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The University of California, Los Angeles earlier this month launched a new three-year initiative with 23 different research projects, exploring how and why different social groups hate each other, Inside Higher Education reported on Wednesday (Why Do We Hate Each Other?).

David N. Myers, director of the initiative and the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy, told IHE that although the study of hate is an ambitious undertaking, the purpose of the UCLA study is to “ask big questions and seek answers that make an impact in society.”


Myers, who is UCLA’s Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History, said that he and Chancellor Gene Block wanted to address concerns about antisemitism among the broader Jewish community, but quickly realized they were interested in a more comprehensive project, a multidisciplinary research effort “to understand more generally the phenomenon of group-based hate.”

“There’s been a series of very public and very lethal forms of hate crimes that I think have drawn wider public attention and the attention of scholars to try and get at what are the motivations, what are the warning signs, what are the interventions that can be considered?” Myers told IHE.

The initiative, supported by a $3 million gift from an anonymous donor, involves 31 faculty members, 21 graduate students, and a few postdoctoral scholars and other researchers from 20 different disciplines.

The International Network for Hate Studies (INHS) “aims to provide an accessible forum through which anyone can engage with the study of hate and hate crime in a manner which is both scholarly and accessible to all.”

Good to know.

Founded in 2013, INHS “seeks to not only understand the root causes of hate and hate crime but to understand ways in which it can be combated in society,” according to their website. “Hate has no borders, and, with the proliferation of online sources and resources, its study needs a multi-disciplinary and international focus as well as one which examines local and jurisdiction-specific causes and responses,” their website concludes.

The INHS website is a treasure trove of data, as well as scholarly reports on Hate everywhere on the planet. I searched for Jewish themes because, you know, we’re The Jewish Press, and found a huge index of articles, some of which I plan to delve into this evening.

The INHS website also includes a section titled “Prevention,” which offers a huge list of groups dedicated to documenting and fighting hate––including the ADL, and the UK’s Community Security Trust (CST).

Kenneth Stern, director of the Center for the Study of Hate at Bard College in New York, told IHE that the Catholic Gonzaga University in Washington State pioneered hate studies in 1998. The Journal of Hate Studies published by Gonzaga is also a treasure trove of hate research.

“Hatred is something that we see around us in our daily lives, whether it’s interpersonal relations or politics,” Stern said, and noted that scholars nowadays are increasingly aware that teaching history, politics, social psychology, and other disciplines requires discussing “the human capacity to define and demonize an ‘other.’”

Which is why he believes that it takes a multidisciplinary approach to study hate effectively.

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