Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Navigating the Shadows: Examining the Impact of Censorship and Counter-Censorship”

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Yueqi Dou’s  Signature Work project.

Student: Yueqi Dou

Mentor: Professor Robin Rodd

Censorship, the suppression or control of information and communication, is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon that has been an enduring aspect of current societies and the media landscape. It takes various forms, ranging from government-imposed restrictions on media content to self-censorship driven by societal norms and values. However, people have continually grappled with the challenges of censorship, coming up with tactics to avoid being censored. The censorship guidelines often are inexplicit and blurry, leaving people space to interpret and test the boundaries. To deliver messages and prevent content from being banned, people tend to internalize the censorship and regulate their own behaviors. Under the shadow of censorship, content and art work manage to thrive in the grey area. This research aims to examine activist movements and artistic practices under censorship in online and public spaces. Starting with a review of these practices and related literatures, I will explore and categorize the strategies people have used to escape censorship. Drawing on anthropological, sociological, and media theories and methods, I intend to go deep into these practices and their social impact. I will primarily focus on the landscape in China. Then I will make comparisons with cases in other cultures and countries, such as Korea and Russia.