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Gonzaga U. Institute for Hate Studies Names Tsai Guest Editor of Journal

Posted on July 29, 2011 in: Academics, Arts, Events, Faculty & Staff
Robert Tsai guest editor of Journal of Hate Studies

Robert Tsai guest editor of Journal of Hate Studies.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Robert Tsai, law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, will be guest editor for Volume 10 of the Journal of Hate Studies themed, “Hate and Political Discourse,” said John Shuford, director of the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies, who also issued a call for papers for Volume 10, No. 1 of the Journal.

The Journal welcomes original papers treating the theme of “Hate and Political Discourse” from a wide range of disciplines, including history, law, philosophy, political science, sociology, criminal justice, social psychology, economics, anthropology, geography, journalism, communications, rhetoric, literature, educational studies, and cultural studies. The Journal is an international scholarly publication that promotes the sharing of ideas and research relating to the study of hate, its origins, and how to combat it.

“Robert and I especially encourage those with scholarly or other research interests in the thematic area of ‘Hate and Political Discourse’ to submit a paper for possible publication,” Shuford said. “We anticipate that authors whose papers are published in Volume 10 will be invited to present their work at a symposium held in the fall of 2012.” The symposium would be held either at American University in Washington, D.C. or at Gonzaga.

Tsai and Shuford encourage original treatments of the following topics: hate and popular sovereignty; how hate can foster alternative communities and movements; cultural foundations of hate; historical changes in rhetorical strategies; political parties and hate; necessary political conditions for hate; empirical approaches to the problem of hate; the role of hate in nation-building; how literature, rhetoric, journalism or other forms of communication can fuel or discourage hate; geographical differences in how hatred is sustained or combated; comparative approaches and cross-cultural challenges; and new technologies to combat or foment hatred in the realm of political discourse.

Tsai, a prize-winning essayist on constitutional law and history, studied political science and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. There he wrote a sociopolitical study of early Christianity that received UCLA’s award for best honors thesis. After conducting his legal studies at Yale Law School, Tsai clerked for federal judges in New York and Boston, and practiced public-interest law before entering the legal professoriate at University of Oregon. He has taught at Washington College of Law since 2008.

“Robert brings to the study of hate his expertise on popular movements, the development of grievances and rights, and the formation of alternative communities,” Shuford said. “He is also widely regarded as a bright star in the areas of First Amendment theory, as well as teaching and writing on law and culture.” Tsai authored “Eloquence and Reason: Creating a First Amendment Culture” (Yale University Press, 2008) and many articles on constitutionalism, democratic theory and culture, and civil rights. His latest book, “Defiant Dreams: America’s Forgotten Constitutions,” is to be published by Harvard University Press in 2012.

“The purpose of focusing on the theme ‘Hate and Political Discourse’ is to shine the light of contemporary scholarship on what’s happening in public life,” Shuford said. “Hate has a mercurial existence in the popular imagination, and it is often shielded by constitutional rules and nurtured by political discourse. The 20th century historian Richard Hofstader famously called American political life ‘the arena of angry minds.’ In our times we have seen political actors, on the left and on the right, do everything from choosing to condemn hatred and distancing themselves from it to appealing to its existence and even fomenting it.”

Even when subjugation, discrimination or violence is not the goal, Tsai points out that the politics of hate can pay off. “Rather than seeking its total eradication, many democracies assume the permanence of hate and seek to minimize its excesses or to punish and prohibit specific expressions,” Tsai notes, so two purposes of the theme are “to examine whether such assumptions are well founded, and whether such strategies are wise.”

Among other questions, this theme will allow scholars to explore whether structural conditions allow hate to thrive or permit its isolation, Shuford said. The theme also will allow scholars to examine how inroads might be made in law or the politics of inclusion, especially in countries with strong commitments to rhetorical freedom and popular sovereignty.

The submissions deadline is March 15, 2012. Information about submission guidelines, the Journal of Hate Studies, and the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies can be found online. For more information, please contact Shuford at (509) 313-3665 or via e-mail; or Tsai at (202) 274-4370 or via e-mail.


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