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The Digital Double Bind: Politics, Power and Platforms in the Middle East

The Digital Double Bind

RSVP – Online

RSVP – In Person

The digital has emerged as a driving force of change that is reshaping everyday life and affecting nearly every sphere of vital activity. Yet, its impact has been far from uniform. Joe F. Khalil, a visiting scholar at GWU’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication, explores the intricate relationship between technology and socio-political change in the Middle East.  Providing insights into the dynamics of change and stasis, Khalil moves beyond binary formulations to emphasize how the digital reshapes “the political” and, conversely, how politics shapes the  region’s digital turn. Introducing the concept of the “digital double bind,” this talk offers insights into  the complexities, contradictions, and tensions characterizing the Middle East’s engagement with the digital era. This talk is based on his newly published book The Digital Double Bind (Oxford University Press), co-authored with Mohamed Zayani.

This is a hybrid event. Attendees may join remotely via Zoom or in-person at 1957 E St. NW, Room 505, Washington, DC 20052.


  • Joe F. Khalil is associate professor of global media at Northwestern University in Qatar and currently a visiting scholar at George Washington University. His publications include The Digital Double Bind (Oxford UP, 2024); The Handbook of Media and Culture in the Middle East (Wiley-Blackwell, 2023), Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World (I.B. Tauris, 2018), Arab Television Industries (Palgrave, 2009), and Arab Satellite Entertainment Television and Public Diplomacy (Smith Richardson, 2009).

  • Will Youmans is associate professor at the George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Broadly interested in questions of transnationalism, power and communication, his primary research interests include global news, law and politics. His other areas of interest include researching terrorism, American international broadcasting, Middle East politics and Arab-American studies. Dr. Youmans wrote a book, “Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera's Struggle in America” (Oxford UP, 2017), about the Qatari news network's efforts to gain a share of the news market in the United States. He is regularly quoted in outlets including Salon, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Variety and The New York Times, among others. He also appears on radio and television programs including CBC Radio, WAMU (NPR), Headline News, Al Jazeera English and ARD. Dr. Youmans has published a regular column for the Gulf News and authored articles in the Washington Post, Middle East Report and Nieman Journalism Lab.