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Dr. Emily L. Blout

Dr. Emily L. Blout is a media scholar and historian. She is the author of Media and Power in Modern Iran: Mass Communication, Ideology, and the State (IB Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2023), which examines the political and technological history of media in Iran over the course of more than eight decades and two political regimes, from Imperial Iran to the Islamic Republic.

Dr. Blout is a Georgetown University faculty member at the Center for Jewish Civilization, a visiting professor at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy at Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT).

She holds a Ph.D. in History, Iranian Studies from the University of St. Andrews, and a M.A. in Security Studies from the National Defense University.

Previously, she served as Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, where she taught courses on media and power in Iran, information war and strategy, internet politics, and cyber conflict. She was also a Fellow at American University’s Internet Governance Lab and a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Communication. She served on the governing board of the International Communications division of the International Studies Association and as guest editor of The Communication Review.

Dr. Blout’s research interests and publications, which span the peer-reviewed academic and popular press, generally concern the history and strategic use of media and information communication technology by state and non-state actors. She has written about the Iranian state’s weaponization of media for Johns Hopkins University’s Review of International Affairs and The Communication Review, and on current events concerning Iran for IranSource, The ConversationIranWire, and Responsible Statecraft.

Her recent publication in the journal Studies in Conflicts and Terrorism, concerns the weaponization of media by non-state actors, specifically the far-right. Drawing on a repository of more than 5,000 artifacts, she historicizes the violent white supremacist attack on Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. Blout and her co-author reconstruct the kinetic, cybernetic, and media-symbolic aspects of the campaign as a model of “immersive terrorism.” Dr. Blout also wrote about antisemitic conspiracy propaganda in connection to the January 6 insurrection for the influential online journal, War on the Rocks, and in connection to the Charlotteville attack in the Times of Israel.

Dr. Blout has been quoted by numerous newspapers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Hollywood Reporter. Guest appearances and interviews include Democracy Now and ABC News.

Dr. Blout’s scholarship is enhanced by over a decade working on foreign policy issues in Washington DC. Dr. Blout was a Fellow at the Pentagon in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. Serving on the Turkey desk in the Europe and NATO policy office, Dr. Blout supported intelligence analysis and policy decision-making on a host of pressing issues related to US operations in the Middle East, including the Incirlik Air Base crisis and train-and-equip operations in Syria.

Before beginning her doctoral degree, Blout worked at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the US National Defense University, where she researched WMD nonproliferation and counterterrorism policymaking at the National Security Council.  She also worked at the Institute’s Conflict Records Research Center, analyzing hundreds of documents and audio recordings recovered from the palaces of Saddam Hussein by US forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Previously, Dr. Blout served as spokeswoman and press secretary for Congressman Jim Moran (VA-8), a senior member of the House of Representatives, Vice Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment.

Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Dr. Blout worked at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a non-profit, membership organization representing Americans of Iranian descent. Beginning as an intern, she climbed the ranks to Legislative Director, tripling the size of the legislative policy arm and creating relationships with more than 100 congressional offices.

Dr. Emily L. Blout has worked or volunteered on numerous political campaigns, including three presidential election campaigns, three U.S. Senate races, a gubernatorial, and two vice gubernatorial campaigns. She has also served as campaign manager and finance director for local candidates.

Follow her on Twitter @emilyblout  and www.emilyblout.com.  Her upcoming book will be published in January 2023 and can be pre-ordered through the publisher.  She can be reached at [email protected].

Emily L. Blout