Mediating Islamic State| Introduction
How does the group that calls itself “Islamic State” communicate? How has Islamic State been understood and contested? This Special Section gathers emergent scholarly voices, many deploying humanistic inquiry, to probe a phenomenon that has predominantly been the province of social scientists, to explore and understand the players, patterns, and practices that have mediated Islamic State: the communicative ways in which the group has been studied, reported on, visualized, narrated, mocked, spoofed, and resisted. We use “mediation” rather than “media” to shift public discourse on Islamic State beyond the focus on technology that has characterized research on media and sociopolitical change generally, and Islamic State communication in particular. We seek to understand the historical, ideological, technological, and cultural complexity of Islamic State, meshing translocal struggles with global geopolitics. Mediation connotes a broad approach to media, which includes words, images, bodies, platforms, and the expressive capacities and meaning-making practices that communicators generate when they deploy these media.