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Transatlantic Intolerance: The Rise in Anti-Islam, Anti-Immigrant and Racist Sentiment in Europe and the U.S.

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January 28-29, 2011
University of Texas at Austin Campus

From our vantage points as students, scholars, journalists, and politicians, we should be deeply concerned about the impact of intolerance on immigrants and ethnic minorities in Europe and the U.S. 

From the 2009 European Parliament election, where parties like the British National Party won seats for the first time, to the success of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands in June of 2010, there has been a noticeable and disconcerting rise of support for anti-immigrant and anti-Islam politicians throughout Europe.  At the same time, in the U.S., bills similar to Arizona's SB 1070 are being introduced across the country, including in the Texas legislature. Although these bills include language to discourage racial profiling, Mexican immigrants tend to be the target of discourses around immigration control, as was particularly evident during the 2010 election campaign, when ads appeared featuring Mexican-looking immigrants sneaking across the border.

The goal of this conference will be to examine these trends from a transatlantic perspective and from the perspective of academics and professionals in the field.  Through a series of roundtable discussions, participants will examine political trends, as well as the methods and the means of intolerance, in the context of the current economic crisis in Europe and the U.S.

Sponsored by The Center for European Studies, France-UT Institute, Department of Government, Department of French and Italian, Strauss Center for International Security and Law, and the Program in British Studies.

Confirmed Speakers 

Glyn FordGlyn Ford was a Labour Member of the European Parliament from 1984 through 2009. From 1989 to 1993 Glyn was the Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP) and, consequently, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Between 1984 and 1986, Glyn Ford was the Chair of the Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into the Rise of Racism and Fascism and then, in 1990, he was the rapporteur for the second Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia. From this came his book Fascist Europe. He was the Parliament's representative on the Consultative Committee into Racism and Xenophobia set up in July 1994 by Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand and the European Parliament's rapporteur for the report on the setting-up of a European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.  Glyn Ford has four main areas of interest: Foreign Affairs, East Asia, the rising tide of racism and Europe.

Before becoming a member of the European Parliament Glyn was a Local Councillor in Tameside for a number of years. Between 1979 and 1980, he was the Chair of the Environmental Health and Control Committee and then between 1980 and 1985, he was the Chair of Tameside Education Services Committee.  With a degree in geology from Reading University (1972) and a Masters Degree in Marine Earth Science from University College London (1974), Glyn Ford worked as a student and then as a staff member in Manchester University's Department of Science and Technology Policy, finishing in 1984 as a Senior Research Fellow.

FinchelsteinFederico Finchelstein is Associate Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College.  Additionally, he is the Director of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies. Professor Finchelstein is the author of 4 books on fascism, the Holocaust and Jewish history in Latin America and Europe. His last book, Transatlantic Fascism (2010), studies the global connections between Italian and Argentine fascism. He has published more than fifty academic articles and reviews on Fascism, Latin American Populism, Genocide and Antisemitism in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian publications, both in collective books and specialized peer review journals in the United States, the United Kingdom. Belgium, Italy, Spain, Israel, Brazil and Argentina.

MaxwellRahsaan Maxwell is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  His research focuses on racial and ethnic politics in Europe.  He is particularly concerned with integration and the political attitudes and behavior of minorities in Europe.  He has a book on immigrant integration in Britain and France forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.  He is also editing a book with Terri Givens on racial politics in Europe, forthcoming with Lynne Rienner Publishers.

BleichErik Bleich is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of European Studies at Middlebury College. His research interests revolve around the topics of race and ethnicity in West European politics. His first book, Race Politics in Britain and France: Ideas and Policymaking since the 1960s (Cambridge University Press, 2003) explores how theories of ideas and policymaking help explain different race policy outcomes in the two countries. Since that time, he has published on topics such as hate crimes, political violence, the status of Muslims, theories of immigration and integration, and the legacies of colonial history on contemporary policymaking. His current book project, called The Freedom to Be Racist? (under contract with Oxford University Press), explores how the United States and European liberal democracies balance a desire to promote freedom with the goal of curbing racism, focusing on hard cases in which people use liberal democratic freedoms to propagate racism.

DialloRokhaya Diallo is the founder and president of Les Indivisibles, a French organization that uses humour and irony to fight racism and stereotypes. By raising awareness of these issues, Les Indivisibles seeks to engage the French public as well as government leaders in creating an alternative discourse. Ms. Diallo regularly contributes to RTL, the main radio station in France. She is also a columnist and commenter on the TV channel Canal Plus. Ms. Diallo is the co-author of L'Appel Pour une Republique Multiculturelle et Postraciale (Respect Magazine editions), and her next publication will be published in January 2011.

YoungeGary Younge is a columnist for The Guardian and is currently the newspaper's New York City correspondent. He also has a monthly column for The Nation called "Beneath the Radar." His book No Place Like Home, in which he retraced the route of the civil rights Freedom Riders, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award in 1999. Younge is also currently a Belle Zeller visiting scholar at Brooklyn College, where he teaches classes on media and politics.

Fred L. Turner (Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Helsinki Commission) is the Chief of Staff at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and a member of Chairman Benjamin L. Cardin's senior leadership team. Jointly appointed by Senator Cardin and Commission Co-Chairman Alcee L. Hastings in 2007, Mr. Turner's appointment marks the first time since 1994 that the Commission's management has been consolidated in one staff director. He serves as the primary liaison between the political leadership of the Commission and the other Senators, House Members, and Executive Branch Commissioners. Mr. Turner advises Commissioners on foreign policy matters; shapes policy approaches for Commission hearings, briefings and special events; and has organized and participated in more than a dozen Congressional delegations abroad. Prior to his leadership of the Helsinki Commission, Mr. Turner served for more than twelve years on the staff of Congressman Hastings, the last seven as Chief of Staff. Mr. Turner also served as an Associate Staff Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee, Democratic Staff Director of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process and Democratic Staff Director of the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Subcommittee on Europe. Previously, he served as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Karen McCarthy and as a graduate fellow with the Anti-Defamation League. Mr. Turner is an honors graduate of American University where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in political science. Since 2001, Mr. Turner has served as an Adjunct Professor of Government at American University's School of Public Affairs.

Mischa Thompson, Ph.D. (Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Helsinki Commission) joined the Commission in May 2007. Her portfolio includes tolerance and non-discrimination, migration and integration, and corporate citizenship issues within the 56 participating OSCE states, including the European Union. Prior to being appointed to the Commission, Dr. Thompson served as a Professional Staff Member and Congressional Fellow within the U.S. House and Senate working on international racism, foreign policy, trade, economic development, and security issues. A Fulbright Scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow, Dr. Thompson holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, where her research focused on intergroup relations in the U.S. and Europe. Dr. Thompson received her B.S. from Howard University and is proficient in German.

(Tentative) Keenan Keller serves as Senior Democratic Counsel for U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. In this capacity, he drafts and coordinates legislation on a range of issues for both the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the full Judiciary Committee, including civil rights, immigration, intellectual property, criminal and constitutional law issues. Some of his major legislative initiatives have included: the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization; the Second Chance Act; the Pigford Claims Act; the Hate Crimes Prevention Act; the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act; and the End Racial Profiling Act. As Minority Counsel, he handled all abortion rights, national security and criminal justice reform issues (e.g., death penalty and sentencing reform) for the full Committee. He also coordinates oversight on the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Community Relations Service. While staffing all members of the Committee, he works directly with Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). Prior to joining the Committee staff, he was associated with the law firms of Latham & Watkins in Washington, DC, and Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, where he was a litigation and health care law specialist.

UT Austin Confirmed Speakers/Participants

Terri Givens (Government) is Associate Professor in the Government Department at the UT Austin. She was formerly Vice Provost, International Activities and Undergraduate Curriculum, Director of the Center for European Studies, and Director of the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies. Her academic interests include radical right parties, immigration politics, and the politics of race in Europe. She has conducted extensive research in Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Austria and Denmark. She has received Fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship and various other grants and fellowships to support her research in Europe. Her book, Voting Radical Right in Western Europe, was published in Fall 2005 with Cambridge University Press. She has edited the book Immigration Policy and Security with Gary Freeman and David Leal.  Her articles have appeared in Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Common Market Studies, the Policy Studies Journal, and Comparative European Politics. She is an active member of the American Political Science Association, the European Union Studies Association, and the Council for European Studies.  She is a regular columnist with Inside Higher Ed at

Benjamin Brower (History) is an Assistant Professor at UT Austin since 2009. He is a historian of modern France and its colonies with a focus on Algeria. His research examines the colonial situation, and its impact on the societies of the colonized and colonizers. His first book, A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of French Empire in the Algerian Sahara, 1844-1902 (2009) tells the story of colonial violence in nineteenth-century Algeria. The book won both the Albert Hourani Book Award for best book in Middle East studies and the David H. Pinkney Prize for best book in French history. He is working on a second book project entitled "The Colonial Hajj, 1798-1962." This explores the history of pilgrimage to Mecca and the Holy Places made by Muslims subject to French colonial rule. His broader research interests include European imperialism, questions of secularism and Islam, and understanding violence in history.

Ben Carrington (Sociology) is a sociologist who has taught at the University of Texas at Austin since 2004. Prior to that he taught at the University of Brighton in England.  His teaching and research interests cover the broad areas of the sociology of race, ethnicity and culture and particularly sociological approaches to the media, youth culture and music, and popular culture and sport. More specifically, Professor Carrington's research explores the productive capacity of culture to effect social change and the ways in which cultural practices offer sites of resistance to dominant ideologies especially as regards identities that are based around diasporic appeals to race.  As part of his longer term intellectual project, he is developing an inter-disciplinary, post/colonial theory of racism that challenges traditional sociology of "race relations" modes of conceptualizing racism. Outside of the CES, Ben Carrington is actively engaged with a range of institutions and intellectual spaces, including the Center for Women's and Gender Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. He also holds an appointment with the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. Professor Carrington is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education at Leeds Metropolitan University, England and is a Research Associate of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, based at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Jason Casellas (Government) specializes in American politics, with specific research and teaching interests in Latino politics, legislative politics, and state and local politics. He is the author of Latino Representation in State Houses and Congress (New YorkCambridge University Press.) He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Princeton President's Fellowship, an American Political Science Association Fellowship, a Ford Motor Company Fellowship, the Samuel DuBois Cook Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University, and a United States Studies Centre Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Sydney (Australia). He is also a member of the Texas Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. His dissertation won third place in a nationwide, inter-disciplinary competition for the best dissertation given by The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) and Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Mounira Charrad (Sociology) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests include gender and women's rights, political sociology, development, comparative historical methodology, and the Middle East. Her upcoming books include The Power of Kinship: Patrimonial States in Global Perspective and The Politics of Empire: Patrimony and Power in the Modern World. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for European Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies.

Barbara Hines (Law) co-directs the immigration clinic at the UT Austin School of Law. Professor Hines has practiced in the field since 1975 and is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1992 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Jack Wasserman Award for Excellence in Litigation; the AILA Texas Chapter Litigation Award in 1993; the Texas Law Fellowships Excellence in Public Interest Award in 2002; the AILA Elmer Fried Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007; the 2009 MALDEF Excellence in Legal Services Award; and the 2010 National Lawyer's Guild Carol King Award. Professor Hines was a Fulbright scholar in Argentina in 1996 and focused her research on Argentine immigration law. She received a second Fulbright award in 2004 and taught a course on U.S.immigration law and policy at the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2000, she was named one of the 100 best lawyers in the state by the Texas Lawyer publication. Professor Hines served as the first Co-Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of Texas, Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. She has litigated many issues relating to the constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts. She frequently lectures and writes on topics in the area of immigration law.

Eric McDaniel (Government) is an Associate Professor and specializes in American politics. His research areas include religion and politics, Black politics, and organizational behavior. His work targets how and why Black religious institutions choose to become involved in political matters. In addition, his work targets the role of religious institutions in shaping Black political behavior. His most recent publication is Politics in the Pews: The Political Mobilization of Black Churches.

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