Visiting Doctoral Fellow
Elena Fellner is a PhD candidate at the Collaborative Research Center “Heroes, Heroizations, Heroisms” at Freiburg University in Germany where they previously worked as a research assistant. Affiliated with the CRC’s project on heroization processes as cause and effect of periods of societal upheaval, their PhD thesis investigates heroization and demonization discourses in oppositional online spaces in the MENA region. They studied Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, and Iranian Studies in Freiburg, Esfahan, and Cairo. Their research interests include communication on social media, modern Iranian history, public diplomacy, and social movements.
A Light in Troubled Times?
Heroization Discourses in Oppositional Online Spaces of the MENA Region
The dissertation project builds on the assertion that heroes do not exist per se, but are constructed out of the values, hopes, and fears of the community that proclaims them. Heroized and also demonized figures therefore provide a valuable lens to study the communities that form around them. The dissertation project uses this lens to take a fresh look at heroized and demonized figures that have appeared in the last five years. While the main focus lies on Iran, other countries of the region such as Lebanon and Iraq as well as transnational movements provide valuable opportunities for contrasting and comparing claims of heroism and villainy and the communities that make them. Based on data collected from social media, primarily Twitter and Instagram, the study observes how users perform identities, construct communities, and draw boundaries with reference to heroes and villains alike.
Der Giftgasangriff von Ghouta (Syrien) vom 21. August 2013 – as part of a student project on the Syrian War from a Turkish and Arab perspective (2016). www.orient.uni-freiburg.de/islamwissenschaft/studium/syrienprojekt/fellner/index.
Aktivistin, Politikerin, Intellektuelle. Zahrā Rahnavard und die iranische Frauenrechtsbewegung seit dem 20. Jahrhundert. In: JOSHA Journal 5.7 (2018), DOI: 10.17160/josha.5.7.470.
Redefining Terrorism. Iran, the U.S., and the War on Terror. In: Legacies of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror, ed. Ameem Lutfi and Kevin L. Schwartz (2022), Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences Prague.
Forthcoming: The Lion and the Lamb. Film Representations of Navid Afkari on Social Media. In: helden.heroes.héros 10.1 (2023).