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People  •  Dean's Office, Communication Studies, Research  •  Associate Dean for Research, Professor

Brooke Foucault Welles

Brooke Foucault Welles is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and a core faculty member of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University.

Combining the methods of computational social science and network science with the theories of communication studies, Foucault Welles studies how online communication networks enable and constrain behavior, with particular emphasis on how these networks enable the pursuit of individual, team, and collective goals.

Much of her work is interdisciplinary and collaborative, with co-authors from computer science, political science, digital humanities, design, and public health. Her recent contributions include a series of studies of the transformative power of networked counterpublics, where she and her co-authors argue that online communication networks uniquely enable marginalized populations to influence the terms and tone of mainstream public debate. Methodological contributions include techniques for the longitudinal analysis of communication networks using event-based network analysis, and guidelines for the effective use of network visualizations in scientific and lay publications. She has also contributed a number of critical pieces about computational methods and is the co-editor of a book on computational communication research entitled The Handbook of Networked Communication.

Foucault Welles’ research is funded by grants from the US Army Research Office and US Army Research Lab,and has been featured in leading social science journals such as the Journal of Communication, New Media and Society, Information, Communication and Society, and The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She serves on the editorial board of the journals Web Science and Social Media + Society. She earned her Ph.D. from the School of Communication at Northwestern University in Media, Technology, and Society, and undergraduate and M.S. degrees in Communication from Cornell University.


Professional Affiliations

  • 2009 – present International Network for Social Network Analysis
  • 2007 – present National Communication Association
  • 2006 – present International Communication Association


Dean's Office, Communication Studies, Research


  • PhD, Communication Studies, Northwestern University
  • M.S, Communication, Information Science, Cornell University
  • B.S, Communication, Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University


  • 2017 Northeastern University Excellence in Teaching Award
  • 2017 CAMD Excellence in Teaching Award

Research Focus

  • online communication
  • social networks
  • network science
  • online activism
  • network visualizations

Courses Taught

  • COMM2105, Social Networks
  • COMM4605, Youth and Communication Technology