Dissertation Defense: Alexandria Marsters

Candidate Name: Alexandria Marsters

Major: Linguistics

Advisor: Natalie Schilling, Ph.D.

"Hate Speech Leads To Hateful Actions": A Corpus and Discourse Analytic Approach to Assessing Risk in Hate Speech

Inspired by recent acts of mass violence motivated by hate, this work takes a mixed-method approach, combining corpus analysis and discourse analytic methods to consider hate speech from a sociolinguistic perspective. The goals of this work are twofold. First, this research aims to leverage the linguistic body of knowledge in conjunction with insights from legal scholarship, cross-disciplinary academic work, lexicography, and non-academic perspectives collected through a two-part survey to propose a comprehensive definition of hate speech. This work employs that definition to identify two corpora of hate speech, one written by those who go on to commit violence and the other by those who do not, “Hunters” and “Howlers” respectively according to the threat assessment paradigm of Calhoun and Weston (2009; 2012). These data are used to address the research’s second goal – identifying language patterns which correlate with violent behavior by the authors of hate speech to inform future threat assessment protocols. A bottom-up and top-down corpus analysis is enriched by a discourse analytic case study which focuses on positioning and stancetaking within two texts, one Hunter and one Howler, to identify a number of linguistic forms and functions that differentiate the Hunters’ hate speech from the Howlers’.

Monday, April 1, 2019 at 11:00am to 1:00pm

Poulton Hall, 230
1421 37th St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events, Dissertation Defense


Georgetown College, Linguistics, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences



Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Erin Esch Pereira

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