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Scott Ruston

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Ctr Narr, Disinfo & Strat Infl
Ctr Director + Resrch Profr
Faculty w/Admin Appointment, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 5604

Scott Ruston is a Research Professor with Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative, a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for researching complex challenges in the global security arena. He directs the Center on Narrative, Disinformation & Strategic Influence, leading research teams that combine humanities, social science and computer science in order to better understand manipulations of the information environment and develop technologies to identify malign influence activities. Also a member of ASU’s Center for Strategic Communication, Professor Ruston’s research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of the information domain. He has applied his expertise in narrative theory and media studies to a variety of counter violent extremism and counter violent extremist ideology research contexts, including: analysis of extremist narratives; strategies for counter or alternative narratives; and the neurobiology of narrative comprehension.

He is co-author of Narrative Landmines: Rumors, Islamist Extremism and the Struggle for Strategic Influence (Rutgers University Press, 2012), as well as articles on strategic communication, extremist videos and the narrative potential of new media technologies.  He has presented widely on topics intersecting disinformation and propaganda, media, narrative/counter-narrative and terrorism to military, academic and non-governmental organization audiences.  Current research projects focus on analysis of propaganda and information operations in so-called Gray Zone operations, as well as narrative-based interventions influencing attitude, belief and behavior in organizational culture. 

  • Ph.D., Critical Studies, University of Southern California
  • M.A., Critical Studies, University of Southern California
  • B.A., English, Northwestern University
  • Corman, Steven R., Scott W. Ruston, Hanghang Tong (forthcoming 2019).  “Toward Generative Narrative Models of the Course and Resolution of Conflict”. In Social-Behavioral Modeling for Complex Systems, Angela O’Mahoney and Paul Davis, eds. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.)
  • Sultan Alzahrani, Nyunsu Kim, Scott W. Ruston, Jason Schlachter and Steve R. Corman (2018). "Framing Shifts of the Ukraine Conflict in pro-Russian News Media," In Proceddings of the International Conference SBP-BRiMS 2018, Halil Bisgin, Ayaz Hyder, Chris Dancy, and Robert Thomson (Eds.) July 10-13, 2018 Washington, DC, Springer.
  • Berisha, V., D. Gilton, L. C. Baxter, S. R. Corman, C. Blais, G. Brewer, S. Ruston, et al. "Structural neural predictors of Farsi-English bilingualism." Brain and language 180 (2018): 42.
  • Ruston, Scott W. (2016).  “More than Just a Story:  Narrative Insights into Comprehension, Ideology and Decision-Making”. In Modeling Sociocultural Influences on Decision Making: Understanding Conflict, Enabling Stability, Joseph V. Cohn, Sae Schatz, Hannah Freeman, and David J.Y. Combs, eds. (Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis Group).
  • Alzahrani, Sultan, Betul Ceran, Saud Alashri, Scott W. Ruston, Steven R. Corman, and Hasan Davulcu. "Story forms detection in text through concept-based co-clustering." In Big Data and Cloud Computing (BDCloud), Social Computing and Networking (SocialCom), Sustainable Computing and Communications (SustainCom)(BDCloud-SocialCom-SustainCom), 2016 IEEE International Conferences on, pp. 258-265. IEEE, 2016.
  • Ruston, Scott W. and Jeffry R. Halverson. (2014) “’Counter’ or ‘Alternative’: Contesting Video Narratives of Violent Islamist Extremism” Visual Imagery and Extremist Propaganda in the Online Environment, Carol Kay Winkler and Cori Dauber, eds. (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute Press). 
  • Ruston, Scott W.  (2013) “Location Based Narrative” in The Johns Hopkins Guidebook to the Digital Humanities, Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson and Benjamin Robertson, eds. (Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press).
  • Halverson, Jeffry R., Scott W. Ruston and Angela Trethewey (2013)  “Mediated Martyrs Of The Arab Spring: New Media, Civil Religion And Narrative in Tunisia And Egypt” Journal of Communication Vol 63, pp 312-332.
  • Bernardi, Daniel and Scott W. Ruston (2013). “Triangle of Death: Strategic Communication, Counterinsurgency Ops, and the Rumor Mill” in Rumour and Communication in Asia in the Internet Age, Greg Dalziel, ed. (London:  Routledge). 
  • Corman, Steven R., Scott W. Ruston, and Megan Fisk (2012). “A Pragmatic Framework for Studying Extremists’ Use of Cultural Narrative” in Advances in Human Factors and Ergonomics 2012- 14 Volume Set: Proceedings of the 4th AHFE Conference 21-25 July 2012, Gavriel Salvendi and Waldemar Karwowski, eds. (Boca Roton, FL: CRC Press).
  • Bernardi, Daniel, Pauline Hope Cheong, Chris Lundry and Scott W. Ruston.  (2012) Narrative Landmines:  Rumors, Islamist Extremism & the Struggle for Strategic Influence. (Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press).    
  • Ruston, Scott W. (2012).  “Calling Ahead: Cinematic Imaginations of Mobile Media’s Critical Affordances” in The Mobile Media Reader, Noah Arceneaux & Anandam Kavoori, eds. (New York: Peter Lang Publishing), 23-39.
  • Ruston, Scott W. (2010).  “Storyworlds on the Move:  Mobile Media and Their Implications for Narrative” Storyworlds:  A Journal of Narrative Theory, Vol. 2.
  • Stein, Jennifer, Scott Ruston, and Scott Fisher (2009). “Location-Based Mobile Storytelling” The International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction.  5(1), 41-50.
Research Activity: 
  • Ruston, Scott W.*, Corman, Steven R., Woodward, Mark. Fusing Narrative and Social Cyber Forensics to Understand Covert Influence”. Department of Defense, Minerva Initiative (2/2/2021-2/1/2024).
  • Ruston, Scott W.* Harmful Narrative Alignments in the United States”. Department of Homeland Security (5/1/2021-4/30/2023)
  • Gutzwiler, Robert*, Maynard, Andrew, Kwon, Hazel, Ruston, Scott W. Understanding Influence Networks and Designing Intervention Points. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Lincoln Lab (1/1/2021-12/31/2021)
  • Ruston, Scott W.*, Liu, Huan, Gillmor, Dan, Roschke, Kristy. Semantic Information Defender”. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prime: KitWare, Inc. (7/29/2020-7/28/2024).
  • Ruston, Scott W.* Assessing ‘warfare’ in the post-Industrial Age: Developing a Net Assessment Framework to Define, Measure and Compare the Role of “Information” in the Strategic Concepts, Force Structures and Operations of the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation and the United States. US Department of Defense, Office of Net Assessment.  Prime:  Texas A&M University (2/12/2020-8/31/2021).
  • Corman, Steven Robert*, Davulcu, Hasan, Ruston Scott W.  Detecting and Tracking Adversarial Framing in Mainstream and Social Media” Office of Naval Research (7/1/2018-6/30/2022)
  • Ruston, Scott W.*, Corman Steven R., Davulcu, Hasan.  Ideological Techniques and Operational Procedures: Analyzing the Tactics of Propagana and Disinformation. US State Department Global Engagement Center (9/5/2018-9/4/2019).
  • Ruston, Scott W.*. Form’s Influence on Message Content and Effect: Formalist Analysis of Extremist Videos. ASU Institute for Social Science Research Seed Grant Program, 2017.
  • Corman, Steven Robert*, Davulcu, Hasan, Ruston Scott W.  Detecting Indicators of Gray Zone Operations through Narrative Framing.  Lockheed Martin Research Collaboration. (5/1/2017-11/30/2017)
  • Corman, Steven Robert*, Adame, Bradley, Ruston Scott W., Tsai, Jiun-Yi.  Changing the culture of concussion reporting among college athletes: The role of vested interests, organizational culture, and cultural narrative. NCAA (3/1/2016-2/28/2019).
  • Ruston,Scott W*. Pilot Strategic Communication Research Project. GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE US(11/1/2013 - 12/31/2013).
  • Corman,Steven Robert*, Brewer Jr,Gene, Cohen,Adam, Roberto,Anthony, Ruston,Scott W, Trethewey,Angela. Toward Narrative Disruptors and Inductors: Mapping the Narrative Comprehension Network and its Persuasive Effects. DOI - NBC(6/27/2012 - 12/26/2013).