Conference CFP

Hi to all my academic reader friends! CARP Lab is hosting a conference this March, and I’d love to have you join us in Fairfax. Details are below.

Call for Papers: Character Assassination in Theory and Practice

Host: Lab for Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP

Location: George Mason University (Arlington Campus), Arlington, Virginia

Dates: March 3-5, 2017


Submission Deadline: January 6, 2017

Character assassination (CA) is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation or credibility through character attacks. CA techniques include negative campaigning, spreading rumors, anonymous online defamation, and many other tactics. All of these are common tactics in contemporary politics, but character attacks can also be targeted against celebrities, athletes, scientists and others with a high public profile. Attackers target the private lives, values, and very identity of their victims in an attempt to discredit them and subject them to scorn and ridicule. Character assassination has been a widespread method of power struggle for centuries.


As a field of scholarship, the study of character assassination has been experiencing a remarkable academic renaissance. Researchers and practitioners from different fields such as political science, political communications, sociology, psychology and history have all been interested in the phenomenon of CA. However, a coherent methodology and vocabulary to study CA in a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspective have yet to be developed. At this conference, we aim to exchange ideas and gather suggestions to move towards this goal.


We invite scholars to submit research and works in progress which will discuss CA from a great variety of disciplinary and cultural angles. We expect each presentation to be 20 minutes long. We welcome both theoretical work and case studies.



Suggested Topics:


  • Negative campaigning and advertising in US elections
  • Negative campaigning and advertising around the world
  • Ad hominem attacks in political debate
  • CA as psychological warfare
  • Cultural differences in strategies and methods of CA
  • Rumors and their electoral consequences
  • Celebrities in CA: from comedy to smear campaigns
  • CA in social media (social networks)
  • CA, reputation management, and image repair
  • Memory erasing, silencing and history distortion
  • Visual distortion online
  • Legal aspects of libel, slander and defamation in politics
  • CA in historical perspective


To submit to the conference: Please submit a 250-word abstract of your paper by the deadline listed above. Email the abstract as an attachment to Dr. Jennifer Keohane,



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