CFP: Routledge Handbook

Time is running out to submit an abstract for a handbook I’m editing with my CARP colleagues. I’ve pasted the CFP below or you can read about the project on our website.

The Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management

Call for Papers

Themes and aims of the volume

The Routledge Handbook of Character Assassination and Reputation Management is due to appear in 2018. It will consist of 28-30 chapters from a wide variety of disciplines, including political science, history, psychology, communication, and legal studies.

This handbook responds to the demand for a creative collection of recent scholarship that transcends disciplinary boundaries. The book consists of the most recent original essays to satisfy the growing interest in this area. It is intended to be both engaging and relevant to scholars, practitioners, and students focusing on issues of character assassination and reputation management in the aforementioned fields.

We define character assassination (CA) as the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation or credibility through character attacks. The term may refer to the process as well as the result. Character attacks are by definition intentional and public in nature. They can take place in the context of a political campaign, national or religious propaganda, rivalry between scientists or celebrities, etc. Character assassination can even occur posthumously, for instance in the case of overthrown regimes or political or religious icons (Karl Marx and the Prophet Muhammad are prominent examples). Reputation management entails the building and maintaining of a positive public image, including the defense against character attacks and damage control in case of a bruised reputation.

We invite all contributors to approach character assassination and/or reputation management from their personal expertise. Chapters may discuss a particular phenomenon (e.g. CA in political cartoons), culture, region or period, or focus on relevant case studies. However, it’s important that each author reflects on the relevance of their specific topic for the broader themes of the volume.


If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please submit a 500-word abstract of your proposed chapter and a 50-word biography to Sergei Samoilenko at by April 1. Accepted authors will be notified in May and have until October 16 to write their 7,000-word contribution.

Questions and inquiries

The editors are available to answer any questions.

Sergei Samoilenko (George Mason University), Eric Shiraev (George Mason University), Martijn Icks (University of Amsterdam), Jennifer Keohane (George Mason University)

Save the NEH and NEA

As many of you all likely know the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts are federal agencies that promote, support, and fund research in the humanities and the arts. These organizations are under attack for severe budget cuts and possible elimination under the Trump administration. I won’t rehearse the list of reasons why the arts and humanities are so crucial for a democratic citizenry in this age of “alternative facts.”

What I will ask is that you take a minute and register your support for these crucial organizations. Clicking this link will help you draft an email to your legislators expressing your support. You can also sign this petition.

Thanks for your support.

Governor O’Malley visits Mason

The Communication Industry Forum was a smashing success on Tuesday. Students listened to a variety of speakers, including former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, extoll the power of political communication. O’Malley spoke eloquently about the power of stories to instill belief and hope in a population, and rather than discuss the presidential campaign, he spoke about his time as mayor of Baltimore. In particular, he pointed to the controversial “Believe” campaign as evidence for the importance of communication. Here he is addressing students. As per usual, it is refreshing when “practitioners” of political communication can join in the dialogue happening at our universities.