Select Page

We live in an increasingly polarized society, sometimes with tragic consequences.

Dr. Michael Waltman will discuss the need to confront that reality openly and honestly in order to change it at his Chautauqua lecture on Thursday, March 3, at Eastern Kentucky University. An associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he will present “What If We Had a Real Conversation about Hate in America” at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. His talk, free and open to the public, also serves as the keynote address for First Amendment Week.

Waltman specializes in interpersonal and organizational communication and teaches courses on persuasion, communication and social memory. His current research explores the social and political uses of hate speech and the essential features of anti-hate discourse, examining the diverse functions of hate speech in multiple contexts and addressing the ways that hate is used to pursue a variety of social and personal goals, including the promotion of hate crime, ethno-violence and the maintenance of white privilege.

His research has resulted in the publication of two major studies, “The Communication of Hate,” published in 2011, and “Hate on the Right: Right-Wing Political Groups and Hate Speech,” published in 2014. “The Communication of Hate” won the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Titles from the Association for College & Research Libraries and the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression.

Waltman has also written many other articles and book chapters, been an Academic Fellow funded by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and received numerous awards for his publications. The latter includes the best essay prize for “Deadly Humor: How Racist Cartoons Further the Ideology of Hate and Create a Symbolic Code for Ethnoviolence,” from the Journal of Intergroup Relations. The essay was also featured in a number of major media outlets, including Wired and Time magazine.

Waltman earned degrees from the University of Arkansas, the University of Kentucky and Purdue University, where he completed his doctorate in 1992.

His lecture is sponsored by the Department of Communications, EKU Honors and the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work.

For more information, visit www.chautauqua.eku.eduor contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell at