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PSU to host lecture on "Responding to Social Disruptions"

April 01, 2021
PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth State University (PSU) Saul O Sidore Lecture Series, which has been focused on understanding and responding to social disruptions, will host its next installment on Wednesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. with Kurt Braddock, Ph.D., who will present "The Hate Vaccine: Attitudinal Inoculation as Counter-Persuasion for Far-Right Extremist Propaganda."

The Saul O Sidore Lecture Series is being presented virtually and is open to the public. There will be an opportunity for questions following the lecture. Those interested in joining the discussion can access the Zoom session here: https://plymouthstate.zoom.us/j/86541446474.

Given the recent testimony by the Director of the FBI and the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that both identified right-wing extremism as the most prominent threat to national security, the Sidore Lecture Series is presenting a speaker whose research focuses on methods that could be used to help prevent people from adopting extremist views and conspiracy theories. 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. Right-wing extremists have been reaching out to vulnerable populations online, attempting to influence them to adopt the extremists' ideologies, and have become an increasingly active online presence.

According to Dr. Braddock, "Attitudinal inoculation is a method for preventing persuasion, and has gone largely unused in stemming the online reach of far-right extremism."

Kurt Braddock is an assistant professor of public communication at American University (AU) in Washington, D.C., and holds faculty fellowships at AU's Polarization and Extremism Research Innovation Lab, Center for Media and Social Impact and Institute for Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories Lab. He 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, US Department of Homeland Security and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

The March 16 Sidore lecture, "Cycles of Hatred and Rage: What Are Right-Wing Extremist Groups Telling Us?" is available to view on the Sidore Lecture Series web page: https://go.plymouth.edu/sidorespring2021. Katherine Donahue, Ph.D., an anthropologist and PSU Professor Emeritus, spoke about factors such as immigration, inequality and labor insecurity that might drive people to form right-wing groups in protest of governments and their policies.

Named for humanitarian and New Hampshire businessman Saul O Sidore, the lecture series brings a variety of speakers to PSU to address critical issues and events in politics, society and culture, topics that reflect Sidore's interests. For more information visit: https://campus.plymouth.edu/sidore/.

Martin Lord Osman
Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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