Nov. 8 Discussion: Does Stereotyping the Enemy Facilitate Violence?

PULLMAN, Wash. — A panel of experts will tackle how the stereotyping of military enemies may lead to the justification of violence in the fifth installment of “An American Tragedy — A Discussion Series,” 6-8 p.m., Nov. 8, in Washington State University’s Todd Auditorium.

The open forum, “Foreign Policy: Changes in the Empire,” will include a 20-minute documentary, “Faces of the Enemy,” followed by a discussion. The documentary explores how military opponents are stereotyped and dehumanized and how that process facilitates tremendous acts of violence, said Martha Cottam, professor of political science.

A Seattle psychiatrist created the documentary. The film begins with a man who murdered a family rumored to have communist leanings because he considered himself a soldier against communism. The film then examines depictions of enemies across time, particularly the major wars of the 20th century.

“(The film) was done before the end of the cold war,” Cottam said. “It’s a particularly useful video now because we are so far away from that time. It’s easier to intellectually see the patterns that were occurring then that are also occurring now.”

Panelists will be available after the film to answer questions. They include Cottam; Rand Lewis, director of the Martin Institute at the University of Idaho; Adrian de Graffenreid, project associate of WSU International Programs; and Jan Noel, associate director of WSU International Programs. Peter Wyeth, project coordinator of WSU International Programs will moderate the discussion.

For more information, contact Herb Delaney, assistant director for Community Relations at WSU, 509/335-5711,