James Hawdon, a professor in the Department of Sociology and director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, was selected for the 2023–2024 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in Finland.

He will spend the Fall 2023 semester in Turku, Finland, conducting research and teaching a graduate-level seminar on online hate. Hawdon will collaborate with University of Turku faculty on a joint research project titled “Understanding Online Extremism From a Cross-National Perspective” that studies rhetoric and themes used by Finns and Americans who profess hate and extremism. The project will involve compiling data on changes in the national economies of Finland and the United States over the past half century to analyze how the changes may have patterned the extremist ideologies and reasons people provide as to why they relate to them.

In addition, the researchers will conduct a content analysis of posts and threads that promote hate on online forums and social media sites to document common themes across cultures. As part of the graduate-level course, students will redesign a survey Hawdon and his colleagues previously used for data collection, and the information gathered will inform the development of counter-narratives that will be tested in future work.