Conceptions and Images of the Enemy in Political Propaganda

Friday, March 8, 2019

12:00 pm

Encina Hall West, Room 219

Sponsored by:
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

The basis of this talk is Professor Hollander's current study that compares images of Jews, "the class enemy" and "infidels" in Nazi, Communist and Islamist propaganda respectively. Such images are essential preconditions of large-scale political violence designed to purify the world of evil variously defined. It is a central proposition of this study that much of modern political violence originate not in conflicting material interests but in strongly felt desires for a morally superior and morally ordered world in which frustrations and deprivations can be explained by, and blamed on, forces of evil and human ill will. Hence much of political propaganda amounts to scapegoating. Ideas often used to explain political violence - such as class struggle, the banality of evil, obedience to authority and the efforts to unite theory and practice - may also be considered and evaluated. Modernity (and especially secularization) significantly contributed to political conflict. It has raised expectations, weakened communities, and has subverted meaningful conceptions of the world. Professor Hollander will examine specific (visual and verbal) images of the enemy disseminated by the three types of propaganda - what they have in common and how they inspire and justify political violence. The talk may also compare political and certain religious conceptions of evil.

Paul Hollander is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. Born and raised in Hungary he left after the 1956 Revolution; studied at the London School of Economics (B.A.) and Princeton University.(Ph.D.) He is the author or editor of 16 books including Political Pilgrims (1981); Anti-Americanism(1992); Political Will and Personal Belief: The Decline and Fall of Soviet Communism (1999); The End of Commitment: Intellectuals, Revolutionaries and Political Morality (2006); From the Gulag to the Killing Fields (2006);and From BenitoMussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship. (2017).

Friday, March 8, 2019
12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Encina Hall West, Room 219

This event is open to Stanford affiliates. 

RSVP requested.


Lecture / Reading International Humanities 

Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends, Members