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UK Political Science Professor Wins
$200,000 Grawemeyer Award

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of Stuart Kaufman
UK political science Associate Professor Stuart Kaufman with his prize-winning book

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To win the award for Improving World Order, nominees must have had their ideas published. Kaufman's prize-winning work was published by Ithaca: Cornell University Press in 2001. The book is titled "Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War." In the book, Kaufman, a UK associate professor since 1997, contends that ethnic war occurs as a result of symbolic politics, in which ethnic leaders or activists use emotional ethnic symbols to promote hostility toward other groups and pursue ethnic domination.

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To read the Courier-Journal's story, click here.

To read the Lexington Herald-Leader's story, click here.

Lexington, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2002) -- University of Kentucky political science Associate Professor Stuart Kaufman has been named the 2002 recipient of the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award For Ideas Improving World Order.

Kaufman is the first UK professor who has won one of the prestigious Grawemeyer Awards, which pay the winners a total prize of $200,000 in five annual installments.

In addition to the Improving World Order Award, Grawemeyers are presented in four other categories: education, music composition, psychology and religion. The 2002 awards were announced today in Louisville.

The awards, some of which have been given since 1985, are named for H. Charles Grawemeyer, an industrialist, entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist who graduated from U of L in 1934 with a chemical engineering degree. Award winners are selected by committees with final approval granted by the U of L Board of Trustees.

Grawemeyer Awards For Ideas Improving World Order have been given in most years since 1988. Among the winners was Mikhail Gorbachev in 1994 for a 1988 speech he made at the United Nations.

To win the award for Improving World Order, nominees must have had their ideas published. Kaufman's prize-winning work was published by Ithaca: Cornell University Press in 2001. The book is titled "Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War."

In the book, Kaufman, a UK associate professor since 1997, contends that ethnic war occurs as a result of symbolic politics, in which ethnic leaders or activists use emotional ethnic symbols to promote hostility toward other groups and pursue ethnic domination.

To resolve ethnic conflicts, Kaufman contends there is a need for grassroots peace-building aimed at changing hostile attitudes.

"Ethnic myths or stereotypes foster ethnic conflict," Kaufman said. As an example, he said, Armenians rewrote their whole history to show that the Turks had been slaughtering Armenians for thousands of years. "It was just not true," Kaufman said.

The principal idea in his book, Kaufman said, is that "just getting the leaders to talk to each other doesn't solve the problems." He cited as an example the continuing animosities in the Middle East despite the leadership meetings of Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin during the Carter Administration and the talks between Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin during the Clinton Administration.

"You have to get the people together to get past the propaganda," Kaufman noted. Most ethnic groups, he said, get along reasonably well. "It is the exception to the rule when ethnic conflicts turn into war."

Kaufman was born in New York City and grew up in Tappan, N.Y., in Rockland County. He graduated from Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Mass. He has a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard University and a master's and doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan.

Kaufman came to UK in 1990 as a visiting professor. He was an assistant professor from 1991 through 1997. In addition to his teaching duties, he is director of graduate studies in political science.

The classes he teaches include "World Politics," "Comparative Foreign Policy," and "American Foreign Policy Toward Terrorism." He also is a faculty associate in the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.

"I'm really excited to be receiving such recognition. But the truth is, I also feel humbled: the real credit goes to people like John Paul Lederach, Harold Saunders, John Wallach, and Herb Kelman, who have developed ways of promoting peace that really make a difference," Kaufman said. "I think they are heroes; all I did was to point out the value of what they are doing."

Asked what he would do with the prize money, Kaufman said, "I'll save a big chunk of it for my son's college funds, and my wife and I are considering some travel. I also plan to donate some of it to organizations that are working to promote peace in the Middle East and Latin America, especially the ones that Lederach, Saunders and Wallach have been associated with."


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