Cline Center News and Announcements

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Cline Center News and Announcements

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  • Prof. Althaus, with the Help of Students, Expand our Understanding of Mass Communication

    Scott Althaus, director of The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research and professor of political science and communication, recently produce a research paper that reexamines the historical significance of newsreels. With the help of students from a junior honors seminar political science course, they were able to show that newsreels played an important role in the progression of the news industry. Their study is being published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, a leading specialty journal in the field of mass communication research. To learn more about their findings please use the following link:

  • Announcing 2018-2019 Linowes Fellows

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce the 2018-2019 David F. Linowes Faculty Fellows: Assistant Professors Jana Diesner (School of Information Sciences) and Chadly Stern (Psychology).  Linowes Fellowship awards, recognize, and support scholars whose work is relevant to Cline Center initiatives and who plan to use Cline Center data and technology in innovative projects.  

    Prof. Diesner’s project aims to use text-mining technologies to enable better disaster response practices by analyzing media coverage related to hurricanes. She will ask whether the gender of the storm’s name and the location of active media outlets are correlated with the extent and content of risk, preparedness, uncertainty-related rhetoric.

    Prof. Stern’s project aims to enhance our ability to understand and address political violence. He will use survey data and Cline Center-generated event data to examine whether the degree of consensus among citizens on political issues and values predicts the level of societal stability or conflict.

    These projects reflect the values, goals and standards set by David F. Linowes during his long and distinguished service to the University of Illinois and the American people. He served as a US Army officer during WWII, as the Boeschenstein Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy at UIUC, and in senior roles on a number of presidential commissions on topics ranging from privacy to stewardship of natural resources.   

    Generous gifts from Professor Linowes and his family enable the Cline Center to support these Faculty Fellows as well as the annual Linowes Lecture on Public Policy. These programs demonstrate Professor Linowes’ and the Cline Center’s shared commitment to applying cutting-edge academic knowledge to today’s most challenging policy issues and pressing societal problems.

  • Announcing 2018 Schroeder Fellows

    The Cline Center is pleased to announce that Political Science doctoral students Luzmarina Garcia and Sanghoon Kim will be joining us as 2018 Schroeder Fellows this summer.  

    Luz will be working with Social, Political, and Economic Event Database (SPEED) data drawn from New York Times articles published between 1945 and 2005 to explore civil unrest events associated with social movements. By cataloguing the characteristics of social movements associated with different kinds of unrest events and integrating event data with geospatial analysis, Luz will develop time series models to better understand how civil unrest activity evolves as a function of group characteristics and resource disparities.

    Sanghoon will be using the Cline Center’s Global News Archive in combination with SPEED data to understand how political corruption scandals are reported in news outlets around the world, how those scandals are used strategically by political parties for electoral advantage, and how news of those corruption scandals affects voting in countries with authoritarian legacies.

  • Call for Applications: 2018-2019 Cline Center Linowes Fellowships

    The Cline Center for Advanced Social Research is pleased to invite AY2018-19 applications for the  David F. Linowes Faculty Fellows Program, which is made possible by a generous gift from the Linowes family. This program recognizes exceptionally promising faculty members doing innovative work aligned with the mission of the Cline Center. All tenure-stream faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign are eligible.

    Linowes Faculty Fellows benefit from opportunities for innovation and discovery using the  Cline Center’s data holdings and/or analytic tools. Fellows receive a discretionary research budget of $5,000, plus additional in-kind support from the Cline Center as needed, potentially including dedicated staff  time and computational resources. Appointments will be for one year with the possibility of renewal for a second, depending upon the project, and successful completion of an end-of-year performance evaluation. Fellows are expected to maintain a regular presence at the Center and will be provided with office space as appropriate. They gain access to Cline Center staff, services, and computational  resources for the duration of their fellowship. Fellows are also expected play a leadership role in conceiving and organizing the annual David F. Linowes Lecture on Public Policy.

    Applicants should provide a short project summary (two pages, maximum) that describes the proposed project and its relationship to the Cline Center’s ongoing research initiatives. Additional merit criteria include the proposal’s: (1) use of, or contributions to, Cline Center analytic tools or data resources  (e.g., SPEED civil unrest data, Phoenix event data, Rule of Law data, Composition of Religious and Ethnic Groups data, the more than 100 million articles in the Center’s Global News Archive); (2) likelihood of being completed during the fellowship year; (3) alignment with the mission and core values of the Cline Center.

    A strong proposal will also mention deliverables to be completed by the end of the year (i.e., papers written, software developed, data compiled, analyses completed). It should also include a detailed estimate of in-kind Cline Center support that will be needed to complete the project (e.g., server resources, data acquisition costs, software development support, staff assistance for text analytics research, etc.).

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their project ideas with the Center’s director before developing a final proposal. A faculty committee will evaluate the proposals. When evaluating proposed continuing projects, the committee will assess past performance and progress. Awards will be announced by May 1, 2018 and must be approved at the college and campus levels.

    Proposals must be emailed to the Cline Center’s business manager, Sheila Roberts (, before 5:00pm on April 1, 2018. Completed proposals must include:

    • A brief letter that discusses how the project fits within your longer-term research interests and goals;
    • A short proposal (no more than two pages) describing the research project;
    • A copy of your curriculum

    Please direct any questions or inquiries to Scott Althaus, Director of the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research, by email ( or by phone (217.265.7845).

  • Hosting the Collaborative Research on Extreme Scale Text Analytics (CRESTA) Workshop

    The Cline Center is very pleased to be hosting the first Collaborative Research on Extreme Scale Text Analytics (CRESTA) Workshop this Thursday (February 1st), starting at 9:00 AM. 

    Dozens of scientists, engineers, and data scientists from around the world will be joining us in our Research Park location to discuss large-scale Natural Language Processing methods for understanding contentious processes ranging from non-violent civil disobedience to full-scale civil war. 

    You can find the conference agenda here: 

    And our location is on Google Maps:


  • Same Mission, New Name: Introducing the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research

    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.

  • Professor Eliot A. Cohen will be delivering the 2017 Cline Symposium Keynote Address

    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:

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

  • Professor Althaus Discusses American News Coverage of the Vietnam War

    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. 

  • Announcing 2017-2018 Linowes Fellows

    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.


  • Cline Center Historical Phoenix Data

    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:

    If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at: