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Expert to speak on ‘Syria’s Refugee Crisis, Islamophobia, ISIS PR Machine’

Olin and Muffet Sansbury Lecture March 9 in Olin Teaching Theater

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2016-03-07

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Dr. Amanda E. Rogers, a postdoctoral research fellow at Georgia State University, will speak on “Syria’s Refugee Crisis, Islamophobia and the ISIS PR Machine” in Wofford College’s Olin and Muffet Sansbury Lecture Series at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the Olin Teaching Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building.

The program is free and open to the public.

Rogers, who holds a Ph.D. from Emory University, also is an activist, political analyst, artist, and multi-media journalist. She serves on the editorial board of the Postcolonialist, staff writer for Muftah.org, and columnist at Aslan Media Initiatives.

Rogers says, “In the wake of ISIS’ horrific attacks against Paris on Nov. 13, a pervasive, and troubling, hysteria has dominated domestic political rhetoric in the United States. Despite the fact that no Syrian refugee was implicated in the coordinated terrorist operations, and the fact that the U.S. currently hosts fewer than 3,000 refugees, more than half of American governors quickly signed (unconstitutional) executive orders at the state level, aiming to curb or halt altogether refugee resettlement. Simultaneously, the GOP’s roster of presidential candidates appear to be embroiled in not only a contest for the nomination, but a competition out-do one another in inflaming domestic fears. Such a climate proved so unsettling that the non-partisan U.S. Holocaust Museum felt compelled to issue a statement urging caution concerning the anti-refugee rhetoric.”

She suggests that the responses to the attacks on Paris, “by media pundits and political figures alike, prove most disturbing for their close conformity to ISIS’ own stated objectives. I argue that – far more critical than the actual policies floated to stem the acceptance of Syrian refugees – the rhetoric of fear circulating in the public sphere was not only foreseen by ISIS, but serves as the tactical goal for the Paris attacks, as well as a key victory in keeping with the group’s broader strategic aims.

“ISIS, an organization that prizes media operatives above military units, knows well the psychology of marketing, public relations, and advertising – a skill set the reaction to Paris reveals to masterful effect,” Rogers continues. “Through an analysis of primary source material (ISIS propaganda), media/political responses to the Paris attacks (as well as those in Beirut a few days previous), and the so-called Islamic State’s foundational narrative, I demonstrate that fear-mongering for political poll numbers and media ratings alike, serves not to inform the public – but to further the strategic objectives of the so-called Islamic State.”

The Olin and Muffet Sansbury Lecture Series was endowed by Dr. Olin Sansbury and the late Muffet Sansbury to address important issues in contemporary society.