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Perspectives on Character Assassination

Fri, Apr 13, 2018, 4:30pm - 5:30pm


You are cordially invited to a panel on the topic of
Perspectives on Character Assassination
Jennifer Keohane, Sergei A Samoilenko, and Eric Shiraev

Friday, April 13th
4:30 – 5:30 PM

Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20036




About the Panel: The 2016 U.S. presidential election provides an extensive database for scholars. Not only was the election characterized by a dramatic increase in “nasty politics,” but also by the rise of populism and political showmanship that strategically employed character attacks to shock the audience. Other ongoing political developments urge researchers to address many questions. Among them are: Does character assassination work? What are the underlying psychological and rhetorical bases of character assassination? How does the media contribute to the viral effect of smear campaigns? How can one prevent and defend against character assassination? This panel will address these and many other questions related to the nature of character attacks and reputation management.

About the Panelists:

Jennifer Keohane holds a Ph.D. in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; an M.A. in Communication Arts (Rhetoric) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and a B.A. in Communication Studies (Rhetoric and Public Culture) and International Studies, magna cum laude, from Northwestern University. She most recently taught communications courses including public speaking, issues of freedom of speech and communication ethics, business communication, and organizational communication at George Mason University. Her publications and scholarship examine issues of class, identity, feminism, race, and character as expressed through rhetoric and communication; she is currently working on two books: Red Rhetoric: Crafting a Feminist Voice in Cold War America, and The Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management.

Sergei A Samoilenko is a founding member of CARP, the Research Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics, based at George Mason University, Virginia. His research focuses on issues in public relations, crisis communication and reputation management. He is also one of the editors of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook for Character Assassination and Reputation Management. Sergei actively contributes to the development of communication education internationally. He is the past president of the Eurasian Communication Association of North America (ECANA) established to facilitate former Soviet Union-related communication research, education and its practical social application in Russia and the US, and promote joint projects between scholars from Russia, CIS and Baltic states and their North American counterparts.His former companies and projects included: The Salvation Army, FAB (Caspian Pipeline Consortium), TACIS, International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, and others.His professional service is focused on bridging academic and professional communities in the areas of public relations and social media. He sees his mission in helping communication practitioners acquire new skills and adapt to global marketplaces and emerging online communities.

Eric Shiraev received his academic degrees at St. Petersburg University in Russia and completed a post-doctoral program at UCLA. He is an author, co-author, and co-editor of fourteen books and numerous publications in the fields of international relations, political psychology, Russian, cross-cultural, and comparative studies. He develops a distinct multi-disciplinary approach to government, social, and political behavior and emphasizes the role of identity and culture in politics and international relations. Besides his teaching and scholarly work, Eric Shiraev writes policy briefs and opinion essays for government, nongovernment organizations, and the media.


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