The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 generated a feeling of collective fear and vulnerability among Americans. This fear has been harvested for increased civilian vigilance, but also to manufacture support for public initiatives that curb civil liberties, raise suspicion of Arab-Americans and often have little to do with combating terrorism. Does this kind of fear make citizens more active and engaged or more intimidated and obedient? What steps can we take to reduce fear or channel it into positive action?
With support from the Russell Sage Foundation, Arien Mack of New School University has organized a conference entitled Fear: Its Political Uses and Abuses, which will convene at the New School University on February 5-7, 2004. Experts in political theory, psychology, and neuroscience will gather to discuss research and case studies on fear, as well as the vocabulary and political effects of fear. Particular emphasis will be placed on the politics of fear, especially the impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.