ONE WORLD LECTURE: "Feeling the Difference: Islamophobia and the Emotions of Intolerance in US History"
SUMMARY STATEMENT: Contemporary Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment relies as much on negative emotions as they do on adverse ideas about Muslims and immigrants. As has been the case at specific moments in American history in regard to Catholics, Jews, and Native Americans, these feelings are carefully cultivated by politicians, organizations, and/or news sources. While much attention has been given to prejudiced views and misinformed opinions about these groups, we need also to attend to the deeply held and enduringly destructive emotions that can poison relations between minorities and mainstream society, and lead to isolation and violence.
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Peter Gottschalk is Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University. His research concentrates on the dynamics of cultural interpretation and conflict at the intersections of Muslim, Hindu, Christian, secular, and scientific traditions. He is interested particularly in understanding how assumptions of mutual antagonism form between groups despite evidence of religious confluence. He has explored these themes in the United States most recently in American Heretics: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and the History of Religious Intolerance and the co-authored Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Sentiment: Picturing Muslims as the Enemy. Regarding India, he has recently written Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hindus and Muslims in British India. His work has been published in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, and The Chicago Tribune and had been mentioned in The New York Times,USA Today, and The Times Literary Supplement while he has appeared on CNN, CBS, NPR, Voice of America, and C-SPAN’s BookTV.
SUPPORT: This series is made possible with a grant from the Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Foundation, administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
PARKING: There is ample library parking in the nearby Isham Garage. Please bypass the garage payment kiosks and come directly to the lecture in the Noah Webster Library Meeting Room, 20 South Main Street, where you may validate your parking with your license plate number.