Annual Marshall Plan Lecture, University of New Orleans

Islamophobia in Contemporary Europe: Evidence from Political Campaigns and Ads

Karin Liebhart
Austrian Marshall Plan Anniversary Chair, The University of New Orleans

The 2015 Annual Austrian Marshall Plan Lecture took place on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the University of New Orleans' Earl K. Long Library, Room 407.

2015 Austrian Marshall Plan Lecture by Prof. Karin Liebhart at the University of New Orleans

About the Lecture:
Both increased migration and a climate of fear of terrorist attacks in the wake of 9/11 have fueled anti-Muslim stereotypes and corresponding attitudes throughout Europe. This deep-seated sense of dread has been reaffirmed by the resounding media presence of the Jihadist fighters for an Islamic State in the Near East more recently.

The contemporary European political rhetoric of islamophobia is mingling religion, politics and national/ethnic identity, depicting Islam as an intrinsically violent ideology that tends to generate political extremism. Such discourses and related images construct an artificial but apparently clear distinction between modern "Western" and backward "Islamic" values. They want to suggest that Islam has hardly anything in common with "enlightened" Western societies; moreover, Islam in this diction is supposedly inferior to the West. In such contemporary European discourses Muslims are referred to as nonEuropean aliens and portrayed as one-dimensional, fanatical and backward.

Meanwhile the very existence of a moderate Muslim majority is widely negated. Muslims are largely mistrusted and Islam is said to be fundamentally incompatible with Western values and the Western way of life. This lecture will zoom in on the details of the political discourses on Islam and Muslims in contemporary European politics. It will track their representation in political advertisements and campaigns in a number of European countries.

Karin Liebhart is a political scientist at the University of Vienna and Visiting Professor and Marshall Plan Anniversary Chair 2014/2015 at the Department of Political Science, University of New Orleans. Among her main research interests are European political systems and political cultures, European integration and enlargement, discursive and visual representations of politics, and political communication. She is the co/editor of Cultural Patterns of Politics (with Olga Gyarfasova). LIT Berlin-Münster-Vienna 2014 and the co-author (with Ruth Wodak/ Rudolf de Cillia/ Martin Reisigl) of The Discursive Construction of National Identity. Second Edition (revised and updated), Edinburgh University Press 2009.

Hannes RichterComment