John Shuford, Director, Institute for Hate Studies

Meet the Director

John Shuford

Through the Institute for Hate Studies, Gonzaga is a world leader and innovator in attempting to understand and address basic human questions: 

  • What exactly is hate, and why do people hate?
  • How and why do we turn other humans, as well as non-human life, into objects for hatred and targets for violence?
  • How is hate experienced - by those who transmit or act upon it, by those who are its targets, and by bystanders?
  • Is there anything consistent or even predictable across social problems like racism, nativism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny, and religious intolerance?
  • What can be done to prevent hate before it takes root in action, or to address it effectively once it has become operative, even routinized and systemic?
  • Is it possible to create free, democratic communities where hatred does not manifest?

These practical ethical questions have attracted me to the Institute and the international, interdisciplinary field of Hate Studies.

Defining hate and developing adequate concepts for the origins and key features of hatred has challenged the greatest minds in world history and continues to stretch contemporary experts.  As some recent scholarship puts the point, while we may lack a universal definition of hate we do have a “cornucopia of meaning” about it. 

As a working definition for the endeavor, Hate Studies inquires into the human capacity to define and dehumanize or demonize the “other”; it also inquires into processes that inform or can curtail, control or combat that capacity. 

The Institute for Hate Studies is a unique resource to produce and promote research, scholarship, education, leadership, and cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration. The Institute  shares and supports the development of new theories, models, and discoveries about hatred, including possibilities for its transformation.  The Institute's major activities include organizing and hosting the biennial International Conference on Hate Studies and publishing The Journal of Hate Studies, an international peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

In the classroom, I offer courses in Philosophy of Law, International Ethics, Social/Political Philosophy, Ethics (theory and applied), Philosophy of Human Nature, Perspectives on the Law, and the history of Western Philosophy.  Each of these subject areas has much to say toward understanding what hate is, how hatred arises and manifests, the various interpersonal and social problems hate presents, and the role of social institutions in this enormously important aspect of human affairs and the human condition.

Before coming to Gonzaga, I earned a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, both from the University of Oregon.  My background includes work in the philosophy of nonviolence and conflict resolution, and my research falls in the applied areas of ethics, legal theory, and social/political philosophy.  I strive to find and foster shared interests in future-oriented outcomes and concerns, as based in democratic and ethical principles.

My current research links critical regionalism, critical legal studies, conflict transformation, the international human rights framework, and migration policy and planning.  I have published on topics such as affirmative action, restorative justice, reparations movements, race relations, immigration reform, and regional responses to demographic shifts. 

You may find my work in the University of California-Davis Law Review, the Fordham Urban Law Journal, the Northeastern University Law Journal, the Oregon Law Review, the Oregon Review of International Law, and the Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society.  Some of my articles appear in academic anthologies and collections too.  My papers may be found on SSRN.

Recent Publications

“In the Key of Aoki:  Immigration Regionalism (eco),” 45 U.C. Davis Law Review 1655 (2012).

“'The Tale of the Tribe and the Company Town:  What We Can Learn About the Workings of Whiteness in the Pacific Northwest,” 90 University of Oregon Law Review 1274 (2012).

“Pastures of Peonage:  Tracing the Feedback Loop of Food Through IP, GMOs, Trade, Immigration, and U.S. Agromaquilas” (with Keith Aoki et al.), 4 Northeastern University Law Review 1 (2012).

“Welcome to Amerizona – Immigrants Out!:  Assessing 'Dystopian Dreams' and 'Usable Futures' of Immigration Reform, and Considering Whether 'Immigration Regionalism' is an Idea Whose Time has Come,” (with Keith Aoki) 38 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1 (2010); reprinted 31 Immigration and Nationality Law Review 1 (2010).

“(In)Visible Cities:  Three Local Government Models and Immigration Regulation” (with Keith Aoki et al.), 10 Oregon Review of International Law 453 (2008).

“Four Du Boisian Contributions to Critical Race Theory,” 37 Transactions of the C.S. Peirce Society 301 (2001); reprinted in Du Bois: A Critical Reader, ed. Reiland Rebaka (Ashgate, 2010).

Interviews, Commentary, and Quotes

Samuel G. Freedman, If the Sikh Temple Had Been a Mosque, The New York Times, August 10, 2012.

Kay Whitlock, Reconsidering Hate:  Policy and Politics at the Intersection, Public Eye, June 2012.

Doug Williams, How Long Should Fans Stew Over Lost Teams?,, June 21, 2012.

Luke Baumgartner, Shock Waves, The Inlander, September 14, 2011.

Maggie Ma, Is the Time Right for a Field of Hate Studies?University Affairs, August 17, 2011.