Digital Peacekeeping: Liberians Creating a Transnational Community of Reconciliation through Online Radio

Speaker / Presenter: 

Yolanda Covington-Ward
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 -
4:10pm to 5:30pm
Williams Hall, Roemmele Global Commons


How can online radio be used to create a more inclusive national identity and reconcile years of conflict? The people of the small West African nation of Liberia were severely impacted by a fourteen year long civil war from 1989 - 2003, a war heavily driven by ethnic tensions. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Liberians left Liberia to migrate to other countries. This diaspora, known informally as the "16th county" of Liberia, continues to play a major role in the politics, economy, and culture of the post-war nation, and one of the ways that the diaspora remains transnationally engaged with the homeland is through online radio. This presentation focuses on, the first and most well-known online radio station based within the Liberian diaspora (which simultaneously broadcasts in Liberia). Covington-Ward uses both interviews with radiolib djs and listeners, as well as discourse analysis of radio shows on January 16, 2012, the date of the inauguration of current President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to discuss online-radio as a set of everyday performative acts used to construct and reconstruct a more inclusive Liberian idnetity and transnational community through a discourse of reconciliantion.

Yolanda Covington-Ward Lecture