At this moment in history, populations in many parts of the world live in fear - fear of terrorists attacks and of war, but also of crime, of disease, of economic instability. These fears may, and frequently do, become tools in the hands of government, the media and special interest groups at all levels of society. Though this Social Research conference was intilially motivated by the events of September 11th, the conference seeks to place our current state of fear in cultural and historical perspective, examining the psychological roots of fear and its political uses and abuses throughout history (particularly the last 50-75 years) and across the globe.
This conference is scheduled to take place Febryary 5-7, 2004 and will be held at the New School University in New York City. Among other issues to be examined will be how governments use fear to their advantage; the effects of fear on a populace (what is the product of those red, orange, and yellow alerts?); how today's political use of fear compares to that of times past, such as the "Red Scare;" how political theories can help us to understand fear; and, finally, whether fear can ever play a positive role in political life.
Speakers at the event will include Nation columnist and author Eric Alterman on the effects of fear on everyday life; John Hollander, poet and Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale, on fear, anxiety, panic, and dread; and former GF Dean Ira Katznelson on political theory and the vocabulary of fear, among many others. At the end of the conference, another former GF Dean, Ken Prewitt, will moderate a panel called, "The Politics of Fear After 9/11: Can the past inform the future?," with Eric Alterman, Stanley Hoffman, Corey Robin, and others. The event is open to the public.
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