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Fall 2021

"Germany's 9/11?" Neo-Nazis and Right-Wing Terrorism in Germany and Their Links to US Actors

Wednesday, September 15 | 4 - 5:30pm PT

Tanjev Schultz, Professor of Journalism, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, and Visiting Scholar, ISSI's Center for Right Wing Studies



In 2011, a right-wing terrorist cell named "NSU" was discovered in Germany. The NSU –"National Socialist Underground" – killed ten people and committed several other crimes. For more than 13 years, three neo-Nazi terrorists had been able to live undetected acting under false identity. All these years the police and intelligence forces did not stop them. Germany’s Chief Federal Prosecutor has called this "Germany’s 9/11". This may be seen as an exaggeration, nevertheless this judgement shows the importance of the NSU case. Tanjev Schultz puts it into a broader context of developments of the far right, including German Ku Klux Klan groups and ties between neo-Nazis and far right movements in Germany and the US.

Sponsored by: ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies

Co-sponsored by: Institute of European Studies

Meet the Author: Neo-Nationalism and Universities

Tuesday, September 14 | 10 - 11am PT

John A. Douglass, Center for Studies in Higher Education



Universities have long been at the forefront of both national development and global integration. But the political and policy world in which they operate is undergoing a transition, one that is reflective of a significant change in domestic politics and international relations: a populist turn inward among a key group of nation-states often led by demagogues that include China and Hong Kong, Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the Trump era in the United States. In many parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for populists and autocrats to further consolidate their power. Within right-wing political ecosystems, universities, in effect, offer the proverbial canary in the coal mine—a window into the extent of civil liberties and the political environment and trajectory of nation-states.

In Neo-Nationalism and Universities: Populists, Autocrats, and the Future of Higher Education, John Aubrey Douglass provides the first significant examination of the rise of neo-nationalism and its impact on the missions, activities, behaviors, and productivity of leading national universities. Douglass presents a major comparative exploration of the role of national politics and norms in shaping the role of universities in nation-states—and vice versa. He also explores when universities are societal leaders or followers: When they are agents of social and economic change, or simply agents reinforcing and supporting an existing social and political order.

In a series of case studies that include China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Germany, the UK and the US, Douglass and chapter contributors examine troubling trends that threaten the societal role of universities, including attacks on civil liberties and free speech, despairing the validity of science, the firing and jailing of academics, and anti-immigrant rhetoric and restrictions on visas with consequences for the mobility of academic talent. Neo-Nationalism and Universities is written for a broad public readership interested and concerned about the rise of nationalist movements, illiberal democracies, and autocratic leaders.

With Contributing Chapters by José Augusto Guilhon Albuquerque and Elizabeth Balbachevsky, Thomas Brunotte and Wilhelm Krull, Igor Chirikov and Igor Fedyukin, Karin Fischer, Brendan O'Malley, Bryan E. Penprase, and Marijk van der Wende.

Sponsored by: Center for Studies in Higher Education

Co-sponsored by: ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies, University World News

Spring 2021

2021 Joint Conference on Right-Wing Studies and Research on Male Supremacism

Monday-Friday, May 10-14

The 3rd annual Conference on Right-Wing Studies, was held jointly with the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and the Conference for Research on Male Supremacism. This virtual conference brought together researchers focused on the right-wing and male supremacism for five days of panels, networking events, training sessions, and keynote speakers.

For more information, click here.

Videos of the two keynote panels are available:

Anti-Trans Ideology in Male Supremacism

Emily Carian, JE Sumerau, Laurel Westbrook, Heron Greenesmith, and Blu Buchanan 



Attacks on Critical Race Theory and Decolonizing Education: Maintaining Institutional Racism in the US and Europe 

Rokhaya Diallo, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Adrienne Davis, Kwame Nimako, and Stephen Small



Thursday, March 18 | 4 - 6 pm PT

"Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism"

Megan Kelly, PhD Student, Center for Gender Studies, University of Basel
Alex DiBranco, Executive Director, Institute for Research on Male Supremacism
Julia R. DeCook, Assistant Professor, School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago
Sian Tomkinson, PhD, Gender and Games, University of Western Australia
Tauel Harper, Lecturer, Media and Communication, UWA



"Misogynist Incels and Male Supremacism," published in collaboration with New America, assesses misogynist incel ideology, critiques common and potentially harmful misconceptions, and offers recommendations to more effectively address male supremacist violence.

On Thursday, March 18th at 4pmPT/7pm ET, report co-authors Megan Kelly, Alex DiBranco, and Julia DeCook spoke on a panel with experts Sian Tomkinson and Tauel Harper, authors of "Confronting Incel: exploring possible policy responses to misogynistic violent extremism."

Co-sponsored by: the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies

Friday, March 12 | 12- 1pm PT 

Trumpism and its Discontents

Moderated by: Osagie K. Obasogie, Professor of Bioethics in the School of Public Health 


Ann C. Keller, Associate Professor, School of Public Health

Zeus Leonardo, Professor, Graduate School of Education

john a. powell, Director, Othering and Belonging Institute



A moderated panel discussion with influential UC Berkeley scholars offering a deep and crucial examination of the political conditions that led to the rise of Donald Trump and the consequences of his presidency on US society and the world.

This timely event follows the recent publication of a new book by the same name, available for download as a PDF (Trumpism and its Discontents book website). Book chapters examine Trumpism in the context of various issues, including speech and race relations, politics of resentment, foreign policy and the existing world order, demographic shifts, and immigration policy.

Sponsored by the Othering & Belonging Institute, ISSI's Center for Right-Wing Studies, the Center for Race and Gender, and the Institute of Governmental Studies

Fall 2020

Thursday, November 19th, 2020 | 12-1:30pm PT
Lawrence Rosenthal, Chair, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, and author of Empire of Resentment
Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Education & Sociology, American University
Corey D. Fields, Associate Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
In this virtual discussion on the new book Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism (New Press, 2020), a panel of leading scholars of the right engages with the book and the nature of contemporary populism and nationalism is the U.S. and Europe.

Sponsored by Center for Right-Wing Studies

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020   | 12:00pm PST 
Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley
Carole Joffe, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UC San Francisco
Jill E. Adams, Executive Director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
The legal right to abortion is under threat, despite the recent Supreme Court decision in June Medical Services v Russo, a decision that protected the rights of women in Louisiana to get abortions without an undue burden. The right wing has successfully eroded reproductive rights through a number of tactics, including framing abortion as “Black genocide,” yet people continue to have abortions, within, despite, and beyond legal limits. Khiara M. Bridges, co-author of the reproductive justice law professors' amicus brief in June Medical Services v. Russo, examines race, class, reproductive rights, and the intersection of the three. Carole Joffe, co-author of Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America, draws on interviews with patients, abortion providers, and clinical staff to reveal the compound indignities, inconveniences, and impossibilities posed by the patchwork of restrictions on provision and coverage. She also discusses the determination and dedication of those both seeking and working to provide legal abortions. Jill E. Adams, Executive Director of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, focuses on how people are choosing and resorting to self-directed and community-directed care to circumnavigate the structural inequities in healthcare access yet still having to contend with the systemic racism of the criminal legal system.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
Co-sponsored by Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice; Center for the Study of Law and Society; Berkeley Law's chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice


Tuesday, August 4th, 2020   | 1:00pm PST 
Revealing White Supremacy, Dr. Crystal Fleming, Keynote, Joint Conference for Research on Male Supremacism/Conference on Right Wing Studies
Dr. Crystal Fleming, Professor of Sociology, Stony Brook University
Dr. Crystal Fleming giving keynote talk on "Revealing White Supremacy" August 4th, 2020 for the joint Conference for Research on Male Supremacism/Conference on Right-Wing Studies. 

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (part of ISSI) and Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, co-sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Thursday, August 6th, 2020   | 12:10pm PST 
Dr. Terri Givens, CEO and Founder of the Center for Higher Education Leadership
Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal, Chair of the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies
Dr. Terri Givens and Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal discuss present-day white and male supremacist mobilization and discourses on the far-right in the United States and Europe, from the Boogaloo Bois and anti-lockdown protests to misogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism on college campuses. The event is moderated by Alex DiBranco, Executive Director of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

Sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (part of ISSI) and Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

Spring 2020

Thursday, April 23, 2020  | 11:00am PST 
From spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories about the World Health Organization, to refusals to respect stay-at-home orders, to amping up online harassment while people are spending more time in the virtual world, the global right-wing has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in alarming ways. This panel discussion on the state of right-wing and male supremacist responses to COVID-19 with presentations from IRMS experts Julia DeCook and Chelsea Ebin and remarks from CRWS chair Larry Rosenthal is now available for viewing

Sponsored by the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism
Co-sponsored by Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Spring 2019

Friday, February 1 I 12:00-1:30pm

The Devil Really is in the Details: Understanding the Global Radical Right

Brian Porter-Szucs, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of History, University of Michigan



There are obvious similarities between Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, Recep Erdoğan, Jair Bolsonaro, Jarosław Kaczyński, Rodrigo Duterte, Donald Trump, and all the other politicians we have come to call ‘populists.’  Not only is that label misleading, but analyzing them as part of a single ideological movement can lead to confusion. This presentation will use the example of Poland to illustrate the necessity of local expertise in understanding seemingly global trends.

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies and the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Thursday, April 11 I 4-5:30pm

Center for Ethnographic Research Colloquia Series:

How to Do Ethnography When You Dislike Your Research Subjects? Fieldwork Within Right-Wing Groups in Italy

Martina Avanza, Senior Lecturer, Political Sociology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland



Ethnography does not seem to be suited for situations in which the ethnographer dislikes the group she or he studies. Some fieldworkers even think that ethnography without empathy is almost impossible to achieve. That is why scholars tend to do ethnography of left-wing or subaltern group mobilizations and to study the right from a distance, with an etic perspective.

Building on my experience as an ethnographer working on right-wing groups in Italy (the Lega Nord party and the “pro-life” movement), I will talk about the challenges of this kind of fieldwork and also about possible contributions not only to the field of right-wing studies, but also to the ethnographic literature. In particular, I will address issues of ethics and reflexivity that are particularly acute in this kind of fieldwork.

Co-sponsored by: Center for Right Wing Studies

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 18 I 4 -5:30pm

Center for Right Wing Studies Colloquia series:

The Extreme Gone Mainstream

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Education and Sociology; Director, International Training and Education Program, American University



Miller-Idriss explores how extremist ideologies have entered mainstream German culture through commercialized products and clothing laced with extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalist coded symbols and references. Drawing on a unique digital archive of thousands of historical and contemporary images, as well as scores of interviews with young people and their teachers in two German vocational schools with histories of extremist youth presence, Miller-Idriss shows how this commercialization is part of a radical transformation happening today in German far right youth subculture. She describes how these youths have gravitated away from the singular, hard-edged skinhead style in favor of sophisticated and fashionable commercial brands that deploy coded extremist symbols. Virtually indistinguishable in style from other clothing popular with youth, the new brands desensitize far right consumers to extremist ideas and dehumanize victims.

Co-sponsored by: Center for German and European Studies

Wildavsky Conference Room, 2538 Channing Way

Thursday, April 25 | 4:00-6:00 pm 

Inaugural Conference on Right-Wing Studies Keynote Panel



Sponsored by: Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

A keynote panel of experts weigh in on the current state of the far right in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, opening the conference. 

The Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies is pleased to present the Inaugural Conference on Right-Wing Studies. This interdisciplinary conference will feature dozens of new and established scholars from around the world whose work deals with the Right as a social, political, and/or intellectual phenomenon from the 19th century to the present day. Participants will have the rare opportunity to join an expanding network of scholars who focus on right-wing studies, facilitating the development of this interdisciplinary field and future collaborations that emerge from these connections.

Co-sponsored by: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Department of History, Department of Sociology, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Institute of European Studies, Center for Latin American Studies, Scholars Strategy Network, Southern Poverty Law Center,  Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Townsend Center for the Humanities. 

More information is available on the conference website.

Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley

Spring 2018

Thursday, March 15 I 4:00-5:30pm

Is the Alt-Right Collapsing?​

George Hawley, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Alabama



In 2015 and 2016, the so-called Alt-Right – the latest iteration of the American white nationalist movement – experienced exponential growth. In 2017, it made headlines across the globe. Some feared it represented a serious threat to racial progress and even American democracy. However, the Alt-Right has also faced extraordinary setbacks, and it is not clear that it will even continue existing as a meaningful political or cultural force.  In this talk, Professor Hawley will reflect on the past, present and future of the Alt-Right in American politics.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Sponsor: Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies, UC Berkeley

Fall 2017

Thursday, November 9 | 4:00-5:30pm 

CRWS Colloquia Series:

The Views of Populists: What Trump Voters’ Perspectives and Perceptions of Trump Voters Tell Us About U.S. Democracy

Katherine Cramer, Professor, Department of Political Science, and Director, Morgridge Center for Public Service, University of Madison-Wisconsin

with Arlie Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology, UC Berkeley, as respondent

The current populist moment in U.S. democracy is an opportunity to think deeply about the flaws in our democracy, even though it is more commonly used as an opportunity to consider flaws among populist voters. Extending from the idea that populism is a political discourse that pits people versus the government, Cramer examines conceptions of the role of “the people” in democracy by looking in close at the way people view the civic competence of their political opponents. She draws on a decade of observations of conversations of people who eventually supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election in communities across Wisconsin, as well as analysis of correspondence from people reacting to their views. Her findings speak to the nature of contemporary American democratic identity, and suggest a significant barrier to improving the health of democracy is an inconsistent view of the agency of the people.

Warren Room (295 Boalt Hall), Berkeley Law

Co-sponsored by Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, UC Berkeley,  The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley

Thursday, October 19 |  4:00-5:30pm

Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies presents: 

Respectable Radicals and The Euro-Nationalist International: Explaining Right-Wing Populist Alliances in the European Parliament

Duncan McDonnell, Senior Lecturer, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Why are right-wing populists in the European Parliament divided between three different groups? Using party position data and interviews with key figures from 11 parties, this presentation discusses how right-wing populists now adopt two main international alliance strategies: “respectable radicals” like the Danish People’s Party and the Sweden Democrats preference the domestic legitimacy gained through European-level partnerships with more moderate parties over ideological coherence. By contrast, parties like the French National Front and the Italian Northern League proudly ally with similarly radical parties as part of a long-term move towards what we refer to as the “Euro-Nationalist International.” 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Institute of Europen Studies , UC Berkeley, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Spring 2017

Friday, April 21 I 9:00am-3:30pm

Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies Symposium:

Anxious Democracy: The First Hundred Days of The Trump Presidency

This conference focuses on the first hundred days of the presidency of Donald Trump from perspectives including legal, historical, sociological, and policy analysis. Our aim is to begin academic conversations and develop analyses of how the Trump administration and the movement and ideology it represents relate to social, economic and political transformations in the United States and around the world. Scholars from UC Berkeley and other Bay Area academic institutions will speak on implications and effects of the administration's foreign and domestic policies, as well as the legal questions surrounding its agenda.

This symposium is free and open to the public.

Blanche DuBois Room (D37), Hearst Field Annex, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by the History Department, the Institute of Governmental Studies, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Graduate School of Journalism, and the Haas Institute for a Fair & Inclusive Society, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, March 14  I 4:30-6:00pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

The Present Political Divide: What To Do Now

George Lakoff, Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society and Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, UC Berkeley

How does Trump think, how does he control public discourse, and why does he have the appeal that he has? What do the Democrats fail to understand about Trump and his followers? And what can those in the American majority that oppose Trump do now, and what should the majority and the media not do that would only help Trump?

Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Linguistics Department and Berkeley Center for Neural Mind & Society, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, March 1 I 4:00-5:30pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

Oh, God! The Religious Right to Sexual Pleasure on Christian Sexuality Websites

Kelsy Burke, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

This talk examines how some conservative evangelical Christians justify a wide range of sexual practices and pleasures within the confines of religious orthodoxy and heterosexuality. Based on her 2016 book, Christians under Covers: Evangelicals and Sexual Pleasure on the Internet, Burke shows how online dialogue on Christian message boards and blogs both reinforces and reimagines religious rules about gender, marriage, and what counts as sexually normal and good.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley

Thursday, February 2 | 4:00-5:30 pm

Center for Right-Wing Studies Colloquia Series:

The Master Plan: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for Final Victory   

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow in the International Studies Program at New America

This talk will offer an incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020. Drawing on large troves of recently declassified documents captured from the Islamic State and its predecessors, counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman tells the story of this organization's complex and largely hidden past--and what the master plan suggests about its future. Fishman argues that only by understanding the Islamic State's full history--and the strategy that drove it--can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Institute of European Studies

Fall 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Reflections on the 2016 Election and The Republican Party under President Trump (broadcast on C-SPAN)

Carole Joffe, Professor, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, UCSF; Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology, UC Davis

Paul Pierson, Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Lawrence Rosenthal, Chair, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Moderated by Kim Voss, Professor of Sociology, UC Berkeley

This panel will reflect on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its implications for the Right in the United States. Dr. Rosenthal will address the emergence and significance of the Donald Trump phenomenon, focusing on Trump's exploitation of rifts among factions of the Republican Party that assumed unprecedented levels in 2016.  Professor Joffe will discuss the role that traditional electoral priorities of the Right, particularly abortion and marriage equality, played in the outcome of the election. Professor Pierson will discuss what the outcome of the election means for the future of the Republican Party and the American Right. 

Social Science Matrix Conference Room, 8th floor, 820 Barrows Hall

Co-sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network, Department of Sociology, and the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans

Corey Fields, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Stanford University

What is it like to be black in the highly racialized context of the Republican Party? Black Elephants in the Room considers the role of race in the political experiences of African American Republicans and discusses the dynamic relationship between race and political behavior in the purported “post-racial” context of U.S. politics. Drawing on vivid first-person accounts, this talk will shed light on the different ways black identity structures African Americans’ membership in the Republican Party. Moving past rhetoric and politics, we begin to see everyday people working to reconcile their commitment to black identity with their belief in Republican principles. And in the end, we see that the identity politics of African American Republicans is shaped by the meanings they attach to race and the political contexts in which those meanings are developed and expressed.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Political Passion and the Gun Debate: How a Small Minority Came to Dominate Gus Safety in the US

Firmin DeBrabander, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Maryland Institute College of Art

Twenty-first century America is undergoing a radical experiment in gun rights. The number of privately-owned guns, and expansive gun laws, has ballooned in recent years. Most Americans favor stronger gun control restrictions, but the NRA’s radical agenda remains largely uncontested. Why is this? Why isn’t our gun violence epidemic, unparalleled in the developed world, sufficiently alarming to American voters, to stand up against the loud and angry gun rights minority? This presentation will examine the reasons behind the success of a small, but passionate minority able to dominate debate over gun safety in the US.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology

Spring 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Nostalgia and conspiracy theories in right wing ideologies – The case of New Dawn in Greece and the risks for Europe"

Yiannis Gabriel, Chair in Organizational Studies, University of Bath, School of Management

The presentation will examine conspiracy theories and nostalgia as parts of the unfolding European drama, focusing on developments in Greece. Conspiracy theories represent a quest for scapegoats, sometimes in the form of ‘parasites’, people or groups who take and give nothing back. Nostalgia, for its part, exacerbates a desire for the return of a mythical past, free of parasites and undesirables. Both conspiracy theories and nostalgia play a central part in the ideology of the New Dawn against Greece’s financial, social and existential crisis. The talk will develop the argument that the rise of conspiracy theories and xenophobic nostalgia can be viewed as warning signs of miasma, a highly contagious state of material, psychological and spiritual pollution that descends plague-like, and afflicts entire communities, organizations or nations. Miasma dissolves love bonds and leaves a community dominated by fear, guilt, hate, despair and lies. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of European Studies

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"The Koch Effect: The Impact of a Cadre-Led Network on American Politics

Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University 

In Washington, DC and the states, Republicans push unpopular policies - and sometimes also oppose legislation favored by prominent business groups. Why is that? New research highlights resource shifts on the U.S. right and the growing influence of the Koch network, a coordinated set of big donors, lobbying groups, and constituency organizations that now rivals America's political parties. At this talk, Professor Skocpol will present early results from a collaborative study of "The Shifting U.S. Political Terrain" under way at Harvard University and grassroots mobilizations orchestrated by the Koch Network. 

Room 60, Evans Hall

Co-sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network and Department of Sociology

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"The Rise of Far-Right Nationalism and the Russia Angle: Implications for International Security and Foreign Policy"

Alina Polyakova, Deputy Director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council 

Far-right nationalist parties are on the rise in Western and Eastern Europe. Buttressed by the financial crisis of 2008, the ongoing migration crisis, and the threat of terrorist attacks, previously fringe political parties resonate with growing numbers of Europeans who are disenchanted with the European project. Many European far-right parties are also supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. While far-right parties are not new to Europe, Russia's financial and ideological support for such parties, is. The reemergence of nationalism, as evidenced by the rise of the European far right, and the Kremlin's use of far-right groups as a tool of political influence presents short- and long-term foreign policy challenges. My book, The Dark Side of European Integration, based on dissertation research at UC Berkeley, argued that the success of far-right parties across Europe is, in part, a cultural backlash against rapid European economic and political integration. In this lecture, I will focus on how recent geo-political events have helped euroskeptic far-right parties such as the National Front and Jobbik while solidifying the relationship between such parties and Putin's Russia. While the rise of the European far right has not been a top priority for US foreign policy, these political parties, and their ties to Russia, present a growing challenge to the transatlantic partnership. 

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by the Institute of European Studies and the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"2015: A Transformative Year in Far Right Politics?"

Cas Mudde, Associate Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia

Although 2015 did not have a central focal point, like the European elections in 2014, the alleged rise of far right and populist politics was again among the main political debates in most western democracies. Every major event in European politics was linked to a possible surge in the support of far right parties and politicians, from the terrorist attacks in France at the beginning and end of the year to the Eurozone crisis and refugee crisis in between. Politicians like Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orban, and Donald Trump dominated the news with crass nativist, authoritarian, and populist statements. Commentators argued that the far right had moved to the mainstream, while some critics alleged that the mainstream had moved to the far right. Whatever the exact direction of the movement, it is clear that distinctions between traditional far right politicians and mainstream politicians are more and more difficult to make, which calls for a reflection on both terminology and classification. In this lecture I will focus on the main developments in far right politics of the past year and assess whether 2015 was merely a freak year or constitutes a transformative year for the far right. I will discuss the fate of the usual suspects, i.e. the far right parties in Europe (e.g FN), as well as some new unusual suspects, i.e. far right politicians in the political mainstream parties (e.g. Orban and Trump), and argue that the mainstreaming of far right politics has made the distinction between far right and mainstream parties less clear and less relevant.

Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI, UC Berkeley, 2538 Channing Way

Co-sponsored by Center for Research on Social Change and Institute of European Studies

Fall 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015  

The Art of Recruitment: How the 'Islamic State' Trains its Community Organizers

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow, New America Foundation and Research Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point

In early 2009 a new document appeared on jihadi web forums. It was designed to empower a small group of very radical, and very dedicated, people to take over the world. This document, titled “A Course in the Art of Recruitment,” aimed to resolve a deep tension in the global jihadi movement: the Internet was the connective tissue holding together radicalized jihadis from across the globe, but recruiters still found that an on-the-ground, personal touch was necessary to mobilize would-be recruits. The 51-page document, attributed to pseudonymous Abu 'Amr al-Qa'idi, aimed to resolve that conundrum not by directly recruiting individuals to al-Qa'ida's cause, but rather by empowering already radicalized, but inadequately trained, individuals to more effectively select, recruit, and organize on their own.

Abu `Amr’s handbook prescribes a highly structured recruitment process with multiple stages and clear, simple metrics to assess a recruit’s suitability and progress—essentially, the bureaucratization of decentralized jihadist recruitment. Abu `Amr argues that structuring recruitment and providing simple quantitative assessment tools will allow recruiters with less education and knowledge of Shari`a to recruit safely and effectively.

Abu 'Amr's methods have gained new currency as social media has enabled jihadis recruiters, often in Syria or Iraq, to apply an individualized touch to the recruitment process from thousands of miles away. But the concepts these digital recruiters utilize are not new, they are not ill-defined, and, for many, they are not always intuitive. Abu 'Amr's acolytes, for example, will explicitly avoid recruiting devout Muslims out of fear that they will understand the particulars of Islamic doctrine better than the recruiters themselves. Regardless, Abu 'Amr's manual provides insight into the movement that has become the 'Islamic State' and offers a glimpse into how a wide-range of radical movements, not just jihadis, are likely to organize in the future.  

Co-sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Institute of European Studies

Spring 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution"

Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Assistant Professor of Politics, Pomona College 

Fred Smith, Assistant Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law, as respondent 

There are few intellectual movements in modern American political history more successful than the Federalist Society. Created in 1982 to counterbalance what its founders considered a liberal legal establishment, the organization gradually evolved into the conservative legal establishment, and membership is all but required for any conservative lawyer who hopes to enter politics or the judiciary. It claims 40,000 members, including four Supreme Court Justices, dozens of federal judges, and every Republican attorney general since its inception. But its power goes even deeper.

In Ideas with Consequences, Amanda Hollis-Brusky provides the first comprehensive account of how the Federalist Society exerts its influence. Drawing from a huge trove of documents, transcripts, and interviews, she explains how the Federalist Society managed to revolutionize the jurisprudence for a wide variety of important legal issues. Many of these issues-including the extent of federal government power, the scope of the right to bear arms, and the parameters of corporate political speech-had long been considered settled. But the Federalist Society was able to upend the existing conventional wisdom, promoting constitutional theories that had previously been dismissed as ludicrously radical. As Hollis-Brusky shows, the Federalist Society provided several of the crucial ingredients needed to accomplish this constitutional revolution. It serves as a credentialing institution for conservative lawyers and judges and legitimizes novel interpretations of the constitution that employ a conservative framework. It also provides a judicial audience of like-minded peers, which prevents the well-documented phenomenon of conservative judges turning moderate after years on the bench. As a consequence, it is able to exercise enormous influence on important cases at every level.

Fall 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Hungary's Conservative Revolution: Sui Generis or Future Pattern?"

Jason Wittenberg, Associate Professor, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley

Since the landslide victory of Fidesz in the 2010 Hungarian national parliamentary election, Hungary has undergone nothing short of a conservative revolution. With its parliamentary supermajority, Fidesz can rule without regard for opposition views, and has used that power with vigor. Since taking power Fidesz has drafted and passed a new conservative constitution, weakened the separation of powers, restricted freedom of speech, squeezed its socialist and liberal rivals out of positions of influence, and gerrymandered the electoral system in its favor. My comments will examine the roots of these changes and whether they are harbingers of future developments in post-communist Eastern Europe.

Fall 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"My People, My People: How Competing Ideas about 'Black People' Shape African-American Republicans' Political Behavior"

Corey Fields, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Stanford University

Laura Stoker, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, as respondent

This research explores how race animates the politics of African-American Republicans. I depart from existing approaches that treat race as an axis of identity. Instead, I argue for the necessity of treating race as a set of ideas about black people. Interviews and ethnographic observations reveal that strong expressions of racial identity are common among African-American Republicans. However, there are very different ideas about who constitutes the group being identified with. Divergent ideas about black people divide African-American Republicans. These ideas impact 3 aspects of their political behavior: (1) interpretation of conservative social policy, (2) their ability to organize themselves, and (3) their capacity to build alliances with white Republicans. To fully understand black political behavior, analysts must move from only considering race as a marker of identity for black people, to also thinking about race as a set of ideas black people have about black people. 

Fall 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Populism and the Tea Party in American Politics"

Bill Whalen, Resident Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Lawrence Rosenthal, Executive Director and Lead Researcher, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies

Henry E. Brady, Dean Goldman School of Public Policy

Moderated by:

Christine Trost, Program Director, Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies; Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Spring 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right"

Jennifer Burns, Assistant Professor of History, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

Professor Burns will speak about her recently published book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford University Press, 2009), an intellectual biography of the controversial novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand. Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days. Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Professor Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought. 

Fall 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fractures, Alliances and Mobilizations in the Age of Obama: Emerging Analyses of the "Tea Party Movement"

This conference will bring together leading scholars, along with several journalists and political commentators, to discuss and debate the emergence and implications of the "Tea Party Movement" in the wake of Obama's election. Much has been made of the Tea Party Movement in the media however there is little, if any, scholarship on it. This conference, which features historians, political scientists, sociologists, and race and gender scholars, is intended to begin to fill this gap. Key questions that the conference will address include: Is the "Tea Party Movement" (TPM) a new social movement, an emerging political party, a media-driven construction, or something else? What are the origins, ideology, and constituencies of the TPM and how were they formed? What is the relationship between the TPM and the Right, especially the GOP, in the U.S., and what role will the TPM play in shaping the 2010 and future elections? How do race, class and gender factor into the TPM's message and membership? How are TPM activists tapping into and/or managing the populist, libertarian, and radical currents on the Right, as well as fear, anger and resentment among segments of the American public? What significance does the TPM hold for the future of American politics?

9:00 - 9:15 am            Welcome and Introduction of Key Note Speaker

Lawrence Rosenthal, Executive Director, Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, University of California, Berkeley

9:15 - 10:30 am           Keynote Address "The Tea Parties Now"

Rick Perlstein, Journalist and Author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America and Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of American Consensus

10:45am - 12:30 pm      Panel 1: New Forms of Activism on the Right: The Tea Party--Emergence of a Movement?


Christopher Parker, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Washington

Ruth Rosen, Professor Emerita of History, University of California, Davis; Visiting Professor of History, UC Berkeley

Clarence Lo, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Missouri-Columbia

David Weigel, Political Reporter, Slate, and MSNBC contributor

Debra Saunders, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle


Jack Citrin, Director, Institute of Governmental Studies & Heller Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

1:30 - 3:00 pm             Panel 2: The Tea Party and the Right: Fractures and Alliances within the Republican Party and other groups on the Right


Martin Cohen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, James Madison University

Alan I. Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science, Emory University

Peter Montgomery, Senior Fellow, People for the American Way

Bill Whalen, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University


Eric Schickler, American Politics Professor of Political Science, UC Berkeley

3:15 - 4:45 pm            Panel 3: Tapping into Fear, Anger and Resentment: The Tea Party and the Climate of Threat


Lisa Disch, Professor of Political Science and Professor of Women's Studies, University of Michigan

Charles Postel, Associate Professor of History, San Francisco State University

Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates

Devin Burghart, Vice President, Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights


Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies, University of California, Berkeley

4:45 - 5:00 pm            Closing Remarks

Christine Trost, Program Director, Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements, and Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, UC Berkeley

Spring 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"Does Gender Matter in Organized Racism?"

Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and History, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh

How do we know if gender matters in right-wing movements? Drawing on my studies of women in the 1920s Ku Klux Klan and modern U.S. organized racism, as well as new scholarship on women in right-wing movements across the globe, this talk looks at assumptions that enable and circumscribe how we understand gender on the political right. These include templates of German Nazism, the male right, social movement progressivism, historical & spatial continuity, and mobilization from the private to the public.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: Two Authors Discuss Global and Domestic Battles over Women's Reproduction"

Michelle Goldberg, journalist and author of The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World (Penguin, 2009)

Carole Joffe, Professor Emerita of Sociology, University of California Davis and author of Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients and the Rest of Us (Beacon Press, 2010)

The assassination of Dr. George Tiller last May marked an upsurge in violence and intimidation by the anti-abortion movement in the U.S. At this event, two experts on domestic and international battles over women's reproduction will discuss recent developments in the U.S. and anti-abortion movement and situate it within the larger, global movement aimed at limiting women's reproductive rights.

Fall 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Blood and Politics: New Developments in the Rise of (White) Nationalism in the U.S., UK, and other parts of Europe"

Leonard Zeskind, President, Institute for Reseach & Education on Human Rights

Nick Lowles, Editor, Searchlight Magazine

Race and nationalism are back on the political agenda. Zeskind and Lowles will examine these issues in the U.S. and Europe, focusing on both the most recent developments and the social movements that brought us to this point. 


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