Religiously Motivated Hate Speech: An Intersectional and Linguistic Reading

Online e in presenza

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula piccola

Online e in presenza

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula piccola

FBK-ISR International Seminar 2022



It is widely acknowledged that hate speech can have negative consequences on the people and groups to whom it is directed. However, there is a need for greater awareness of the effects that these discursive practices, often conveyed and dispersed in the uncontrollable dimension of digital communication, can have. With reference to the case in which religious groups are the object of hatred, the talk discusses intersectionality as a conceptual tool to better investigate hate speech cultural and social effects. Putting into evidence that stereotypical views and de-humanising prejudices of religious groups frequently are built upon the intersection of different categories, the talk particularly addresses how, being based on such representational intersectionality, hate speech reinforces the minoritisation of specific religious groups by communicatively amplifying the social discredit accorded to them.


Speaker: BERND KORTMANN (University of Freiburg)

This talk addresses the major tool for polarized discourses, namely language, more exactly the currently most extreme, hurtful and societally downright dangerous type of language, namely hate speech in social media. The overall spirit of this talk is to showcase concepts, theories, methods and approaches which linguistics provides for detecting and classifying hate speech and related types of speech, with a special focus on religion-related hate speech. After a brief discussion of hate speech and related concepts, and a survey of fields and approaches in linguistics most relevant for the identification and analysis of hate speech, what will be presented in the main part of the talk are several recent studies on religion-related (notably, but not exclusively anti-Islamic) hate speech. One of the lessons to be learnt, however, is that there are no specific mechanisms that distinguish religion-related hate speech from hate speech, in general.


Scientific coordination
Massimo Leone, Director FBK-ISR

Cycle of seminars: “De-Polarization in Religion and Ethics


The event will be held in Italian and English

The event will be online and in-person (subject to availability)

To participate in the event, you must register by 12 noon on Wednesday, 6 July 2022.




Fresco by Schweitzer



  • Valeria Fabretti is PhD in Sociology and since 2017 she has been a researcher at the Centre for Religious Sciences of the Bruno Kessler Foundation. Here she coordinates research and action programmes concerning discrimination and social inclusion, with a particular focus on the case of religious minorities and the role of religion in plural and interconnected societies. In her studies she applies a sociological perspective with a culturalist angle to the analysis of forms of intolerance and hatred and of ways of coexisting with diversity to be applicable to the case of public institutions, education and collective space.
  • University of Freiburg
    Bernd Kortmann is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Freiburg, and since 2013 Director of the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS). He co-edits two international book series and the distinguished journal English Language and Linguistics. Bernd Kortmann holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Eastern Finland and is an elected member of the Academia Europaea.


Registration to this event is mandatory.

Registration closed on 06/07/2022.



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