Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

The Cost of Hate Symposium

Stop hate

What is the cost of hatred? Many of us are able to talk about what is good about diversity, and how we need to work toward a fairer, more representative society that offers more equitable access of social goods to all. Despite this commitment, we have experienced multiple expressions of hatred at UT and in the Knoxville community. From marches by new-Nazi groups to postings on the Rock, from social media posting in blackface to scoring atrociously high on lists as an unfriendly campus to LGBTQ people, we have been forced to address hatred and its impacts in our community.

This three-part panel discussion series seeks to examine the cost to society of group-focused hatred. How are racism, sexism, and heterosexism experienced in the current moment, and what are our resources to combat them? How do we confront the dangers of fascism, and work to build a democracy where economic, political, and cultural rights of the majority can be consolidated and defended? What are the common features of the challenges we face, and what are the more specific elements? How do we understand this moment, and how do we prepare ourselves to change it? These are the kinds of questions these panels will address by highlighting academic and community voices.

Recent protests have highlighted systemic racism, but racism has defined our nation’s history since its beginning.  How can we understand the ongoing costs that racial oppression levels on our society?

Three UT faculty experts and City Councilwoman Amelia Parker will discuss race during the first of three panels addressing the cost to society of group-focused hatred. Jon Shefner, UT professor of sociology, will moderate the conversation.

Register Here

The event is open to the public, registration is required. Once registered, you will receive information about how to join the webinar.

Shayla Nunnally

Shayla Nunnally is a professor in the UT Department of Political Science and director of the UT Africana Studies Program. Nunnally’s research specializations include American public opinion, African American public opinion and political behavior, race and politics, political socialization, racial socialization, trust, intergroup relations and attitudes, social capital, collective memory and memory transmission, black American partisanship, and black political development.

Amelia Parker

Amelia Parker is a member of the Knoxville City Council and the City Council Movement. Councilwoman Parker was elected to office in 2019. She is a longtime Knoxville resident, a graduate of UT and American University Washington College of Law, and a founding member of Black Lives Matter Knoxville and the City Council Movement.

Larry Perry

Larry Perry is an assistant professor in the UT Department of Religious Studies. Perry’s work focuses on the history of the American Religious Left, its thoughts, thinkers, politics, practice, and its intersection (or lack thereof) with racial justice in the United States. 

Brandon Winford

Brandon Winford is an associate professor in the UT Department of History. He is a historian of late nineteenth and twentieth century United States and African American history, specializing in civil rights and black business history.

Jon Shefner

Jon Shefner, moderator for the panel, is a professor in the UT Department of Sociology. Shefner’s research focuses on how economically disempowered people contest their disadvantages through political action in community and labor organizations and social movements.

While some Americans believe we have overcome an earlier culture of sexism and heterosexism, these forms of discrimination continue to impact our society in a variety of substantive ways.

UT faculty experts, Planned Parenthood Organizer Tory Mills, and SisterReach CEO Cherisse Scott will address ways in which these issues intersect with contemporary American discussions about topics such as politics, race, gender identity, sexuality, and religion. 

Sarah Eldridge, UT professor of German, will moderate the conversation. We hope you will join us for the second panel discussion in our series addressing the cost to society of group-focused hatred.

Register Here

The event is open to the public, but registration is required. Once registered, you will receive information about how to join the webinar.

patrick grzanka

Patrick Grzanka is an associate professor in the UT Department of Psychology and chair of the UT Women, Gender & Sexuality Program. Grzanka’s work in and out of the classroom is on complex inequalities at the nexus of race, gender, and sexuality. An interdisciplinary scholar, he has published extensively on intersectionality, reproductive justice, and neoliberalism, and was recently awarded the Michele Alexander Early Career Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. 

Tory Mills

Tory Mills is the director of community engagement for Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. Mills has spent her nine years at Planned Parenthood organizing for reproductive rights and freedom in Tennessee and as a sexuality educator for Knoxville-area youth, parents, and professionals. As a lifelong East Tennessean and UT graduate, she is dedicated to creating change in the south and building a Knoxville that centers the needs of marginalized individuals and communities, pregnant people, and families.

cherisse scott

Cherisse Scott is CEO and founder of SisterReach. Scott has worked in the Reproductive Justice movement for 15 years and has led her team to achieve a strong presence regarding their education, policy and advocacy, culture change and harm reduction work for the most vulnerable Tennesseans.

Tina Shepardson

Tina Shepardson is a Lindsay Young Professor and head of the UT Department of Religious Studies. She studies and teaches about the history of early Christianity, including how Christian scripture and teachings are used to defend politicized ideas and practices in our American culture today.

sarah eldridge

Sarah Vandegrift Eldridge, moderator for the panel, is an associate professor of German at UT. Her research focuses on the 18th-century German novel and its role in subject formation. She is currently working on a project entitled Composite Selves: Power, Experience, and the Narrative Negotiation of Subjecthood.

Fascism emerged in Europe in the 1920s and 30s. An authoritarian ideology that explicitly rejected pluralism and democracy, it is often presumed to have died as a political force with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Fascist tendencies, however, never vanished and they have recently been revitalized and, increasingly, normalized.

UT faculty experts and David Hayes, City Council Movement member, will help sort out what fascism was historically, what it looks like now, and how to combat it. We hope you will join us for the final panel discussion in our series addressing the cost to society of group-focused hatred.

Register Here

The event is open to the public and the UT community, but registration is required. Once registered, you will receive information about how to join the webinar.

Monica Black

Monica Black is an associate professor in the UT Department of History. Her areas of specialization include German social and cultural history in the era of the World Wars, fascism, and Nazism and its afterlives in the post-WWII period.

david hayes

David Hayes is a community organizer and leader in the movements for racial and economic justice in Knoxville. He is a member of the City Council Movement and supports numerous organizations fighting for change and justice in Knoxville. Hayes is committed to empowering communities and fighting for the liberation of all oppressed people across the globe. When he is not organizing in the community, he is working at the Highlander Research and Education Center or raising his young child with his partner. 

Jon Shefner

Jon Shefner is a professor in the UT Department of Sociology. He studies how organized groups respond with political action to inequalities of all sorts. Much of his research has focused on Latin America, but currently his work revolves around local movements. 

Helene Sinnreich

Helene Sinnreich is an associate professor in the UT Department of Religious Studies and director of The Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies. She is a scholar of Jewish experience during the Holocaust and European Jewry. Sinnreich serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Jewish Identities (Johns Hopkins University Press).