Cline Center News and Announcements

Cline Center News and Announcements

  • 10/4/2017

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce that the Illinois Board of Higher Education has officially made us a permanent part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Board also approved a new name for the Center that aligns what we do with what we are called: the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research.

    Even though our name has changed, our mission remains the same: transforming information into knowledge that advances human flourishing. While our commitment to this mission is unwavering, our methods of pursuing it have greatly evolved since the Center’s founding 13 years ago. Our new name does a better job of reflecting the breadth of our supported research agenda and the Center’s use of innovative computational methods to analyze unstructured textual data. 

    The Cline Center began in 2004 as the Center for the Study of Democratic Governance. In 2007, we became the Cline Center for Democracy. That name reflected both the generosity of Carole and Richard G. Cline’s founding endowment and our agenda of research and public engagement activities focused on the institutions and practices that enable democratic governance around the world. This work yielded impressive results, including widely-used datasets on democratic and autocratic regimes, as well as a project on constitutional development that eventually became the independent non-profit Comparative Constitutions Project.

    Eventually, the Center’s faculty and staff came to realize that understanding the history and future prospects of democratic governance required developing entirely new data streams for documenting complex processes of social, economic, demographic, and political change. Taking on that challenge moved us into the world of extreme-scale data analysis.

    To that end, the Center’s research activities have increasingly centered on developing our Global News Archive, which now contains more than 100 million documents published over the past 100 years by news organizations from almost every country on earth. The Archive expands by the second as we collect online news nearly as fast as it is published. With help from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, we have developed specialized software to identify, extract, and analyze the billions of people, places, events, and organizations in this content.

    These advanced computational methods enhance and anchor, rather than replace, our existing programs. We continue to support and host events that engage students, members of the public, and scholars on important social issues. We also continue to support research on conflict processes, religious and ethnic groups around the world, as well as economic development and governance. These technologies enhance these efforts, enabling Cline Center supported scholarship to push the boundaries of academic research and also inform decision-making that improves societal well-being around the world.

    Finally, our new name also better reflects the diverse stakeholders we now serve. Ten years ago, we were a small operation built around the vision of a single faculty member. We now do our work through a network of more than 75 Affiliates across five continents and more than a dozen departments in six colleges across the University of Illinois. Our list of collaborators still includes pre-eminent experts on democratic governance, but has grown to encompass a variety of social scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and humanists concerned with many kinds of societal and technological challenges.  

    We also have more than a hundred student alumni and employ dozens of interns and student researchers each year. Our internship, fellowship and student employment opportunities enable undergraduate and graduate students to participate in cutting-edge data science, engineering and social science projects. 

    We are very excited for this new chapter in the history of the Cline Center and we look forward to what the future has to offer. If you are interested in joining our Affiliates program or would like to collaborate with the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research on some of the biggest political, economic, and societal challenges facing our world, please email us directly. To receive regular updates on our work, sponsored events and programs, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • 9/12/2017

    The Cline Center is very pleased to announce the details of the 2017 Cline Symposium Keynote Address.

    The theme for the Symposium is “American Grand Strategy and the Changing Global Order” and the keynote is entitled: “The Big Stick: Military Power and American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump.” It will be given by Professor Eliot A. Cohen, the Osgood Professor and Director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Dr. Cohen has served in a number of senior roles at the Departments of Defense and State, and is a US Army veteran.

     The talk is open to the public and will take place on November 9, 2017 at 7:30PM in the Alice Campbell Alumni Center Ballroom.  We will also live-stream the talk from our Facebook page—just ‘like’ us to follow and receive a notification when it comes online.

     To learn more about Professor Cohen, the Symposium and his upcoming talk, see: http://www.clinecenter.illinois.edu/news/events/cline/

     If you have questions about the event, please email us.

  • 9/5/2017

    Today the Illinois News Bureau published an interview with Cline Center Director Professor Scott Althaus about our work on the ways media coverage can affect American politics.

    His ongoing research finds that media coverage had a minimal effect on the public’s view of the Vietnam War. This finding weakens the basis for a factual claim about ‘casualty sensitivity’ that has had a profound impact on public dialogue about war, as well as debates within the US government and national security establishment for more than 40 years. 

  • 8/21/2017

    Professors Avital Livny and Stephen Chaudoin of the Department of Political Science have been selected as our 2017-2018 Linowes Fellows. These two outstanding scholars were selected from a very competitive field to work at the Cline Center with our data, research staff, and interns.

     Professor Livny will continue work on the Composition of Religious and Ethnic Groups (CREG) project. Her team is integrating dozens of censuses and thousands of surveys into a high-quality dynamic global dataset of religious and ethnic populations. Her work will also enrich with existing datasets on the political and socio-economic status of these groups.

     Professor Chaudoin will be using our Global News Archive and text-analytic technologies from our event data projects to analyze the dynamics of international law in nearly real time. His initial effort will focus on actors contending over the Filipino ‘war on drugs.’ Ultimately, he aims to develop real-time ‘seismographs’ that track events, media coverage, and citizen reactions related to international law and human rights.

     Linowes Fellows are supported by the generosity of Prof. David F. Linowes (1917-2007) and his family.

     

  • 7/3/2017

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce the release of our Historical Phoenix Event Data.  Parsing nearly 14 million news stories, we documented the agents, locations, and issues at stake in around 5 million conflict, cooperation, and communicative events from all around the world between 1945 and 2015 using the CAMEO ontology. This is the first state-of-the-art open-access political event dataset to cover 70 years of history, and it is useful for researching topics ranging from trade to civil and international conflict processes, peace-making, predicting asset values, and political forecasting.

    With the help of academic and private-sector collaborators in the Open Event Data Alliance (OEDA), and with generous support from Linowes Fellow Prof. Dov Cohen, we used PETRARCH-2 software to process stories from the New York Times (1945-2005) as well as translated media from BBC Monitoring’s Summary of World Broadcasts (1979-2015) and the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (1995-2004).

    This data describes the behavior of hundreds of agents —  including governments, businesses, political factions, international organizations and ordinary citizens — and identifies dozens of event types ranging from threats and promises to protests, riots, and violent attacks.

    We plan to update and enhance these data, and we are working on a paper to more formally introduce the dataset. In addition, we’re processing additional sources for the 1945-2015 period, and are developing new improvements to provide richer and more accurate geolocation, issue, and event categorization.

    The dataset is accessible via our website, along with a variable description document: http://www.clinecenter.illinois.edu/data/event/phoenix/

    If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at: cline-center@illinois.edu