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  • Faculty

  • Julia Sonnevend

    Associate Professor of Sociology and Communications; Director of Undergraduate Studies and Dept. Faculty Advisor for Sociology


    Office Location
    D - Albert & Vera List Academic Center - 6 East 16th Street

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    Julia Sonnevend


    Julia Sonnevend is Associate Professor of Sociology and Communications at The New School for Social Research. She has held fellowships at the Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam, and the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology in New Haven. Her scholarship lies at the intersection of media studies, cultural sociology, memory studies and international relations, and explores how people are far less rational in their political, social and mediated lives than they ordinarily image. 

    Her first book, Stories Without Borders: The Berlin Wall and the Making of a Global Iconic Event (Oxford University Press, 2016), asks: how do particular news events become lasting global myths, while others fade into oblivion? Focusing on journalists covering the fall of the Berlin Wall and on subsequent retellings of the event (from Legoland reenactments to the installation of segments of the Berlin Wall in shopping malls), Sonnevend discusses how storytellers build up certain events so that people remember them for long periods of time. She also shows that the powerful myth of the fall of the Berlin Wall still shapes debates about separation walls and fences, borders and refugees around the world.

    While her first book focused on magical events in the international imagination, her next book, Charm: How Magnetic Personalities Capture Our Hearts, Minds and Politics (under review),  aims to consider a magical quality in human relations. It will analyze the importance of personal magnetism in everyday social life, business, and diplomatic affairs. Using textual analysis of media coverage, interviews at law firms about their hiring practices, and virtual reality experiments that seek to model the influence of charm, she traces how charm operates in contemporary societies, shaping even people’s most “rational” decisions.  

    Please view her Research Matters profile for more information about Professor Sonnevend's work.

    Degrees Held

    PhD in Communications, Columbia University, 2013

    LLM, Yale Law School, 2007

    Recent Publications

    Solo-authored book:

    Sonnevend, J.(2016). Stories Without Borders: The Berlin Wall and the Making of a Global Iconic Event New York: Oxford University Press.

    Reviews:The Times Higher Education;Journal of Communication; Journalism:Theory, Practice and Criticism; Journalism & Mass Communication    QuarterlyMedia, Culture & Society 

    Book award:Runner-up Best Book Award in the Global Communication and Social Change Division of the International Communication Association 

    Translation: Hungarian (Corvina Publisher, June 2018) 


    Edited volume:

    Greenhow, C.,Sonnevend J., & Agur, C. (Eds.). (2016). Education and Social Media: Toward a Digital Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


    Journal articles:

    Sonnevend, J. (2019) Charm offensive: mediatized country image transformations in international relations. Information, Communication & Society 22(5), 695-701.

    Sonnevend, J. (2018). The lasting charm of Media EventsMedia, Culture & Society 40(1), 122-126.

    Sonnevend, J. (2018).  Interruptions of time: The coverage of the missing Malaysian plane MH370 and the concept of “events” in media researchJournalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 19(1), 75-92.

    Sonnevend, J. (May 25, 2017). Our New Walls: The Rise of Separation Barriers in the Age of GlobalizationE-International Relations (also published on Public Seminar).

    Sonnevend, J. (2015). “Symbol of Hope for a World Without Walls”: The Fall of the Berlin Wall as a Global Iconic EventDivinatio, 39-40, 223-233 (also translated into Bulgarian)

    Sonnevend, J. (2013). Counterrevolutionary icons: The representation of the 1956 ‘counterrevolution’ in the Hungarian communist pressJournalism Studies, 14(3), 336-354.


    Special issues in peer-reviewed journals:

    Sonnevend, J. (2018). “Media Events Today”, Media, Culture & Society, 40(1), 110-113

    Bodker, H., & Sonnevend, J. (2018). “The ShiftingTemporalities of Journalism”, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 19(1), 3-6


    Peer-reviewed bibliography:

    Sonnevend, J. (2017). Media Events. In Moy, P. (Ed.) Oxford Bibliographies in Communication. New York: Oxford University Press.


    Book chapters:

    Sonnevend, J. (2018). Facts (Almost) Never Win Over Myths. In Boczkowski, P. & Papacharissi, Z. (Eds.) Trump and the Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Sonnevend, J. (2016). Event. In Peters, B. (Ed.), Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture (pp. 109-118). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Balkin, J. M., & Sonnevend, J. (2016). The digital transformation of education. In Greenhow, C., Sonnevend J., & Agur, C. (Eds.), Education and social media: Toward a digital future (pp. 9-25). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Sonnevend, J. (2016). More hope! Ceremonial media events are still important in the 21st century. In Fox, A. (Ed.), Global Perspectives on Media Events in Contemporary Society (pp. 132-141). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

    Current Courses

    Contemporary Social Theory (Spring 2021)

    ContemporarySociologicalTheory (Spring 2020)

    Cultural Sociology (Spring 2021)

    Current Trends in Med Research

    Current Trends in Med Research

    Ind Senior Project (Spring 2021)

    Independent Study (Spring 2021)

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