Protesters facing off outdoors

Panofsky on Science, Rhetoric and White Nationalism

Inside Higher Ed spoke to Aaron Panofsky, professor of public policy, about the launch of UCLA’s Initiative to Study Hate, which supports research into understanding and mitigating hatred among social groups. Panofsky will lead one of 23 projects representing several disciplines. His research will explore how white nationalists use and reject scientific research and language in their rhetoric online. Hate is popularly perceived as the emotion felt “when you want to lash out against someone,” Panofsky said. But the ways white nationalists painstakingly attempt to back up their claims with scientific research show hate is more than a knee-jerk emotional reaction. “Part of our study is about how complicated hate can become, especially when it’s connected with science or an ostensibly rational discourse,” said Panofsky, who directs the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics.


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