School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK - WITTEBORN, Saskia


witteborn saskia

Associate Professor

University of Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany

University of Washington, Seattle, USA (2005)

Honors and Awards

Exemplary Teaching Award
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009)

Outstanding Dissertation Award
National Communication Association
International and Intercultural Communication Division (2006)


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icon research Research Interests:

  • Datafied Societies and Mobilities
  • Biometrics, AI and Migration
  • Data Privacy
  • Technology Practices and the Everyday

icon research Competitive Research Grants:

Direct Grant, 2020-2022, CUHK: Migration and Start-up Cultures in Hong Kong (Project ID: 4052235)

GRF (General Research Fund Hong Kong, 2016/2018) Transit Communication and Forced Migration: A View from Hong Kong (PI) (RGC Ref. No.: CUHK 14610915)

Robert Ho Foundation: African Cultures in HK (Research Advisor, PI: Sealing Cheng, Department of Anthropology, Summer 2016-Fall 2017)

Direct Grant (2014/2015), CUHK: Forced migrants and ICT in Hong Kong (HKD 46,500)

GRF (General Research Fund Hong Kong, 2010/2012) Space and Place-Making: The Role of Media and Information and Communication Technologies in Forced Migrants' Lives

GRF (General Research Fund Hong Kong, 2008/2010) Mobilizing diasporic identities: The case of Uyghurs in the United States and in Germany (Project ID: CUHK 2120316)

Direct Grant 2008/2010, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Mobilizing refugee identities: The case of Uyghurs in Germany (Project ID: 2020931)

Direct Grant 2006/2007, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Muslim communities in China: The discourse on terrorism and the construction of Muslim collective identity (Project ID: 2020851)

Thematic Grant 2006, Collaboration with Political Science faculty, CUHK, Ways of communicating key messages: An analysis of face-to-face communication and media strategies used by transnational NGO's operating in Xinjiang/China (Project ID: 2020883)

Lee Hysan Foundation Research Grant 2005/2006, United College, CUHK Muslim communities in Hong Kong: The communicative construction of local and global Muslim identity

icon research Current Research:

I specialize in transnational migration and technologies and have worked with migrants in the United States, Europe, and East Asia. My current research stands at the intersection between critical technology studies and mobilities, with a focus on understanding the practices and lived experiences of those moving through transnational and transcultural spaces. I have contributed to the political economy of mobility, biometrics and migration studies, data privacy, and AI and ethics in theoretical and applied ways. My research has appeared in leading journals and in edited collections, and I am the co-editor of the SAGE Handbook of Media and Migration (2019).

icon research Teaching Interests:

  • Communication Theory
  • Culture and Technology
  • Globalization and Communication
  • Qualitative Methodologies

icon about Advice to students:

Have a good laugh several times a day.

icon researchPublication List:

Refereed Journal Publications

Witteborn, S. (2021). Digital placemaking and the datafication of forced migrants. Convergence: The International Journal into Research on New Media Technologies. DOI: 10.1177/13548565211003876 pdf

Monachesi, P., & Witteborn, S. (2021). Building the sustainable city through Twitter: Creative skilled migrants and innovative technology use. Telematics and Informatics, 58, 1-29. pdf

Witteborn, S. (2020). Privacy in collapsed contexts of displacement. Feminist Media Studies. doi:

Gruenewald, T. & Witteborn, S. (2020). Feeling good. Humanitarian virtual reality film, emotional style and global citizenship.Cultural Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2020.1761415

Witteborn, S. (2020). Data privacy and displacement: a cultural approach. Journal of Refugee Studies.1-17. doi:10.1093/jrs/feaa004 pdf

Witteborn, S. (2019). The digital gift and aspirational mobility. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1-16. pdf

Daly, Angela and Hagendorff, Thilo and Li, Hui and Mann, Monique and Marda, Vidushi and Wagner, Ben and Wang, Wei and Witteborn, Saskia, Artificial Intelligence, Governance and Ethics: Global Perspectives (July 4, 2019). The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019-15; University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019/033. Available at SSRN: or 

Witteborn, S. (2018). The digital force in forced migration: Imagined affordances and gendered practices. Popular Communication: The international journal of media and culture,16(1), 21-31.

Witteborn, S. (2015). Becoming (Im)perceptible: Forced migrants and virtual practice. Journal of Refugee Studies. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/jrs/feu036 signin

Witteborn, S. (2014). Intercultural competence. In Tracy, K. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. signin

Witteborn, S. (2014). Forced Migrants, emotive practice and digital heterotopia. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture. Special Issue Digital Crossings in Europe, 5(1), 73-85. signin

Witteborn, S., Milburn T., & Ho, Evelyn (2013). The ethnography of communication as applied methodology: Insights from three case studies. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41, 2, 188-194. signin

Witteborn, S. (2012). Social construction research as cultural and critical inquiry. Special Issue. The Electronic Journal of Communication 22(3&4). Available at

Li L., & Witteborn, S. (2012). Confucianism in the Chinese media: An analysis of the revolutionary history TV drama. In Those Passionate Days. Chinese Journal of Communication, 5(2), 160-177. signin

Witteborn, S. (2012). Testimonio and spaces of risk: A forced migrant perspective. Cultural Studies, 26(4), 421-441. (lead article) signin

Witteborn, S. (December, 2011). Living in the risk society: Reports from asylum seekers and refugees. RTHK Media Digest. Retrieved from  signin

Witteborn, S. (2011). Constructing the forced migrant and the politics of space and place-making. Journal of Communication, 61(6), 1142-1160. signin

Brock, D.M., Mauksch, L., Witteborn, S., Hummel, J., Nagasawa, P., and Robins, L.S. (2011). Effectiveness of intensive physician training in upfront agenda setting. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26, 1317-23. signin

Witteborn, S., (2011). Discursive grouping in a virtual forum: Dialogue, difference, and the "Intercultural". Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. Special Issue, 4(2), 109-126. signin

Robins, L., Witteborn, S., Miner, L., Mauksch, L., Edwards, K., & Brock, D. (2011). Identifying transparency in physician communication. Patient Education and Counseling, 83, 73-79. signin

Witteborn, S. (2010). The role of transnational NGOs in promoting global citizenship and globalizing communication practices. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(4), 358-372. signin

Witteborn, S. & Sprain, L. (2009). Grouping processes in a public meeting from an ethnography of communication and cultural discourse analysis perspective. The International Journal of Public Participation, 3(2), 14-35. Retrieved from (lead article) signin

Witteborn, S. (2008). Identity mobilization practices of refugees: The case of Iraqis in the United States and the War in Iraq. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 1, 202-220. signin

Qiu, J. L., & Witteborn, S. (2008). Interview with D. Ray Heisey. Chinese Journal of Communication, 1, 131-137. signin

Witteborn, S. (June 2008). Caught in-between: Iraqi refugees in the U.S. tell their stories. Communication Currents, 3(3). Retrieved from

Witteborn, S. (2007). The situated expression of Arab collective identities in the United States. Journal of Communication, 57(3), 556-575. signin

Witteborn, S. (2007). The expression of palestinian identity in narratives about personal experiences: Implications for the study of narrative, identity, and social interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 40(2&3), 145-170. (lead article) signin

Robins, L., Witteborn, S., Miner, L., McElligott, S., Brock, D., & Mauksch, L. (2004). Transparency in physician-patient interaction. Medical Encounter. A Publication of the American Academy on Physician and Patient, 18, 4, p.21

Witteborn, S. (2004). Of being an Arab woman before and after September 11: The enactment of communal identities in talk. The Howard Journal of Communications, 15(2), 83-98. pdf

Witteborn, S. (2003). Communicative competence revisited: An emic approach to studying intercultural communicative competence. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 32, 187-203.


Book Chapters

Witteborn, S. (2021). Migration and technologies in contexts of uncertainty. Media and uncertainty (pp. 39-44). Lisbon: Winter School for the Study of Communication. pdf

Xie Z., & Witteborn, S. (2019). The migration-mobility nexus: The politics of the interface, gender, and labor. In Smets, K, Leurs, K., Georgiou, M., Witteborn, S., & Gajjala, R. (eds.). (2019). The Sage handbook of media and migration.

Witteborn, S. (2019). Digital diaspora: Social alliances beyond the ethno-national bond. In Tsagarousianou R., & Retis-Rivas J. (Eds.) The handbook of Diasporas, Media and Culture (pp. 179-192). Wiley-Blackwell.

Rudnick, L., & Witteborn, S., & Edmonds, R. (2018). Engaging change: Exploring the adaptive and generativepotential of Cultural Discourse Analysis findings for policies and social programs. In M. Scollo, & T. Milburn (Eds.) Engaging and transforming global communication through Cultural Discourse Analysis: A Tribute to Donal Carbaugh (pp. 253-272). Rowman & Littlefield.

Witteborn, S. & Huang, Q. (2017). Diaosi (underdog talk) as a way of relating in contemporary China. In D. Carbaugh (Ed.), The handbook of communication in cross-cultural perspective (pp. 142-154). New York: Routledge.

Witteborn, S. (2015). Intercultural competence. In Tracy, K. (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of language and social interaction (p. 856). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Witteborn, S. (2012). Forced migrants, new media practices, and the creation of locality. In. I. Volkmer (Ed.), The Handbook of global media research (pp.312-330). Malden, MA: Blackwell. signin

Witteborn, S. (2011). Gendering cyberspace: Transnational mappings and Uyghur diasporic politics. In R. S. Hegde (Ed.), Circuits of visibility: Gender and transnational media cultures (pp. 268-283). New York: NYU Press. signin

Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Constructing identities. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 64-76). New York: McGraw-Hill College Publishers. signin

Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Empathic and dialogic listening. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 219-237). New York: McGraw-Hill College Publishers. signin

Stewart, J., Zediker, K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Deception, betrayal, and aggression. In J. Stewart (Ed.), Bridges not walls: A book about interpersonal communication (9th ed., pp. 405-416). New York: McGraw-Hill College Publishers. signin



Smets, K., Leurs, K., Georgiou, M., Witteborn, S., & Gajjala, R. (Eds.) (2019). The SAGE handbook of media and migration. London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Stewart, J., Zediker. K., & Witteborn, S. (2016). Together: Communicating interpersonally. A social construction approach (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press (Korean Language Translation).

Stewart, J., Zediker. K., & Witteborn, S. (2005). Together: Communicating interpersonally. A social construction approach (6th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pdf