April 9, 2021

UCalgary Political Science Congratulates: Dakoda Trithara!

2020–21 winner of an Eyes High International Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship
Trithara Banner

Dakoda Trithara is a winner of an 2020–21 Eyes High International Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship

The Eyes High International Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship was established to attract and retain the best and brightest doctoral students from around the world in support of the University of Calgary’s Eyes High vision of becoming one of the top five research universities in Canada.


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science. My primary field of study is international relations, and I am interested in technology governance issues. My interest in the intersection of politics and technology comes from my academic and work history. Prior to attending UCalgary, I received my MA in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan and my BA in international political studies from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri (my hometown!). I have nearly a decade of experience working as a technology consultant of some form for various organizations. Together, these experiences fuel my interest in exploring how humans interact in cyberspace for political purposes, how states assert their digital sovereignty, and how various global actors shape and contest digital spaces.   

Trithara Headshot

You are working on your dissertation. What is it about?

My dissertation’s working title is The Struggle Over Online Speech: Policy Entrepreneurs’ Contestation of Content Moderation Norms. The big question I ask is: How and why have various policy entrepreneurs contested both the applicability of the fundamental liberal norm of freedom of expression under particular online circumstances and the validity of the laissez-faire organizing principle that lets platforms police content themselves?

The cases narrow in on these two norms and explore their contestation within and across three contexts: political disinformation, public health misinformation, and violent extremist content. Through exploring the processes behind the erosion, construction, and emergence of content moderation norms, the work will provide in-depth, context-dependent knowledge around the objections to or acceptance of these norms by US government officials, associates from Facebook and Twitter, and civil society experts. The research will thus offer insights into the robustness of the considered norms and stakeholders’ power to shape said norms.

What are the next steps for you?

The next steps in my journey involve collecting data for the dissertation. This includes reviewing congressional hearings related to Big Tech and interviewing elite actors from the government, the technology industry, and civil society. I’m also looking forward to teaching POLI 381 Introduction to International Relations this summer!

Congratulations to Dakoda Trithara on your 2020–21 Eyes High International Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship!


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