CARP 2021 Conference

Call for Conference Papers for “Cancel Culture and Character Assassination”

Location: Virtual

Dates: September 24-26, 2021
Submission deadline: May 3, 2021

Submit a 250-word abstract of your paper by the deadline listed above to Sergei A. Samoilenko at

Character assassination (CA) is the deliberate destruction of an individual’s reputation. This timeless phenomenon appears in many shapes and forms in every cultural, political, and technological era. Various CA practices such as lies, insinuations and ridicule have been effective means of persuasion and influence in power struggles for centuries. As a field of scholarship, the study of character assassination has been experiencing a remarkable academic renaissance. 

While character assassination has taken a variety of forms throughout history, a particularly current and controversial practice of social ostracism has bred “cancel culture.” Cancel culture refers to when a person, typically a public figure, is expelled from their social or professional circles as a result of offensive behavior, real or alleged. The expression is mostly used by those who feel they are being unfairly punished for minor transgressions. As a form of public shaming, those who are “canceled” may be scapegoated or stigmatized and exposed to the judgment and bullying of the public. Canceled individuals may, in perception or reality, find themselves silenced and unable to speak on their own behalf. While cancel culture is often linked to the rise of social media, practices of silencing and social exclusion have many historical antecedents, ranging from public scapegoating rituals to rebellious mobs tearing down the statues of disgraced individuals.

To better understand this phenomenon and its historical antecedents, we invite scholars to submit research and works in progress which will discuss character assassination and cancel culture from a variety of disciplinary and cultural angles. We welcome both theoretical work and case studies.

Possible Topics:

  • Historical precedents for cancel culture
  • Current cases of cancel culture in politics and beyond
  • CA tactics that lead to cancelation
  • The weaponization of cancel culture
  • Political incivility and polarization issues
  • Framing wars in policy debate
  • CA and mediated public scandals
  • CA and information warfare in international relations
  • Memes, caricatures, and visual distortion online
  • CA, image repair, and inoculation strategies
  • CA as strategic deception and deliberate misinformation
  • Legal aspects of libel, slander, and defamation
  • Cyberbullying and its impacts