Our Keynote Speakers for the 2018 Words That Kill Conference represent an international and innovative scholarship examining the questions of hate, the production of otherness, violence and images, language, media and narratives from diverse vantage points.

Gérald Bronner - "Croyances et narration : Des liens complexes” [Beliefs and Narratives: Complex Relationships]

Gérald Bronner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Paris-Diderot, member of the Academy of Techonology (Académie des technologies) and member of the National Academy of Medicine (l’Académie nationale de médecine). He works on collective belief systems and errors in reasoning and their consequences. He has published several manuscripts on these questions such as The Empire of Beliefs (L'empire des croyances; Puf, Paris, 2003), awarded a prize from the Academy of the Moral Sciences and Politics (l'Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques), The Democracy of the Believers (La démocratie des crédules), awarded a number of prizes (Prix de la revue des deux Mondes, Prix Sophie Barluet CNL, Prix de l’Union rationaliste, Prix des Lumières). His book, Extremist Thought: How Ordinary Men Become Fanatics (La pensée extrême – Comment des hommes ordinaires deviennent des fanatiques; Puf, Paris, 2016) received the prestigious European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences. His most recent book, co-written with Etienne Géhin, The Danger of Sociology (Le danger sociologique; Puf, 2017) led to many debates insides and outside the discipline. Bronner has published a number of articles in scientific journals and is an editorialist at Point, chronicler for Pour la Science, and for 28 Minutes on Arte.

Jason Stanley - "How Fascism Works"

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He has also been a Professor at the University of Michigan (2000-4) and Cornell University (1995-2000). His PhD was earned in 1995 at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT (Robert Stalnaker, chair), and he received his BA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1990.

Professor Stanley has two forthcoming books. The first is How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Random House, summer 2018). The second is The Politics of Language, co-authored with David Beaver (Princeton University Press, 2019).

Professor Stanley has four previously published books. His first book was Knowledge and Practical Interests published in 2005 by Oxford University Press. It was the winner of the 2007 American Philosophical Association book prize. Professor Stanley’s second book, Language in Context, also OUP, was published in 2007. This is a collection of his papers in semantics published between 2000 and 2007 on the topic of linguistic communication and context. His third book, Know How, was published in 2011, also with OUP. Professor Stanley’s fourth book, How Propaganda Works, was published by Princeton University Press in May, 2015. It was the winner of the 2016 PROSE award for the subject area of philosophy.

Sarah Banet-Weiser - "'Blood Coming Out of Her Wherever': Networked Misogyny and The Body"

Sarah Banet-Weiser is Professor and Director at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, and in Fall 2018 will be joining the faculty in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics as Professor and Head of Department.  She is the author of several books, including The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Beauty Pageants and National Identity; Kids Rule! Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship; Authentic™: The Politics of Ambivalence in a Brand Culture; and the forthcoming Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny.  She is the co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting; Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times; and the forthcoming Race Post-Race: Culture, Critique and the Color Line.  She is currently the co-editor of the journal Communication, Culture & Critique. 

Susan Benesch - "Which Are The Words That Kill?"

Susan Benesch founded and directs the Dangerous Speech Project, to study speech that can inspire violence - and to find ways to prevent this, without infringing on freedom of expression. To that end, she conducts research on methods to diminish harmful speech online, or the harm itself. She is also Faculty Associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Trained as a human rights lawyer at Yale, Susan has worked for NGOs including Amnesty International and Human Rights First. She teaches at American University.

Jayson Harsin - "Post-Truth Politics: The Longer (historical) and Broader (cultural) Theory"

Jayson Harsin (PhD Northwestern University), Associate Professor of Global Communication and International/Comparative Politics, has published on questions of truth, rumor, belief, trust, attention at the intersection of politics and digital communication since 2006. He has coined several new terms that encapsulate many of the qualities and conditions of post-truth politics and society, including rumor bombs (2006), regimes of post-truth (2015), and emo-truth (2018). His work has appeared in many book collections and journals such as the International Journal of Communication; Communication, Culture & Critique; Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies; French Politics, Culture & Society, and Pouvoirs. He is currently completing a two-part volume on post-truth politics and society. Harsin is vice-chair of the Philosophy, Theory & Critique division of the International Communication Association.