Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Fall 12-10-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Carol Winkler

Second Advisor

Shawn Powers

Third Advisor

Cynthia Hoffner

Fourth Advisor

Hyunjin Seo


Non-state actors can now easily spread their visual messages and directly communicate with their publics online. ISIS is a prime example for a militant group that has built a relatively robust structure for its visual campaign both at the central and provincial levels. In response, numerous states have been complementing their military operations against militant groups with a visual media component. In Sinai, ISIS’s local province (Wilayat Sinai) and the Egyptian military have used photography to project their contesting messages over the past few years. In this dissertation project, I conduct content and visual framing analyses on a sample of 1905 images to examine the interactions between military conditions and photographic output, opposing visual frames, and visual semiotic constellations. An interactive model of visual contestation emerges from this case study to map the key contextual factors, image components, and visual message prongs necessary to understand visual contestation in the online environment.


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