Faculty Feature: Assistant Professor Sergei Samoilenko

by Jennifer Shaskan

Faculty Feature:  Assistant Professor Sergei Samoilenko

#MasonCOMM’s first Faculty Feature looks at Assistant Professor Sergei Samoilenko. Samoilenko currently teaches two courses for the department, in addition to engaging in multiple research endeavors. His most recent publications are the embodiment of years of passion, research, and collaboration of which he is incredibly proud.  

Samoilenko’s newest publication, which he co-edited, Media and Public Relations Research in Post-Socialist Societies is now available for pre-order. This book tracks the birth, development, and contemporary expansion of communication research with a focus on public relations and media research in post-socialist societies. Samoilenko explains the importance of this book because it seeks to “look at what happens in countries like Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Hungary and how American theory and western concepts have impact on the development of communication discipline in those countries.” It is a continuing project with the second volume scheduled to be released next year.

In addition to this publication, Samoilenko has also cowritten a textbook Character Assassination and Reputation Management Theory and Applications. This text offers scholars the first comprehensive examination of character assassination in modern politics and in historical times in an effort to have people better understand, critically analyze, and effectively defend against these types of attacks. This textbook is one of the lasting efforts of the ongoing CARP lab project encompassing the efforts of researchers from psychology, history, communication and public relations here at George Mason and at the University of Amsterdam. Samoilenko said:

“It’s something that is really important now because we see a lot of these developments happening but so far scholars didn’t really have much time to explore a lot of things, especially those related to kind of media ties to reputation.”

Samoilenko currently teaches two courses for the communication department coinciding with these topics of research. First, COMM 327, political communication, is a required course for the political communication concentration and minor, and is open to everyone at Mason with an interest in this topic. Samoilenko explained that “In this course we mostly talk about how today’s media in fact shapes the course of today’s politics and how what we call mediatization has an impact on American society. Basically, mediatization is how the media logic shapes the logic of other institutions including politics.”

He is also currently teaching a Special Topics Course which covers Character Assassination and Reputation Management in Public Relations. “We talk a lot about things happening in society right now, what is public character and how reputation of politicians is perceived these days. We also talk about negative campaigns happening and cancel culture, which students really enjoy talking about.” said Samoilenko.

Samoilenko encourages current students to be curious and proactive. “Be proactive in meeting new people and going places and participating. Be where employers are and read professional literature. Time flies, so engage now.”