News

Sortir de la violence. Dialoguer pour réparer. (Exiting violence. Dialogue for reparation.)

The Centre de services de justice réparatrice (Restorative Justice Services Center), in collaboration with l’Institut soufi de Montréal (the Sufi Institute of Montreal), will hold a meeting on Sunday, December 10th, at 2:30 pm, on the theme of  Sortir de la violence. Dialoguer pour réparer. (Exiting violence. Dialogue for reparation.)


This meeting will be composed of both testimonials and discussion time. The audience will be presented with an exclusive video from French rapper Abd al Malik who found, thanks to Sufism, a way to avoid radicalization. There will also be the opportunity to listen to the testimony of a person who is currently incarcerated for hate crimes and who is journeying towards reparation.

The Facebook page of the event can be found here:

For registration and information: fairejusticeautrement@gmail.com – 514.933.3737.

Accroître la sensibilisation et la résilience contre la haine en ligne avec la pédagogie sociale

Vivek Venkatesh, project SOMEONE director will give a lecture at UQAM on Wednesday, December 6th at noon titled  « Accroître la sensibilisation et la résilience contre la haine en ligne avec la pédagogie sociale » or “Increase awareness and resilience against hate in line with social pedagogy”.

Details here: https://evenements.uqam.ca/detail/791544-conference-laccroitre-la-sensibilisation-et-la-resilience-contre-la-haine-en-ligne-avec-la-pedagogie-socialer

House of Mythology

Grimposium and SOMEONE director Vivek Venkatesh’s music video collaborations with filmmaking partner David Hall of Uneasy Sleeper and musical collective Ulver is now public! We are humbled and honoured by all the views and the encouragement. All relevant details including the Bandcamp link to Ulver’s new Sic Transit Gloria Mundi EP alongside the YouTube links of the two videos on the House of Mythology label are here: http://www.jester-records.com/ulver/ulver.html

 

Combatting Hatred and Violent Extremism through Social Pedagogy

By Ryan Scrivens, PhD

Horizon Postdoctoral Fellow, Concordia University

Surprising to some is that Canada, a multicultural nation of sorts, is not – and has never been – immune from hatred and bigotry. In fact, those who maintain radical and intolerant beliefs or engage in radical action continue to reside amongst us, oftentimes in plain sight. In 2017, Canadian universities, for example, saw a surge in flyering campaigns across campuses that promoted Islamophobia and radical right-wing ideals. That same year, a man with anti-Muslim views walked into a mosque in Quebec City and murdered six worshipers and injured 19 others. Another man with an Islamic State flag in the front seat of his vehicle struck four pedestrians on a busy street in Edmonton and later stabbed a police officer during his apprehension. In what appears to be an increase in hate-inspired activity in Canada, no time is better than now to educate the broader public about the complexities associated with hatred and radicalization leading to violent extremism. This is a task that we, at Project SOMEONE, are currently undertaking – through the power of a social pedagogy, in our communities and at a national level.

An important starting place for countering violent extremism and hatred is in the public sphere, by building relationships with key stakeholders, as well as promoting social pedagogy in general and public intellectualism, social activism, and critical thinking in particular. By no means, however, is this an easy undertaking – but it is feasible. To illustrate, in 2013 I co-authored a three-year study, funded by Public Safety Canada (under their Kanishka Program), on the state of right-wing extremism in Canada. The purpose of the study, amongst others, was to explore the internal and external factors that were most likely to give rise to and minimize right-wing extremist groups and associated violence, as well as offer recommendations on how we can counter right-wing extremism in Canada. Here we conducted extensive fieldwork across the country, interviewing a number of stakeholders, which included law enforcement officials, community groups, and adherents of the right-wing extremist movement. We also gathered open source intelligence (i.e., media reports, court cases, and website and social media) to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the movement in Canada.

Notably, right-wing extremism is an area of inquiry that was overlooked, from an academic and social pedagogy perspective, for over 15 years in Canada. The three-year study was well-received by scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners, and subsequent publications gained significant media attention, with well over 100 news stories (i.e., television, print, and radio) reporting on the study. While our findings did manage to reach the general public, perhaps more importantly was that we were able to shape some of the public discourse as well as conversations amongst community groups and law enforcement communities about the complexities of hatred in Canada. This was done by building relationships with journalists and reporters as well as through various speaking engagements with community groups and presentations at law enforcement workshops.

It must be noted, however, that the results of the study were a shock to many Canadians. Not only did we find that the foundations of hatred are complex and multi-faceted, grounded in both individual and social conditions, we uncovered that right-wing extremism was alive and well in Canada. From 1980 to 2015, for example, we identified over 100 active groups and over 100 reported incidents of right-wing extremist violence in the country. We also uncovered that the threat from the radical right was overlooked by the mainstream media and the general public. In turn, then, we proposed a multi-sectorial approach to educate the broader public about hatred and ensure that extremists have a minimal impact on communities. This included the integration and utilization of an array of experts, such as community organizations, victim service providers, police officers, policy-makers, and the media.

Spring-boarding from this framework, the Director and Principal Investigator of Project SOMEONE, Vivek Venkatesh, and I are currently working on a project – funded by Public Safety Canada – in which we are developing ways to build resiliency against hatred and radicalization leading to violent extremism in Canada, both through a multi-sectoral and social pedagogical approach. We will be including the voices of key stakeholders in the discussions, and we will be urging Canadians to think critically about how we respond to hatred in our communities. We also hope that our messages circulate within and across various community groups and security intelligence circles, as well as reach and maintain itself in the public sphere. Details about this project will be revealed in the coming months. Please stay tuned.

 

 

Echo Chamber (Room of Tears)

Grimposium creator and SOMEONE director Vivek Venkatesh and his filmmaking partner David Hall of Uneasy Sleeper are proud to present a music video for Norwegian musical collective Ulver’s new song Echo Chamber (Room of Tears) taken off their forthcoming EP Sic Transit Gloria Mundi which will be released by House of Mythology. Live footage courtesy of BN Visuals. 
 

 

 

7 Concordians who make international headlines

The President’s Media Outreach Awards recognize researchers, faculty and staff who garnered media coverage over the past year in news outlets around the world. The award for Research Communicator of the Year at the national level was given to Vivek Venkatesh.

At a celebration last week, Concordia’s president Alan Shepard expressed his appreciation to this year’s seven “newsmakers” who devoted their time — beyond the demands of their research and teaching — to highlighting the excellent work being done at the university.

(L to R) Philippe Beauregard; Vivek Venkatesh; Nadia Naffi, Graham Dodds; Adam Radomsky; Johan, Jason and Florence Ens (accepting for Kimberley Manning); Jean-Philippe Warren; Jennifer Drummond; Alan Shepard. Credit: Concordia University.

For more information click here.

Examining the Behaviors and Characteristics of Terrorists and Extremists On and Off-line

The American Society of Criminology (ASC) Annual Meeting will be held in Philadelphia on 15-18 November, 2017. Ryan Scrivens will be part of panel on “Examining the Behaviors and Characteristics of Terrorists and Extremists On and Off-line.” He will also give a presentation titled “Searching for the Right Stuff: Identifying Radical Users in Online Discussion Forums”.

For more information about the American Society of Criminology, see http://asc41.com/about.htm

Necrophilic Empathy in Cervantes’ La Numancia

Grimposium creator and SOMEONE director Vivek Venkatesh will be speaking alongside his Concordia collaborator Brad Nelson on the concept of ‘necrophilic empathy’ which refers to society’s fixation with the arduous consumption of death and dystopia in an accelerated era of social media. For more information of the “Apocalyptic Imagination in Early Modern Spain” event being held on November 14, click here.

(Photo credit: Vivek Venkatesh)

TSAS Workshop Series: ‘Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats’ (CREST) Researchers

Ryan Scrivens will be giving a presentation titled “Broadening our Understanding of Anti-Authoritarian Movements in Canada” at a TSAS workshop on October 30 in Ottawa. The workshop will present 11 speakers from the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST), which is a national hub for understanding, countering and mitigating security threats in the United Kingdom. Speakers will also include those from TSAS. 

For more information click here.

UQAM conference “Media and Terrorism: East-West Dialogue”

UQAM is hosting an international conference titled « Médias et Terrorisme : dialogue Orient-Occident » on 6 October at 455 Boulevard René-Lévesque E, Montreal, QC H2L 4Y2.

Download the program here (pdf).