The Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (CRWS) is dedicated to supporting new scholarship on the Right in the United States, Europe, Latin America and other regions of the world over the past hundred years. The Center is especially interested in supporting research that examines the diversity of right-wing movements and their respective emphasis on social and religious issues, nationalism and race, and economic doctrines.
In recent decades, new disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields of study, including women's studies and ethnic studies, have emerged in order to properly examine the issues these social movements brought to the fore. A proliferation of right-wing movements nationally and around the globe since the end of the Cold War suggests the need for academic study of the Right. To properly differentiate newer and older elements of current right-wing movements, this study must be done in historical context. This study must also distinguish past and present movements from one another, determining the key consistencies that justify identifying these groups as the collective entity of ‘the Right.' Using these methods we can better understand the future directions the Right might take.
The Center encourages and nurtures research by publishing research findings, organizing working groups for faculty and graduate students, offering mini-grants to support undergraduate and graduate student research, providing fellowships and training opportunities to Berkeley students, and planning conferences, colloquia, and other public events that bring together leading scholars to engage in comparative and interdisciplinary dialogue on right-wing ideology, politics, and organizational forms and their likely directions in the 21st century.
The Center is committed to an ethic of interdisciplinary, inter-generational, and inclusive research. Faculty join with graduate and undergraduate students to examine the theories, policies and practices of right-wing movements, and researchers draw on a wide range of scholarly perspectives and methods.
Current and Recently Completed Research Projects
"The Insurgent Right" - Chair and Lead Researcher, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
The study argues that the Conservative movement in America, which came to national power in 1980, represents more a movement of right-wing radicalism than of classical conservatism. This is not an uncommon point of view and there are many works that seek to analyze how the Conservatives came to power in America. This book attempts the same analysis, but takes a novel approach to the question. Dr. Rosenthal argues that in the twentieth century there are numerous instances when movements of the far right came to control national political parties and/or national governments in advanced Western countries. Some, not all, of those instances followed a pattern that Rosenthal calls "war-induced-reaction." Conservative power in the United States in the last third of the twentieth century, the "conservative ascendency," is a major historical example of that pattern, an instance of war-induced reaction.
"The New Nationalism and the First World War" - Editors, Lawrence Rosenthal and Vesna Rodic (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2014)
A new and aggressive nationalism, different from its predecessors in its thought, its appeal, its goals, emerged in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. This new conception of the nation emerged following the various crises of imperialism and the revolutionary rebuilding of nations that took place throughout the nineteenth century. Earlier nationalist thinking had defined the “other” outside national boundaries. Now that dialectic turned inside as well, aiming to define a collective identity by seeking an “enemy within.” Following a theoretical Introduction, the book looks at eight country specific cases, examining the new nationalism's manifestations in social and political arenas and the arts, identifying, above all, its contribution to the forces that led to World War I,and that helped to define the politics of the interwar years.
Christopher Blunda, Doctoral Candidate, History, "Historiography and German Nationalism: The Case of Salvian of Marseille"
The nation state as a political entity is predicated upon the concept of the nation as a transcendent entity, the constituent parts of which are inherently related by language and culture and thus capable of unification within the structure of the state. This conception of nationalism, known as primordialism or perennialism, has its origins in the writings of German romantics such as Herder and Fichte. Through its emphasis on a single national past, it was used to articulate the case for unification as the restoration of a preexistent community sundered by time and circumstance. The existence of a shared past was of particular importance in the German speaking lands of the nineteenth-century, where the regional variation of political forms (the Flickenteppich of the recently dissolved Holy Roman Empire), religion (Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism), and even language (the various Hochdeutsch and Plattdeutsch dialects) still largely determined individual identity and commitments. By focusing on scholarship that treats Salvian of Marseilles, a fifth-century priest from Roman Gaul and an important historical source for the migration period (Völkerwanderung) of Germanic peoples, my research will demonstrate how professional scholarship (Wissenschaft) organized its efforts to describe and, to some extent, to manufacture a shared Germanic past. It will emphasize the close connection between nationalism and historical scholarship.
Craig Johnson, Doctoral Candidate, History, "Thugs and Theology: The Latin American Right and the Second Vatican Council"
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) has an important and well acknowledged place in the history of Latin America in that it opened the door to Liberation Theology and Third Worldsim, movements and ideologies that span the gap between religion and politics and brought theologians together with Marxists, union organizers, rural guerillas, and others fighting what they considered to be worldly oppression. What has gone unacknowledged, however, is the impact of the Council on the Latin American right, those who were left behind by popular understandings of the Council as a moment of liberalization and modernization. My project investigates this new angle on both the Church in modern Latin America and the modern Latin American right - how changes in doctrine affected political theories and participation, and how emerging forms of right wing political mobilization engaged with the changing world of the post-Conciliar Catholic Church. I will accomplish this through an investigation of two political movements in Argentina and Chile, the Movimento Nacionalista Tacuara and the Sociedad Chilena de Defensa de la Tradición Familia y Propiedad, both of which emerged just before the convening of the Council and continued as political movements as its decisions reverberated through Catholicism.
Joseph Ledford, Doctoral Student, History, "The Reagan Revolution Manifested: The Iran-Contra Affair, 1981-1992"
The Iran-Contra affair engulfed the Ronald Reagan administration in a scandal. It resulted from a diversion of funds from arms-for-hostages deals with Iran to the Nicaraguan Contras whom, under the Reagan Doctrine, the United States helped rage war against the Sandinista government. It exposed the administration’s covert operations in Nicaragua and Iran, over which a right-wing private network presided. Historians have detailed the felonious diversion of funds and shown the New Right’s convergence in a vast network that facilitated operations. This scholarship, however, has not adequately addressed Iran-Contra’s significance to Reagan’s foreign policy, the role of executive power, and the New Right. Thus my project explores Iran-Contra as the Reagan Doctrine in practice, investigates the struggles over foreign policy between the executive and legislative branches that underlie the affair, and examines the New Right’s involvement. Utilizing newly available declassified documents form the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I will argue that Iran-Contra was not simply national security gone awry, but the Reagan Revolution fundamentally in action. The Reagan administration privatized foreign policy to circumvent Congress’s authority. The White House used off-the-books covert operations in Iran and Nicaragua with the assistance of a wide sector of the New Right to “roll back” communism. This project not only recasts the historiography of the Iran-Contra affair but also contributes to our understanding of the New Right’s role in American foreign relations and the role of executive power in the post-Vietnam era.
Shelly Steward, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, "The Moral Meaning of Work in an Age of Insecurity: Narratives of Commitment in the Oil and Gas Industry"
This project examines the experiences of workers in the oil and gas industry, focusing on the generation of moral meaning in the face of work insecurity and wage volatility. Through in-depth interviews with oil and gas workers in North Dakota and Houston, I look at the ways in which people come to understandings of insecurity rooted in global geopolitics, and then come to understand their engagement in precarious labor to be a means of morally responding to that insecurity. Although their job instability remains unchanged, the development of these narratives in the workplace intensifies commitment to industry in the neoliberal era, while also perpetuating particular understandings of global events and politics. The coupling of work experiences and political understandings contributes to understandings of two questions: first, why workers remain committed to jobs that are so unstable, and second, why they hold political ideals that at times run counter to their life experiences.
Emine Fidan Elcioglu, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, "Immigration Politics and the Religious Right"
How has the Religious Right’s understanding of immigration shifted from the early 1990s to the late 2000s? Once aligned in their restrictionist position toward immigration, today Focus on the Family has joined a coalition of racially diverse evangelical organizations that advocate for the reduction of immigrant deportability, while the Christian Coalition continues to support more immigration enforcement both in the nation’s interior as well as at its borders. This project will trace how and why these two major national Christian Right organizations diverged on the topic of immigration after 1996.
Laura Jakli, Doctoral Student, Political Science, "Shameful Preferences and the Far Right in Europe: The Migrant Crisis and the Legitimization of Extremist Identification"
Even as the far right has grown tremendously in recent election cycles across Europe, pollsters have continued to underestimate their performance. The American political behavior literature often cites the Bradley effect to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in elections between white and minority candidates. Although the theoretical framework surrounding this phenomenon is well developed in the American politics literature, it has untapped parallels in the study of Europe’s far right. This project uses survey-experimental research in the form of a priming experiment to determine whether there is a significant difference between subjects’ willingness to identify with the far right when such parties are primed as socially/politically legitimate versus when they are primed as socially/politically illegitimate.
Sunmin Kim, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, "Re-envisioning the Nation: The Transformation of Race in the Dillingham Commission Report (1911)"
This project draws on archival materials concerning the Dillingham Commission Report to examine how the American understanding of race was transformed through immigration in the early twentieth century. Amassing an unprecedented amount of statistical data, the nativists on the Commission attempted to envision a new racial order based on the idea of U.S. as a WASP nation. However, their attempt was met with challenges, not only from the immigrants themselves but also from the nature of the enquiry, which forced them to make compromises and concessions. By tracing this process, I show how race as an idea has mutated and evolved in unexpected ways and how the ideology of racism and nativism shaped such transformation.
Noam Shoked, Doctoral Candidate, Architecture, "At Home in the State of Uncertainty: Settlements in the West Bank, 1967 to the Present"
Since 1967, when it captured the West Bank from Jordan in the Six-Day War, Israel has overseen the construction of hundreds of settlements. Though they began as an esoteric project, mainly associated with a small group of messianic Israelis known as Block of the Faithful, today, settlements house one out of every ten Jewish citizens of Israel, and have become the central divisive political issue in Israeli politics. Instead of seeing the settlements as a mere form of settler-colonialism, this project examines them as a housing project that was developed by multiple right-wing groups and characterized by an ambiguous relation to the state.
Craig Johnson, Doctoral Student, History, "Argentine Ideologues Moving from Left to Right"
This research explores and explains the movement of ideologues from Left to Right in late 19th and early 20th century Argentina. Many scholars have shown the intellectual and ideological origins of the Argentine Right's movements and thinkers, and in so doing they have noted that some of Argentina's most influential right-wing ideologues, such as Leopoldo Lugones, began their political lives on the radical left and then turned to the right. Understanding how and why ideologues such as Lugones made this shift is vital to understanding how right-wing movements functioned.
Jeffrey Vance Martin, Doctoral Student, Geography, "Conflict and Cohabitation: Livestock Producers and Gray Wolves in Central Idaho"
Since the 1995/96 reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho, populations have increased in number and range, moving beyond protected areas into working landscapes. 20 years later, socio-political conflict over wolves has escalated, despite conservation organizations' efforts to promote strategies of coexistence with livestock. Deploying analytical tools from political ecology, this work seeks to explain seemingly non-economic opposition to wolf presence and the obstacles to cohabitation, informing broader debates over wildlife management and coexistence in the 21st century.
Liana Prescott, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, "The Development of Political Identification and Moralization among Berkeley Freshmen"
Through in-depth interviews and a longitudinal survey of a broad cross-section of students, this study examines two questions: First, how do students with different initial views--from those who are strongly liberal to those who are strongly conservative--tend to evolve in their levels of political identification and moralization over the course of an academic year? Second, what kinds of social experiences and perceptions of the social environment seem to intensify political identities and moralized political views, for those on the left, center, or right? By examining the factors that seem to differentiate between those who move toward an intensified conservative identity and those who do not, this study will increase our understanding of the development of conservative activism.
Teofilo Ballve, Doctoral Student, Geography, "Narcos, Rebels and Rural Oligarchs: The Making of Paramilitaries in Colombia"
This project seeks to illuminate the agrarian class relations in northwest Colombia that helped spawn the country's right-wing paramilitary movement. Standard scholarly and journalistic accounts claim that paramilitaries emerged in the 1980s as the product of a seamless alliance in the countryside between an old-guard landed elite and a rising class of drug traffickers. My research suggests that this class alliance between old and new elites was in fact much more fraught and complicated. Rather than gloss over the alliance as given, this project uses in-depth interviews with key local actors involved in--or with a ringside seat to--the paramilitary movement's infancy in order to understand how and why these class schisms were overcome.
Philip Rocco, Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, "Forging a Complex Republic: Political Conflict and the Statutory Origins of American Intergovernmental Relations, 1945-2012"
Conservatives have been pivotal actors in the development of the post-New Deal state. Though they have often framed their political ambitions as "shrinking" the size of government, business groups, cultural conservatives, and constitutional critics on the right have arguably had more influence on the shape of the modern activist state than prior scholarship suggests. This project uses a combination of archival research and quantitative analysis of legislation to narrate the development of conservative attempts to limit the institutional power of federal executive agencies by forcing them to collaborate with sub-national governments to make policy decisions. In doing so, it shows that conservative policy victories in the postwar period have been subterranean but highly consequential.
Hannah Waits, Doctoral Student, History, "Global Gospel, American Politics: American Evangelical Missionaries and the Transnational History of the Culture Wars"
This project examines the expansion of American global mission work and traces the ways that several of the largest missionary organizations grappled with the international and domestic political struggles of the 1960s - 1980s. In this period - as the postcolonial Global South eclipsed the U.S. as the hub of Protestant Christianity's growth and inspired new conversations about imperialism and race, and as the U.S. grappled with the rise of the New Christian Right and conflicts about the politics of sex and gender - how did these transnational religious organizations and their missionaries engage with the global and national debates of their time?
Mary Hoopes, Doctoral Student, Jurisprudence and Social Policy, "Understanding the Emergence & Diffusion of Recent Restrictive State Laws Regulating Immigration"
This project examines recent attempts by U.S. states to regulate immigration, focusing particularly on the introduction of bills similar to Arizona's SB 1070 law in more than twenty states in less than two years. These laws sought to dramatically expand the scope of state power over immigration. This project explores the factors leading to the emergence of these laws, with a particular focus on the "anti-immigrant" groups that advocated for them, and the interaction between these groups and the relevant legislative actors. It examines the ways in which these groups framed the issues, how and when these groups influenced political actors, and the normative implications of this phenomenon. In considering these questions, this project will also attempt to situate these recent laws within a broader context, exploring the ways in which these laws bear similarities to previous nativist movements in U.S. history.
Heather Melquist, Doctoral Student, Anthropology, "The 'Multisite Church Revolution' in American Evangelicalism"
An increasing number of Protestant churches today are becoming multisite. A multisite church is a single church that meets at multiple locations by recording the worship service in one sanctuary and broadcasting it to congregations of "satellite" churches. While in 1990 there were only ten multisite churches, today the number of multisite churches in American exceeds 5,000. Despite these statistics, little academic work attends to the multisite church model that is "the new normal" to American Evangelicals. Furthermore, no work has been done to understand the relationship between the religious movement and the digital technologies and organizational structures that accompany its growth. This project will explore the emerging, post-megachurch Evangelicalism, and its implications for the religious and political landscapes of the contemporary United States.
David Tamayo, Doctoral Student, History, "Voluntary Associations and the Politicization of the Mexican Middle Classes, 1940-60"
The middle classes of Mexico are generally regarded as the driving force that brought to an end the dominance of the official post-revolutionary party (the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI) in the presidential elections of 2000. This project explores the processes that led to middle classes developing political identities in the decades prior to the fall of the PRI. It does so by examining the rise and activities of apolitical voluntary associations in Mexico from 1940-1960 in two cities: Puebla and Monterrey.
Gabriel Schwartzman, Undergraduate, "From Left to Right: Stories of Political Transition in Appalachia"
Although West Virginia's governor, both senators, and a vast majority of local officials are Democrats, the state has voted for the Republican presidential candidate since 2000, breaking a nearly unbroken seventy year trend. This year only one county in the Appalachian coalfields voted for Obama, the farthest Right the coalfields have voted since Reagan in 1984. This landslide comes in the midst of rhetoric around an Obama Administration 'War on Coal,' which coal industry press releases cite as cause for recent layoffs and mine closures. This research investigate the narratives that get presented to explain the transition towards the Right. How have Appalachian people explained why they now vote with the Republican presidential candidates, and how do people explain that this shift came in concert with 'pro-coal' mobilizations? This research will use in-depth interviews and geospatial statistics to analyze the political and cultural contexts out of which these narratives have emerged in two coalfield counties that have shifted significantly towards the Right in the last 12 years, and in the only Appalachian coalfield county that has consistently voted Democrat.
Christopher Chambers-Ju, Doctoral Student, Political Science, "Odd Bedfellows: The Mexican Teachers' Union's Alliance with a Right-Wing Party"
Why did the Mexican teachers' union form an alliance with the PAN, a right-wing party? This research project will analyze the conditions under which labor unions ally with political parties that have a divergent set of policy preferences. Chambers-Ju hypothesizes that the alliance between the Mexican teachers' union and the PAN formed because the union was able and willing to ally with the PAN. The union was able to form this alliance because of the legacy of corporatism, which enabled the union to remain cohesive when shifting to the PAN. It was willing to do so because the union extracted concessions from the right-wing party in exchange for its support. Utilizing a comparative historical analysis of the union's development, this research examines the trade-offs these movements face when they link to voters and interest groups outside of their core-constituency. It explores the dilemmas both the union and the party face, namely, the union faces the risks of cooptation while the right-wing party faces the risks of interest group capture.
Angelo Matteo Caglioti, Doctoral Student, History, "Modernizing Fascism: Agricultural Sciences and Mussolini's African Empire"
This research project aims at contributing to an emerging debate over the relationship between science and Fascism. It advances the hypothesis that it is possible to shed more light on Fascism as a European right-wing movement involved in developmental modernizing programs by exploring the entanglement of life sciences and scientists with fascist totalitarian projects of colonization in colonial settings. In the colonies, which were considered living laboratories, fascist scientists could freely execute unrestrained research according to totalitarian fascist projects. Yet did the fascist regime need science or were the scientists themselves endorsing fascist programs and ideologies of social engineering? Was Fascism really opposed to modern science or is it possible to reveal forms of symbiosis between the regime and the scientific community? In order to provide new insights into these unresolved questions, this project studies three Italian institutes of agrarian research that were directly involved in the Fascist project of colonization in Libya using the methodological lenses of environmental history and history of science and technology.
Cameron McKee, Undergraduate, History and History of Art, "Visual Anxiety: Deviant Gender and Depictions of the Jewish Male During and After the Dreyfus Affair"
The strong anti-Semitism of twentieth century right-wing movements, notably the Nazi and Vichy governments, has been thoroughly considered by historians. Less prevalent in existing historiography is the widespread, systematic anti-Semitism during the Dreyfus Affair in late nineteenth century France. Emerging during the fin-de-siecle in France, the initial fervor surrounding the Dreyfus Affair in 1894 did not dissipate, but grew over the course of the decade, taking on the anxieties surrounding French military degeneration and the even wider anxiety of French masculine degeneration. Supported by contemporary periodicals, literature and images, McKee's study contextualizes the marginalized identities of Jewishness and homosexuality at the end of the nineteenth century and as they specifically related to the imagining of the Dreyfus Affair in the conservative press.
Gabriel Schwartzman, Undergraduate, Geography, "The Appalachian 'Pro-Coal' Movement"
Appalachia has had a long union history as the site of some of the first and most radical labor organizing in the United States. Until the 1980s, labor's influence over this solidly Democratic voting state was extremely strong. Over the course of the following two decades, however, not only did Appalachian electoral politics shift, but the union lost power as more mining companies became strictly anti-union. One contributing factor to this development was increased mechanized strip mining, which decreased the need for workers and made anti-union operations easier today than ever before. The destructive effects of strip-mining sparked a radical environmental justice movement, but as the environmental movement grew in Appalachia, so too did another movement. Beginning in the 2000's, a grassroots 'Pro-Coal' movement began to mobilize against environmental regulation, from local counter-protests to anti-EPA rallies in Washington. This project uses ethnography and open-ended interviews to study the factors that contributed to the emergence of the 'Pro-Coal' movement.
Agnieszka Smelkowska, Undergraduate, History, "Why Fascism Failed in Interwar Poland"
Like most European states during the interwar period, Poland developed a fascist movement led by a new generation of radicals. These young people were originally associated with the National Party, the principal right-wing political party in Poland, but were effectively purged in the mid-1930s and consequently formed their own political associations. The most important of these was Falanga. Like their ideological relatives in Nazi Germany, Polish fascists appealed to traditional anti-Semitic attitudes and could be expected to gain at least a modest degree of support among the increasingly unemployed intelligentsia and the impoverished working class. Yet Falanga failed in its quest for power. Ignored by mainstream society and ostracized by the government, Falanga disintegrated in the summer of 1939 after an embarrassing electoral performance. While there were likely many factors that explain its demise, this project will examine archival materials in Poland from the interwar period to test the hypothesis that the most important factors were the lack of experience on the part of Falanga leaders, the shift of the Polish ruling party towards the right and, ironically, the entrenched anti-Semitism of Polish society. All of these factors coincided to deprive Falanga of much ideological currency that characterized fascist movements in other countries.
Alina Polyakova, Doctoral Student, Sociology, "Right-Wing Politics and Civil Society in Post-Communist Democracies"
Studies of right-wing politics focus almost exclusively on West European countries and attempt to identify the perfect "breeding ground" for the radical right. Such approaches, however, over-generalize from the particularities of the Western experience and fail to take into account the Central and Eastern European (CEE) experience with extreme right-wing parties (ERPs). In general, ERPs have been more successful in Western Europe than in CEE. The relative failure of the right in CEE is particularly surprising given that the region exhibited a set of key preconditions for ERP success: political and economic instability, nationalist sentiments, insecure populations, legacies of authoritarianism, and weak autonomous civil societies. CEE should have been much more likely to experience a right-wing upsurge than Western Europe. This paradox is most evident in Ukraine, a country of extreme post-transition instability, where ERPs have received the lowest level of support in the region. Through a comparative study of two regions in Ukraine, I hypothesize that an ERP's ability to create and maintain effective long-lasting links with civil society organizations determines electoral success or failure. This project challenges current theories of right-wing political movements and re-conceptualizes the relationship between political parties and civic organizations.
Nazanin Shahrokni, Doctoral Student, "Gender Segregated Space: Traversing the 'Public' in Iran"
Since its establishment in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has made efforts to segregate the urban space along gender lines. On buses, women are relegated to the back; at the universities, men and women are asked to sit in separate rows; there are women-only parks and hospitals; and soccer stadiums are only open to men. These spatial practices are often lumped under the all-encompassing term "gender segregation," which is considered to be part of the state's larger project of the Islamization of society, allegedly aimed at excluding women from the public sphere. This dissertation focuses on women-only parks, soccer stadiums, buses, and universities as the major sites of segregation in Tehran, and contends that gender-segregated spaces represent different features of the Iranian state's paternalistic stance towards women (i.e., state as the provider, prohibitor, and protector); they operate differently, produce different effects, and engender different modalities of action. By taking into account the variations across these cases, this dissertation complicates the unidimensional theorization of gender segregation, and asks the following questions: What are the mechanisms that the Iranian state uses to produce gender-segregated spaces? How are gender-segregated spaces constructed, lived, and contested? What do variations across these different gender-segregated sites tell us about the logics of the Iranian state, beyond reducing the explanation to "Islamization of society"?
David Tamayo, Doctoral Student, History, "The Conservative Right in Urban Mexico"
The most well-known student movement in Mexico was comprised of left-wing students who in 1968 mounted emphatic popular protests against the post-revolutionary state. Days before the inauguration of the Summer Olympic Games to be celebrated in Mexico City, some 300 students were gunned down by federal troops ending the movement. This infamous and dramatic moment in Mexican history is usually seen as an important step toward the dismantling of the one-party system that occurred, finally, in 2000. However, there were other, more conservative student movements throughout Mexico during the same time. From 1961 onward, the streets of the capital city of the state of Puebla frequently were the stage of protests led by thousands of right-wing students and supporters; many times they clashed violently with left-wing students prompting the federal government to impose martial law. These right-wing student movements can be seen as part of a broader and ubiquitous galvanization of the right in Mexico. This study will examine the various student movements organized in the city of Puebla during the 1960s as a window to analyze the urban Mexican right's political culture. This preliminary research project will serve as a starting point for a broader examination of the conservative right in Mexico from the 1930s to 2000.
Andrina Tran, Undergraduate, History, "'Radicals for Capitalism': Ayn Rand and the Conservative Youth Movement of the 1960s"
During the turbulent 1960s, controversial novelist Ayn Rand became a forceful voice for lost and disaffected youth. Through her seemingly impenetrable philosophy of Objectivism, Rand offered a "round universe" of order, rationality, and certainty for young libertarians who felt that neither liberals nor conservatives fully addressed national issues. This project will center on an undeveloped aspect of Randian scholarship - her therapeutic, almost spiritual, role in the intellectual history of conservative American youth. More specifically, it will consider how Rand's followers attempted to propagate Objectivism within an overwhelmingly liberal campus atmosphere, while also creating their own Randian-inflected subcultures outside the walls of academia. Although contemporary social observers have tended to characterize Objectivists as cult-like in their devotion to Rand, this emphasis obscured the ways in which youth managed to reach beyond Rand's ideas by engaging in political causes which she herself did not endorse. Furthermore, the presence of these subcultures, even on campuses considered hotbeds of leftist protest, testifies to the overlooked underside of the 1960s: the mobilization of forces that would eventually power the Right-wing resurgence of the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, Rand's libertarian brand of conservatism adds greater depth to our understanding of that contested term, its somewhat paradoxical fusion of religious traditionalism and capitalism; populism and elitism; "respectably" Old Guard and radical "not-so-respectable" Right. Thus, through the lens of youth history, this project aims to illustrate the longevity of the libertarian sensibility not only within the Right-wing firmament, but also within the American psyche.
Jackie Bass, Doctoral Student, Political Science, "Word of Faith and the African American Community"
Neal Richardson, Doctoral Student, Political Science, "The Politics of Abundance: Export Agriculture and Conservative Politics in South America"
Nu-Anh Tran, Doctoral Student, History, "Contested Identities: Nationalism in the Republic of Vietnam, 1945-65"
Livier Gutierrez, Undergraduate, Sociology, "The California Minutemen Project Civil Defense Corps"
Undergraduates may participate in select research projects on issues related to right-wing movements through the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program. For more information go to http://research.berkeley.edu/urap/.