Lunch talk: On Hatred: Concept, Crime, Culture

Thomas Brudholm, Associate Professor, Minority Studies at the Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies will give a lunch talk at NIAS on "Hatred: Concept, Crime, Culture". All are welcome.

Feel free to bring your own lunch. 


In a world where conflict and violence seem ineradicable, we often speak of hatred or related concepts such as antipathy, enmity, homophobia, and anti-Semitism. In Europe, the American discourse of 'hate crime' and 'hate speech' is currently gaining ground among policy makers as well as minority groups and national/transnational security and human rights institutions. In studies of the causes and dynamics of genocide and ethnic violence, references to hatred abound (cf. prominent book titles like Modern Hatreds, Fires of Hatred, Murder without Hatred or Harvest of Hate). Likewise, in the context of post-conflict reconciliation, there is much talk of hatred as in the image of the 'cycles of hatred' and as a legacy and a danger to be overcome. In spite of the many references to hatred, and in spite of the intensity with which the causal significance of 'hatred' is either affirmed or dismissed, sustained and focused investigations of the phenomenon and the concept are few and far between. Indeed, the lack of explicit analysis and reflection is almost absent even from books flagging the word in their titles (such as those mentioned above).

Given the many references to hatred, the transnational upsurge of the hate crime and hate speech rhetoric, and the contradictory statements as to its significance in relation to political violence, it is timely to try bring together the threads and promote a unified investigation of the many faces of hatred. What is this fuzzy phenomenon called 'hatred' that is to be governed? How does hatred relate to emotions such as love, disgust, anger or attitudes like prejudice and dehumanization? Is hatred always and in any guise a vice or a wrong? What could be the place for a well-reflected concept of hatred in studies of the causes, dynamics and effects of ethnic violence and genocide? What is gained from the reference to 'hate' in discourses about hate crime and hate speech? And what is the relationship between lay notions of hatred and the nature of so-called hate crimes? These are among the questions to be examined in this cross-disciplinary research project of understandings of hatred and how it is regulated.