SPOKANE, Wash. – John Shuford, who has earned a doctorate in philosophy and a law degree from the University of Oregon, is the new director of the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies, which is located on the Gonzaga University campus. He replaces Jim Mohr who chairs the Institute’s Board of Advisors.
Shuford’s duties include oversight of the Journal of Hate Studies, and the anticipated creation at Gonzaga of an undergraduate minor in hate studies, which would be the world’s first. Shuford also leads planning for the upcoming International Conference on Hate Studies, scheduled to be held in Spokane from April 6-9, 2011. Building upon the foundation of a successful initial conference in 2004, the 2011 conference will convene leading academics from multiple disciplines worldwide.
The Institute for Hate Studies is a unique resource to produce and promote research, education, and leadership in an emerging cross-disciplinary field. Hate studies examines humans’ capacity to define and dehumanize or demonize the “other”; it also examines processes that inform or can curtail, control or combat that capacity.
“Through the Institute for Hate Studies, Gonzaga is a world leader and innovator in attempting to understand and address basic human questions,” Shuford said. “Why exactly do people hate? How and why do we turn other humans, as well as non-human life, into objects for hatred? Is there anything consistent or even predictable across social problems like racism, nativism, anti-Semitism, and religious intolerance? What can be done to prevent hatred before it takes root in action, or effectively address it when it has? Is it possible to create free, democratic communities where hatred does not manifest? These are practical ethical questions, and they attract me to the Institute and its work.”
The Institute for Hate Studies shares and supports development of new theories, models, and discoveries about hatred, including the possibility of transforming it. Founded in 1997 as the Institute for Action Against Hate, the Institute recently changed its name to better reflect its new mission and commitments.
The Institute recently hosted its annual Take Action Against Hate Banquet and coordinated Gonzaga’s Day for Justice activities. Shuford spoke at both events. The Institute has also begun a new research project on the theme “How Does a Community Respond When Hate Comes to Town?” The project tracks the Gonzaga campus community response to the recent Spokane appearance by Westboro Baptist Church members.
Shuford’s background includes work in the philosophy of nonviolence and conflict resolution, as well as active research in legal and political philosophy and critical legal scholarship. His current work focuses on immigration policy and reform. While he has published on topics such as affirmative action, reparations movements, and race relations, his work strives to find and foster common interests and future concerns, based in democratic and ethical principles.
Shuford continues to serve as an instructor in Gonzaga’s philosophy department, where he teaches philosophy of law, international ethics, political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of human nature. Before coming to Gonzaga, he co-founded an interdisciplinary research and education center and a graduate program in conflict resolution. Shuford also sits on the board of directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center in Spokane.
For more information, please contact John Shuford at (509) 313-3665 or via e-mail.