Minerva Inititive

Our project will continue work from a previous NSF Minerva grant Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes (#0904909) to analyze the speech of international actors to detect motives, identify threats, and find predictive patterns of language and behavior. Our project has three components: identifying language patterns related to armed political crises; identifying bluffs and threats pertinent to both national and international security; and analyzing the relationship between language and contentious behavior like protests, riots, and rebellions. We want to extend our analysis beyond the existing corpora which focus heavily on China and the Middle East/North Africa regions to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where there are growing security threats and ample opportunities to collect and analyze linguistic data.

For more information, please contact Leah Windsor: Leah.Windsor (at) Memphis (dot) edu

From the Minerva Initiative website:

The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative launched by the Secretary of Defense in 2008 focusing on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy.
The goal of the Minerva Initiative is to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S. The research program will:

  • Leverage and focus the resources of the Nation’s top universities.
  • Seek to define and develop foundational knowledge about sources of present and future conflict with an eye toward better understanding of the political trajectories of key regions of the world.
  • Improve the ability of DoD to develop cutting-edge social science research, foreign area and interdisciplinary studies, that is developed and vetted by the best scholars in these fields.

The Minerva Initiative brings together universities, research institutions, and individual scholars and supports interdisciplinary and cross-institutional projects addressing specific topic areas determined by the Secretary of Defense.

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