Mary Junck Research Colloquium Series

Mary Junck Colloquium Graphic

The Mary Junck Research Colloquium Series was formally established in 2007 to nurture an intellectually vibrant climate with both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary shades, by scheduling scholarly presentations on diverse topics.

The speakers represent various disciplines and units on campus as well as other universities and organizations in the Triangle. The series has been particularly successful in attracting scholars and researchers of national and international renown from within the U.S. and abroad. The series attracts a diverse audience comprising faculty, graduate students and researchers from around the Triangle.

The colloquia meet 2-3:30 p.m. on Thursdays in the Freedom Forum Conference Center (3rd floor) in Carroll Hall.

Past talks are recorded and made available for public view via the Mary Junck Colloquium Series playlist on the school's YouTube channel.

For more information or to make suggestions, please contact Sriram "Sri" Kalyanaraman at or 919.843.5858.

Spring 2013 Speakers

April 25 -  Dr. Hector Postigo, Associate Professor, Department of Media Studies and Production, Temple University

  • Title: The Digital Rights Movement, What it Knew About the Participatory Web and a Theory of Counter Architectures
  • Abstract: This talk is based on my recent book The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright from MIT press.  The book analyzes the policymaking process for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( DMCA) as well as the various strategies, themes and understandings of copyright law and user practices espoused by the digital rights movement. Findings from research conducted for the book suggest that in the design and business of digital media and information communication technologies, affordance architectures are important not only as consumption mechanisms but also as regulatory mechanisms. While this assertion is not new, given that Langdon Winner in Science and Technology Studies and Lawrence Lessig in legal studies pointed this out some time ago, there are important points to be made about the empowering nature of technological resistance as it enters the field of contention between business interests that use law and technology to configure consumption in old media ways and hacks and activism that push on those boundaries.   The this talk will flesh out those important points and how they may point to generalizable dynamics as contention continues between users engaged in participatory practices and companies seeking to create business models based upon.


April 11 -  Dr. Brian Primack, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

  • Title: Hookah Tobacco Smoking: Ancient History or Emerging Epidemic?
  • Abstract: North Carolina’s statewide ban on cigarette smoking in all restaurants and bars went into effect in 2010. However, tonight you and three of your friends can go to Sahara Café in downtown Raleigh and each inhale the smoke of about 166 cigarettes (95% CI = 102, 235) for less than $5 each. Non-smokers who happen to be there enjoying coffee or a pastry will be exposed to substantially more carbon monoxide than they would in a regular bar with cigarette smoking allowed. Is this legal? Why do people do this? Does this happen in other U.S. cities too? Is it just a college town thing? Is it addictive? What messages in popular media and in the environment may influence people to do this? Please come join us for a session exploring these and other questions about hookah tobacco smoking.


April 4 -  Dr. Sherine El-Toukhy, Post Doc Research Associate, Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC

  • Title: It won’t happen to me: Building an argument for automatic health risk perceptions
  • Abstract: How would you respond if you saw this message: “Five million Americans have hepatitis. Do you? Get tested.” According to the studies to be discussed in this talk, you most likely would think, “I won’t get hepatitis, so no need to get tested.” 
    Communication campaigns frequently are designed to inform people about risks so they will make healthier decisions. The receivers of such messages, however, often underestimate the possibility of experiencing a health risk (i.e., their susceptibility) and the seriousness or severity of the risk.
    This talk draws on psychological theory and research to uncover the processes involved in how people judge personal health risks. Results of several experimental studies provide evidence that there are defaults in people’s minds when it comes to health risk perceptions. Together, these studies show that people, without awareness, intention, or cognitive resources, automatically underestimate their health risks.
    These studies are some of the first to make the case for the automaticity of health risk perceptions. The studies contribute to the health communication field because they: (a) challenge current behavior change theories that assume that decision making is rational and that risk perception is a combination of susceptibility and severity rather than two independent concepts; (b) explain the processes involved in judgments of risk and present a theoretical model that describes how people arrive at biased risk perceptions; (c) use reaction time (i.e., an implicit measure) as an index of the mental processes involved in judgments of risk; and (d) have implications for other risk domains (e.g., environmental risks) and effective health messaging.


March 28 -  Dr. Chen-Chao Tao, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

  • Title: Complex information, attention, and memory: What eye movements can and cannot tell you and how to deal with (and model) them
  • Abstract: The relationship between attention, eye movements, and memory is an enduring question, especially in the context of mediated message processing. Eye movements, usually employed as the indicator of attention, are postulated to be positively associated with memory, but empirical studies show disparate results. Two main issues emerge from the current literature. First, scholars have different opinions about which measure of eye movements appropriately represents attention. Most researchers support fixation duration, while some prefer fixation number. Second, research findings reveal that measures of eye movements seem not to be correlated with memory score. Some structural features of mediated messages (e.g., salience) have even better explanatory power than measures of eye movements. This talk reviews current literature and proposes a composite measure encompassing fixation duration and fixation number and argues that separating implicit attentional capture from explicit attentional capture is a possible way to clarify the relationship between attention, eye movements, and memory.


March 21 - Dr. James Ivory, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Virginia Tech

  • Title: Past, Present, and Future Research on the Social Effects of Video Games: Problems, Policy, and Paradigms
  • Abstract: Research on potential negative effects of video games, particularly effects related to violence in games, has long been a prominent area of study for researchers interested in media effects.  Despite the vast and ever-growing amount of research on negative social effects of games, though, the topic remains a hotly disputed one.  Perhaps even more disputed are the implications of research on games' effects for policy. After reviewing the state of research related to some potential negative effects of video games and interpreting the implications of that research for policy, Dr. Ivory will describe conceptual and methodological disconnects between much of that research and the current state of video games' features and functions, then finally propose new directions in research on video games that may better help us understand their social role and impact.


February 28 - Dr. Laura DeNardis, author, Internet governance scholar, and Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at American University

  • Title: The World Wide War for Internet Governance
  • Abstract:  Internet governance conflicts are the new spaces where political and economic power is unfolding in the 21st century. Technologies of Internet governance increasingly mediate freedom of expression and individual privacy. They are entangled with national security and global commerce. The distributed nature of Internet governance technologies is shifting historic control over these public interest areas from sovereign nation-states to private ordering and new global institutions. The term "Internet governance" conjures up a host of global controversies such as the prolonged Internet outage in Syria during political turmoil or Google's decision not to acquiesce to U.S. government requests to remove an incendiary political video from YouTube. It invokes narratives about the United Nations "taking over" the Internet, cybersecurity concerns about denial of service attacks, and the mercurial privacy policies of social media companies. These issues exist only at the surface of a technologically concealed and institutionally complex ecosystem of governance that is generally out of public view. This talk explains how the Internet is currently governed, particularly through the sinews of power that exist in technical architecture and new global institutions, and presents several brewing Internet governance controversies that will affect the future of economic and expressive liberty.


February 21 - David S. Ardia, Assistant Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Media Law and Policy, UNC-Chapel Hill

  • Title: Freedom of Speech, Defamation, and Injunctions
  • Abstract:  Over the past decade, the Internet has brought increased attention to the adequacy of the remedies available in defamation cases. Defamation plaintiffs are understandably frustrated. In almost all cases, money damages will not fully compensate them for the reputational and emotional harms they are suffering, and many defendants lack the ability to pay damages in any event. Yet it has long been a fixture of Anglo-American law that plaintiffs are not entitled to injunctive relief in defamation actions; their remedies are solely monetary. Indeed, it has been repeated as a truism: ³equity will not enjoin a libel.² It is a precept that rests on one of the strongest presumptions in First Amendment jurisprudence, that injunctions against libel and other kinds of speech are unconstitutional prior restraints.
    But the belief that equity will not enjoin a libel may not be true, at least not anymore. While the Supreme Court has never held that an injunction is a permissible remedy for defamation, the past decade has seen a veritable surge in injunctions directed at defamatory speech, especially speech on the Internet. Despite this surge, courts have not clearly articulated why injunctions are permissible under the First Amendment and consistent with long-standing principles of equity. As a result, many judges ­ and scholars ­ remain confused about the availability and proper scope of injunctive relief in defamation cases.
    This article challenges the widely held view that defamation law does not countenance injunctions. In doing so, it presents the first comprehensive analysis of more than two centuries of case law involving injunctions in defamation cases. Reviewing these cases, it draws out the rationales, both constitutional and equitable, for the no-injunction rule. The article concludes that while courts should be cautious when granting injunctions, a limited form of injunctive relief would be constitutional and consistent with equitable principles if it were limited solely to false statements on matters of private concern that a court has found after full adjudication ­ are defamatory. It then describes how such a remedy can be structured so that it would be both effective and compatible with the First Amendment. 


February 7 - Dr. Celeste González de Bustamante, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism, University of Arizona

  • Title: Fallout from the Firestorm: Historical and Contemporary Connections Among Immigration, Politics and the Media
  • Abstract: With a new congress in session, and the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term, it appears politicians might be willing to talk about immigration reform. In her presentation, University of Arizona professor Celeste González de Bustamante explains why tackling this thorny subject from a state or national level will not resolve the issue. The talk draws upon some of the research presented in her co-edited anthology with Otto Santa, Arizona Firestorm: Global Immigration Realities, National Media, and Provincial Politics (2012). Finally, Dr. González de Bustamante will talk about the media’s role in shaping our understanding or in some cases, misunderstanding about undocumented immigrants and immigration. 


January 17 - Dave Karpf, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University

  • Title: "The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy"
  • Abstract: Online politics is neither limited to "clicktivism" nor comprised of "organizing without organizations." In Dave Karpf's new book, he presents evidence that the new media environment has given rise to a new generation of political advocacy groups. These organizations have redefined membership and fundraising regimes. They have established novel tools for gauging  supporter opinion and pioneered nimble mobilization tactics that keep pace with the accelerated media cycle. These tactical innovations have not spread equally to older interest groups. Nor have they spread equally across the political spectrum — "netroots" political organizations are much stronger on the left than the right. In Karpf's research presentation, he will highlight key findings and ongoing puzzles regarding the nature and scope of the "MoveOn Effect" in American politics.