Research Director for the Berkman Center
Robert Faris is the Research Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. His recent research includes Internet content regulation, state censorship and surveillance practices, broadband and infrastructure policy, and the interaction of new media, online speech, government regulation of the Internet and political processes. Rob is a contributor to the OpenNet Initiative, studying Internet censorship activities in over 60 countries around the world. He is currently working on the integration and comparison of analytical tools to better understand the structure of online communities and digital media content. Rob also teaches classes on Internet policy and the impact of the Internet on social and political change.
Prior to joining the Berkman Center in 2006, Rob worked extensively in Latin America and Asia on issues related to economic development, public policy and environmental management. He has held research positions at the Harvard Institute for International Development and at Harvard’s Center for International Development where he worked on applied research projects focused on the role of natural resource management in economic development. At the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Rob designed and carried out participatory regional planning studies using geographic and economic simulation tools to assess the economic, ecological, and social implications of urban development. Rob has worked in numerous South Asian countries while living in Nepal, where he taught science as a Peace Corps volunteer and ran an adventure travel business.
Drawing upon his past work in the research and design of policies to protect the natural commons, Rob is now applying this experience to the work at the Berkman Center related to protecting the digital commons. As cyberspace plays an increasing role in the success and failure of regions and states, he is excited to be involved in a field of research that is of growing salience to international economic development.
Rob holds a M.A. and PhD. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania.
His recent publications include:
Reading Twitter in Tehran
Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture and Dissent
Madison and the Smart Mob: the Promise and Limitations of the Internet for Democracy
News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age