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New Gonzaga Course Examines Hate from a Business Perspective

Photo by Jennifer Raudebaugh

Photo by Jennifer Raudebaugh

By Tara Schmidt
Class of 2012

Already a national leader in the emerging study of hate, Gonzaga University this week begins a class exploring hate through yet another academic lens, “Hate Studies in Business.” Gonzaga formed an institute to fight hate 13 years ago and was among the first schools nationwide to offer a class on hate, titled “Why People Hate,” which also continues this spring.

“Why People Hate,” Gonzaga’s first hate-centric course, was first offered last spring. The intentionally interdisciplinary course was tailor-made by faculty from the fields of sociology, history, criminal justice, business and psychology who taught it. “Hate Studies in Business,” however, will be taught solely by business faculty.

Collaborating on “Why People Hate” were sociology and criminal justice faculty Vik Gumbhir and Marguerite Marin; Robert Donnelly, history; Molly Pepper, business; and Monica Bartlett, psychology. That course explores the institutionalization of hate by governments and organizations, support and opposition to its institutionalization, and psychological and sociological theories about hate.

Last fall, news of the class spread rapidly as media both small and large, including The New York Times, picked up an Associated Press story about Gonzaga’s work battling hate and the “Why People Hate” class.

“There are many schools teaching classes on diversity and topics like oppression and discrimination, but I have not heard of any classes at other universities that address hate specifically,” says Pepper.

As for the business class on hate, Gonzaga is in a unique position to help trace the multidisciplinary bounds of the field.

“It is not a developed field of study. We hope to do some scholarly work on the topic that others might be able to use,” says Pepper.

The Gonzaga Institute for Action Against Hate was founded in 1997 to combat hate and is leading the way in establishing hate as an academic discipline. Gonzaga convenes its second International Conference on Hate Studies April 7-9, 2011. Building upon a successful 2004 conference, leading academics from many disciplines worldwide are expected to attend.

Bud Barnes, dean of the School of Business, said the “Why People Hate” course made him think about the multiple applications of the topic in business. Enthusiastic support from Barnes and faculty members helped shape the course, said Jim Mohr, director of Gonzaga’s Institute for Action Against Hate, who was also instrumental.

“In our planning meetings, faculty came up with more ideas than we could possibly cover in one semester,” Pepper said. “We have good energy on campus for both classes.”

“Hate Studies in Business” will be taught by Ken Anderson, management; Nancy Chase, information systems; Marinilka Kimbro, accounting; Peggy Sue Loroz, marketing; Molly Pepper, management; Brian Steverson, business ethics; and Annie Voy, economics. The class begins with two days of “vignettes” on the faces of hate: Short lectures by faculty on topics such as a history of the labor movement, dehumanization of workers, the villainization of “dirty workers” (garbage collectors, custodians, etc.), and the divide between management and workers.

The cognitive vs. emotional elements of hate also will be explored, followed by classical and contemporary philosophical studies of virtues and their role in a moral life. The rest of the class will focus on hate through expertise of the faculty disciplines.

Both courses have drawn a wide variety of majors.

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