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Cultural Threats and Islamophobia
Public hostility towards Muslims appears to be on the rise in the United States. One common explanation for growing antipathy is the perceived link between Muslims and terrorism, and the role of mass media in solidifying this association in American public consciousness. However, recent findings suggest that the perception of Muslims as aculturalthreat may generate more anti-Muslim hostility than their association with political violence. This talk examines the role of cultural threat in anti-Muslim attitudes using a two-pronged approach. First, a survey experiment provides tentative evidence that framing Muslims as a cultural ‘other’ drives anti-Muslim attitudes. Interestingly, framing Muslims as a cultural other is just as deleterious as framing Muslims as terrorists. Second, we use a large-scale media analysis to track this framing as is occurs in real-world portrayals. While the analysis is still in progress, we describe our preliminary findings as well as plans for future research.
Rochelle Terman is Social Science Postdoctoral Fellow at Center for International Security & Cooperation(CISAC) at Stanford University. Her research examines international norms, gender, and advocacy, with a focus on the Muslim world. Her current book project examines resistance and defiance to global human rights advocacy. Another project examines the roots of anti-Muslim attitudes in American public opinion. She is also interested in computational social science, and teaches a course on machine learning in Stanford’s Political Science department. Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly; Review of International Organizations; and Theory, Culture & Society, among others.
This talk is part of the Young Scholar Series.