Meagan Burt

Major: 
Political Science
Mentor: 
Dr. John Ishiyama
Current Research Topic: 
Online Expression of Yazidi Identity During IS Conflict in the Sinjar Region
Abstract: 
Ethnic identity changes, especially during conflict. However, how that identity changes is subject to significant debate. Ethnic identity may ‘harden’, becoming stronger within a group, or ‘soften’, becoming secondary to a more nationally-based identity. This research seeks to examine the evolving ethnic identity of the Yazidi group in Northern Iraq by means of their social media activity during Islamic State fighting and control in the Sinjar region. The study draws from Twitter posts dated August 2014 to December 2015 in coordination with the existing regional data on individual conflict events such as kidnappings, bombings, mass migrations, and genocides during that time. Twitter posts will be evaluated for a ‘softening’ or ‘hardening’ of identity in response to the specific events within the conflict. This will establish the patterns in ethnic identity changes following those events throughout the IS occupation, and contribute to our understanding of conflict’s impact on ethnic groups.