About the Event: In this talk, Professor Shirin Sinnar will unpack the historical roots and contemporary implications of framing racist political violence as “hate crimes” or “terrorism.” She will explain how the “hate crimes” and “terrorism” frames took hold in our politics, law, and culture, and how they supply two starkly different ways of conceptualizing and responding to white supremacist violence. She argues that the current move to reframe white supremacist violence as terrorism comes with grave risks, and that ultimately, neither frame is consistent with aspirations for racial justice. The response to white supremacist violence should begin with a critical reexamination of both frames. This talk is based on Professor Sinnar’s forthcoming article in the California Law Review.
This event is part of the year-long initiative on “Ethics & Political Violence” jointly organized by the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society. This event is hosted by CISAC and is co-sponsored by McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society.
About the Speaker: Shirin Sinnar joined the Stanford Law faculty in 2012. Her scholarship focuses on the legal treatment of political violence, the procedural dimensions of civil rights litigation, and the role of institutions in protecting individual rights and democratic values in the national security context. In 2017, she was the co-recipient of the inaugural Mike Lewis Prize for National Security Law Scholarship for her article, The Lost Story of Iqbal. In March 2021, she testified on anti-Asian hate violence before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. Prior to her appointment at Stanford, Sinnar worked as a civil rights attorney for the Asian Law Caucus and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren Ferguson of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.