Under the leadership of Vivek Venkatesh, associate professor in the Department of Education, SOMEONE brings together partners* from across North America to develop an innovative web portal to serve those involved in promoting multiculturalism, counter-violence, resilience and prevention of extremism. It provides them with a host of curricular and multimedia materials designed to make the public aware of how hate groups use the internet to spread messages of radicalization and encourage violent extremism.
The site features tips and best practices on the use of social media among children, how to combat discrimination in our everyday lives and how to recognize the triggers of hate speech.
It also houses animated content to show teachers and community leaders how to use social media to build resilience to extremist rhetoric among students, plus videos depicting public panel discussions held in Europe and North America, as well as first-hand accounts of discrimination.
Venkatesh is well-prepared to lead the multidisciplinary team.
Over the course of his research, he has monitored white supremacist blogs and forums, watching as postings spurred participants to embrace xenophobic ideologies. He’s also followed the rise of racist rhetoric on social media, cataloguing the cues that trigger hateful hashtags.
“My work in metal music studies has touched on questions of how scene members have fought against sterotypes and reframed their identities in a post-modern society. In addition, stakeholders in the extreme metal art form have successfully negotiated phenomena like maintaining authenticity in music production, the blurring of boundaries between artists and fans, and the impact of social-justice activism in the broader scene,” he says.
“The SOMEONE initiative is an ideal platform for me to explore how various scene members positively and pro-actively tackled the issue of discrimination in extreme metal music in reflective and critical ways.”