2013-15: Media and Democracy

The changing landscape of media offers many openings and challenges for political identities, social movements and institutions. This is the largest revolution in the modern history of human communications and deserves a serious exploration of the changes and their impacts. We will examine the changes in our contemporary media as well as the dramatic cultural, political, and legal transitions influenced by new media. Wayne Morse was a defender of free speech and public participation in government, and we believe he would champion a free and open internet and be interested in the democratizing features of new media.

Key topics include:

  • Impact of new media on politics, citizen participation, organizing, social movements, technology, youth, education and culture
  • Trade-off between civil liberties and national security
  • Intellectual property law, copyright, censorship, privacy and internet freedom.
  • New forms of selfhood and identity; and the quality of discourse and human interactions.
  • Technology and class, race and gender—access, use and impacts.


Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics

William “Terry” Fisher 2013-14

Fisher is director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Hilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School. While at UO, he assisted with a law school class on intellectual property during fall 2013. In winter 2014, Professor Fisher hosted REWIRED: How Technology and Law Shape Social Progress.

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun 2014-15
Chun chairs the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She is the author of Programmed Visions: Software and Memory (2011) and Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics (2006).



Cathy Cohen

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago where she also served as the director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. She is the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics (Oxford University Press 2010) and The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

Kelly Matheson

Kelly Matheson is a senior program manager for WITNESS. In addition, she is an attorney, human rights activist and filmmaker.

Robert McChesney

Robert McChesney is a professor at the University of Illinois who focuses on the history and political economy of communication. He is also the author of Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy.

John Nichols

John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation and a frequent radio and tv commentator on politics and media issues. His books include The Genius of Impeachmentand the best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President.

Michele Norris

Michele Norris is a host of NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of The Grace of Silence: A Memoir. She is the founder of the Race Card Project, which encourages conversation about race and identity.

Madhavi Sunder

Madhavi Sunder is a leading scholar in law and culture, with a special interest in intellectual property and human rights law. She is the Thelton E. Henderson Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2013. Her book, From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice, was published in 2012.


Resident Scholars

Eric Priest  – Resident Scholar in Law
Eric Priest is an assistant professor of law specializing in intellectual property law and responses to new technology. He continued his research on Copyright, Media and Democracy in China. Priest co-taught a fall 2013 class on Advanced Topics in Intellectual Property Law with 2013 Wayne Morse Chair of Law and Politics William “Terry” Fisher.  The class examined emerging issues that are important to lawyers and practitioners of new media. He also convened a symposium on Copyright and Media Pluralism in China.

Colin Koopman

Colin Koopman, assistant professor in philosophy, specializes in political theory with a focus on the history and future of the politics of information. He worked on his third book, titled Infopolitics:Transformations of Public and Private. His previous books are Pragmatism as Transition and Genealogy as Critique. Koopman worked with the Wayne Morse Center to hold REWIRED: How Technology and Law Shape Social Progress  in January 2014.

Carrie Leonetti
Carrie Leonetti, associate professor of law, continued her scholarship on privacy issues in the age of the Internet. Leonetti is the faculty leader of the Criminal Justice Initiative at University of Oregon School of Law. In 2011-12, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her scholarship focuses on pretrial detention and over-criminalization, defense-counsel decision-making, search and seizure, and the role of technology in criminal adjudication.

Gabriela Martinez

Gabriela Martinez, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, built on her work in Latin America in her project Media, Democracy and the Construction of Collective Memory. Martinez focused on Peru, Guatemala and Mexico, examining how media production can address human rights violations, promote social change and strengthen democratic practices.


Project Grants

  • Civil Liberties Defense Center for “Know Your Rights” training videos, webinars, and online resources that can be used by activists whose civil liberties may be at risk or who are threatened with Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation by corporations.
  •  Amanda Eckerson (UO) / Northwest Alliance for Alternative Media and Education / Media Island International for the “Cascadia Grassroots Media Convergence” in Portland on September 19-21, 2014.
  • KLCC to bring NPR investigative correspondent Howard Berkes to the University of Oregon and Lane Community College for a five-day residency. Berkes delivered public lectures and taught workshops for radio reporters focusing on new media’s effect on traditional media.
  • Occupy Eugene Media Group / First Christian Church for an online media library to that provides tools to address the issues of homelessness in Lane County and beyond.
  • Our Children’s Trust to prepare and distribute an education module based on the youth effort in Eugene, which enabled “replication” of this local model in other Oregon communities.
  • Biswarup Sen and Patrick Jones for the “New Media and Democracy: Global Perspectives” in April 2015.
  • UO Libraries for the “Wayne Morse and Media: A Digital Collection” project  put multimedia material from the Wayne Morse Collection held at the University of Oregon online.
  • Huerto de la Familia for “The Harvest Film Festival,” featuring films that focus on the interconnected immigrant rights movement and food justice movement.
  • Assistant Professor of Journalism Ed Madison for an after-school Digital Citizens Multimedia Course at Roosevelt High School in Portland.
  • Project REconomy to conduct surveys of how rural Latino homeowners access resources and information, especially via new media and the internet, related to foreclosure relief programs and making such information available to them.
  • Race Card Project at UO for a public lecture and panel on the intersections of race, media and democracy featuring NPR host Michele Norris.
  • UO Libraries to preserve and digitize the films in the Wayne Morse Papers Special Collection and University Archives, culminating in a public screening of select films.
  • Kim Goodwin and Trey Wilkins for seed money to develop a proposal for a documentary on the community rights movement in Oregon.