Past Sidore Lectures

Spring 2021 SeriesPrevious Series

Spring 2021 Series

Understanding and Responding to Social Disruptions

We are currently living through multiple interconnected crises. The Spring 2021 Sidore speakers is about understanding their origins and potential responses.

Cycles of Hatred and Rage: What Are Right-Wing Extremist Groups Telling Us?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 7 p.m.

Since the US Capitol riot of January 6, 2021, right-wing movements have received a great deal of attention from the American media and the FBI. The Proud Boys, a right-wing “militia” that espouses violence, is only one group of close to a thousand that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers to be of grave concern. European countries have for years experienced a growth in extreme right-wing movements in, for instance, France, Italy, and Germany. This lecture draws on the fieldwork of anthropologists in Europe and the US to provide insight into factors such as immigration, inequality, and labor insecurity that drive people to form such groups in protest against governments and their policies.

Katherine Donahue is an anthropologist who has done field research in France and the United States. Her book Slave of Allah: Zacarias Moussaoui vs. The USA (2007) is based on her experience attending the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person to have been tried, and convicted, in the United States for the attacks of 9/11. She is the co-editor, with Patricia R. Heck, of Cycles of Hatred and Rage: What Right-Wing Extremists in Europe and Their Parties Tell Us About the US (2019).

The Hate Vaccine: Attitudinal Inoculation as Counter-Persuasion for Far-Right Extremist Propaganda

Wednesday, April 7, 2021, 7 p.m.

Although the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol on January 6th brought the full scope of the threat posed by the far-right into view, right-wing extremists (including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, sovereign citizens, and others) have been working to build a movement in the United States for decades. As part of these efforts, far-right extremists have reached out to vulnerable individuals online, attempting to bring them to adopt ideologies that advocate hatred, polarization, and violence. As these groups have grown increasingly active online, the need to challenge their influence has become critical. One method for preventing persuasion — attitudinal inoculation — has gone largely unused in trying to stem the tide of far-right extremism. Dr. Kurt Braddock has begun to test inoculation as a means of fighting far-right propaganda, and initial results are very promising. In this talk, Dr. Braddock will discuss attitudinal inoculation, his work in using it to fight right-wing extremists’ propaganda, and how it might be used moving forward.

Dr. Kurt Braddock is an Assistant Professor of Public Communication in the School of Communication at American University. He is also holds faculty fellowships at American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab (PERIL), Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI), and Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories (IDEAS) Lab. Dr. Braddock has published dozens of articles and book chapters on the application of communication theory to prevent violent extremism. His latest book, Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization, has been adopted by multiple government agencies to inform their counter-radicalization efforts. He has consulted with and advised several national and international organizations, including the US Department of State, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Agency for International Development, Public Safety Canada, the UK Home Office, and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

A Conversation with Sacha Pfeiffer

Saturday, October 7, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Decades before a pioneer of investigative journalism, W.T. Stead, perished on the Titanic, his shocking exposé of child prostitution in London led to the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. How has this legacy of investigation and accountability held up in the 21st century? What challenges does today’s investigative journalist face? Drawing on her extensive experiences in the field, the award-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team reporter Sacha Pfeiffer will address these and other issues related to the role of investigative journalists in our current media landscape.

Journalist Sacha Pfeiffer was a member of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team that won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its stories on the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse. That reporting is the subject of the 2015 movie Spotlight, in which Pfeiffer is played by actress Rachel McAdams. In more than a decade at the Globe, Pfeiffer has produced numerous investigative series, has been the host of All Things Considered and Radio Boston at WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, where she won a national 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast reporting, and a guest host of NPR’s On Point and Here & Now.

Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights: Why They are Important to Both the Guilty and the Innocent 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Without the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution, our worlds would be very different. There would be no assurances against police invading our homes and going through our belongings on a whim. We would have little or no protection against trickery and coercion during police questioning. But, while the rights guaranteed by these amendments help to secure our freedom from the State, do they also make us more susceptible to crime in our society? These two amendments represent a critical flashpoint in balancing the needs for both the freedom and security of US citizens.

What are our rights in situations such as traffic stops or police interrogations? When do we invoke them? When do we waive them? These are among the issues that will be explored within the context of recent Supreme Court decisions, and Professor Maclin will discuss their implications for both the guilty and the innocent.

Tracey Maclin is the Joseph Lipsitt Faculty Research Scholar and a professor of law at Boston University. He is the author of The Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment’s Exclusionary Rule.

How New Hampshire Saved America

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Americans believe our government is broken. According to a recent Gallup Poll, fixing the government is the most important issue for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. In this talk, Professor Lessig explains the fundamental corruption that has taken hold of our government and how we, the People, have lost touch with our Framers’ values.

New Hampshire has a critical role in restoring the Republic that the Framers promised. Professor Lessig examines how recent efforts—including the ongoing “New Hampshire Rebellion”—are mobilizing citizens to band together and form a movement capable of effecting fundamental and lasting change.

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It.

The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power, and Crime

Monday, March 12, 2012

Income and wealth inequality are worse than what people believe is fair, and inequality is underestimated. In his talk, Leighton discusses the link between the distribution of economic resources and crime, based on famed criminologist John Braithwaite’s argument that inequality worsens both crimes of poverty, which are motivated by need and structural humiliation, and crimes of wealth, which are motivated by greed and unaccountability. He will also provide a review of numerous solutions proposed over decades, highlighting the importance of campaign finance reform.

Paul Leighton is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at Eastern Michigan University. He is a co-author or co-editor of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison; the The Rich Get Richer: A Reader; Criminal Justice Ethics; Class, Race, Gender and Crime; and Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business, and the Incarceration Binge. He was editor of Critical Criminology: An International Journal, and was named Critical Criminologist of the Year from the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology. Leighton is also president of the board of a domestic violence shelter and advocacy center.