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Why We Hate You! The Passions of National Identity and Ethnic Conflict

An expert on the Soviet Union, particular Russian peoples, Professor Ronald Grigor Suny is a scholar in the study of ethnic conflict and genocide, with a special focus on the South Caucasus. In his Athenaeum address, Professor Suny will examine the role of emotions in ethnic politics and will make the argument that emotions, while originating in the body and brain, are in large part socially, historically, and culturally constructed. To understand ethnic conflict, violence, and genocide, the emotional dimensions must be analyzed along with the rational, instrumentalist decisions made by perpetrators. Suny seeks to specify and investigate which emotions - anger, fear, hate, resentment- are at play in various historical clashes.

Ronald Suny is currently Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago. Previously he has taught at Oberlin College, University of California at Irvine, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan. He is the author of numerous articles and over a dozen books, most recently including The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union (1993); The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States (1998); Transcaucasia, Nationalism and Social Change: Essays in the History of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (1996). Suny has appeared frequently on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, CBS Evening News, CNN, and National Public Radio, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times. In addition to his writing on ethnic conflict and the non-Russian peoples of the former Soviet Union, Professor Suny has also organized workshops bringing Turkish, Armenian, and other scholars together to discuss the 1915 massacres and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

Professor Suny's lecture and visit to CMC is sponsored by The Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.