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Langston Hughes lecture to explore social media, political activism

Monday, October 26, 2015

LAWRENCE — Alcides Velasquez, Langston Hughes visiting professor at the University of Kansas, will present “Follow Us: Understanding Social Media Individual and Collective Political Participation and Activism” at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28, in The Commons at Spooner Hall.

During the Bold Aspirations Visitor and Lecture Series presentation, Velasquez will present past and current research that seeks to understand how use of social media can foster political participation through the improvement of what he calls social media individual and collective political efficacy perceptions. Based on these findings, Velasquez proposes new research directions that will assess the degree to which social media political participation may motivate traditional forms of political participation among the Latino population.

Velasquez is assistant professor of communication at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, where he teaches social media, quantitative research design and content analysis courses. He is also the chief editor of Signo y Pensamiento, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of communication studies in Latin America. His work has been published in journals like New Media and Society; Information, Communication and Society; Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media; and International Journal of Communication.

Velasquez received his doctorate in media and information studies from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in digital media from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received a Fulbright scholarship to advance his doctoral studies.

Velasquez has studied how social media affordances and social and cognitive factors influence social media activism, online political engagement and digital inequalities. During his stay at KU, Velasquez is continuing his research program by looking at the degree to which political uses of social media may help alleviate the inherent barriers for political participation and engagement for the Latino population. He’s also exploring the use of social media applications for the discussion of relevant topics for Latinos during the primary elections, such as immigration issues.

The Langston Hughes Visiting Professorship was established at the University of Kansas in 1977 in honor of the African American poet, playwright and fiction writer who lived in Lawrence from 1903 to 1916. The Professorship brings a prominent or emerging minority scholar to the University for one semester each year. The Langston Hughes Professorship has been a valuable vehicle for bringing prominent minority scholars to the University for visiting appointments, as well as for recruiting permanent faculty.

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