Start of Main Content

Susan Benesch

Edith Everett Fellow for Genocide Prevention
“Countering Dangerous Speech: New Ideas for Genocide Prevention”

September 1, 2012–August 31, 2013

Susan Benesch is a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She also teaches at American University’s School of International Service and directs the Dangerous Speech Project, which she began in 2010, to find and test methods for preventing atrocities, including genocide, by limiting the impact of inflammatory speech without curbing freedom of expression. She has worked on particular countries at risk for mass violence and focuses on online speech.

Ms. Benesch has an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from Yale Law School, and a BA from Columbia College.

Fellowship Project

Ms. Benesch’s paper, “Countering Dangerous Speech: New Ideas for Genocide Prevention” (PDF), identifies the factors that make speech “dangerous” or capable of catalyzing collective violence, and sets out approaches for countering dangerous speech. It focuses particularly on approaches that do not restrict freedom of speech and that aim to make audiences resistant to the message of dangerous speech.