School of Journalism and Communication, CUHK - 賽詩雅


witteborn saskia


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:

  • Digital Migration
  • Forced Migration and Digital Technologies
  • Affect and Digital Practice
  • Culture and Communication
  • Ethnography of Communication

icon research Competitive Research Grants:

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 focus on transnational migration and digital technologies and practices. While my previous research has looked at face-to-face communication and cultural, religious, and political grouping processes of migrants, my current research attempts to understand the role of digital connectivities in the lives of asylum seekers and refugees. Conceptually, I have written on the digital and place-making, digital heterotopia, ways of becoming in relation to forced migration, and affect and digital practice. Like my previous research, my current project on forced migration is supported by a GRF grant from Hong Kong. I am founding member of a new center on migration and mobilities at CUHK and hope to create with my colleagues productive collaborative projects on migration (in Asia) in the future.

icon researchTeaching Interests:

  • Culture and Communication
  • Globalization and Communication
  • Transnational Migration and Communication
  • (Critical) Communication Theory
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Language and Social Interaction
  • Communication as Social Construction

icon aboutAdvice to students:

Question objectivity, inquire how knowledge is created. Then you will understand the nature of the struggle about communicative resources and who has the power to speak and write and why.


icon researchPublication List:

Refereed Journal Publications

Witteborn, S. (2020). Data privacy and displacement: a cultural approach. Journal of Refugee Studiespdf

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

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 Chapers

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. & Zhang X. (2016). Diaosi as a way of relating in contemporary China. In D. Carbaugh (Ed.), Handbook of Cross-cultural Communication. Blackwell. signin

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