Inaugural Conference on Right-Wing Studies (2019)

April 25-27, 2019

This interdisciplinary conference featured 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 had 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.

keynote panel of experts, who weighed in on the current state of the far right in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, opened the conference on Thursday, April 25, from 4:00-6:00 pm in Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley, followed by a reception. On Friday, April 26, from 5:00-7:00pm in 370 Dwinelle Hall, there was a film screening and discussion of “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville.” 

Sponsored by: Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies.

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

Perspectives on the Far-Right Insurgency: Latin America, Europe and the U.S.

April 25, 2019

Perspectives on the Far-Right Insurgency: Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. 

The Keynote Panel features experts who weigh in on the current state of the far right in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. They speak to threats posed by white supremacy, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-democratic/authoritarian ideologies (including acts of right-wing violence over the past year and ongoing potential threats), as well as discuss surprising elements of right-wing mobilizations that challenge the assumptions of mainstream media discourse.


Heidi Beirich, Intelligence Project Director, Southern Poverty Law Center

Joseph Lowndes, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Oregon

Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution

Ben Cowan, Associate Professor of History, UC San Diego

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

Friday, April 26, Morning Session I - 9:00 – 11:00 am

Panel A: Women and Gender on the Right

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “The Politics and Silenced Power of Eleanor Dulles: ‘Good Old Girl’ History, The American Cold War ‘Right’ in Berlin, and ‘Leftist’ Underpinnings,” Victoria Phillips, Columbia University
  • “’Be Rough, Be Violent, Don’t Drop Her On the Floor’:  The Christian Right’s Enactment of Female Purity through Evangelical Ballet Technique,” Michelle Summers, UC Berkeley
  • “Daughters of the Manif pour Tous: When Right-Wing Ecology meets AlterFeminism,” Magali Della Sudda, CNRS-Sciences Po Bordeaux
  • "The Zionist Movement and Mizrahi Women: Right Wing Feminism-of-Color in the State of Israel," Smadar Lavie, UC Berkeley

Chair: Martina Avanza, Lausanne University

Panel B: Development of the U.S. Right throughout the 20th Century  

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “The Rise of the American Cultural Right, 1900-1945,” Karen Patricia Heath, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
  • “Anti-Communism and Race in the Depression-Era South,” Frances Cayton, Independent Researcher
  • “The Triumph of ‘Americanism’: How Ideas of the 1950s-60s Ultra-Conservative Anti-Communist Conspiracists Have Been Embraced and Developed In the Trump Era,” Samuel Brenner, Ropes & Gray LLP, Boston
  • “Conservatisms: Defining a Movement in National Review, 1955-1964,” George J. A. Murray, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
  • “Decentralization on the U.S. Far Right” Spencer Sunshine, Action Against Fascism and Xenophobia," Spencer Sunshine, Action Against Fascism and Xenophobia

Chair: Samuel Brenner, Ropes & Gray LLP, Boston

Panel C: Constructing Right-Wing Narratives: Psychology, Imagery, and Memory

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “From Birchers to Birthers: Understanding the Use of Figurative Language in the Narrative of The John Birch Society,” Kelly Jones, UC Berkeley
  • “The Specter of the Past: Reconstructing Conservative Historical Memory in South Korea,” Myungji Yang, University of Hawai'i-Manoa
  • “Social Psychological Perspectives in Studying the Right: Analyzing Everyday Conversations about the ‘National Socialist Underground,’” Charlie Kaufhold, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • “Exorcising The Spectre or Just Kicking a Dead Horse: The Right's Offensive in The European Memory War,” Pawel Koscielny, UC Berkeley

Chair: Gianluca Piccolino, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies

Friday, April 26, Morning Session II – 11:15 am – 1:15 pm

Panel A: Understanding Right-Wing Mobilization Through Online Communications and Social Media Analysis

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Driving after mass: Digital authoritarians; suburban landscapes,” Jason Luger, UC Berkeley
  • "My Girlfriend Became Neo-Nazi: The Right's Presence and Activity in the Internet," Julián Castro-Rea, University of Alberta Canada
  • “Social Sharing of Political Emotions in Populist Online Communications,” Philipp Wunderlich, Free University of Berlin
  • “Resisting Digital Fascism: Challenges for the Open Society in Times of Social Media,” Maik Fielitz (Chair) and Holger Marcks, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg
  • “Good v. Evil: Reactionary Opposition in Brazil’s New Digital ‘Bolsosphere,’” Erika Robb Larkins, San Diego State University, and Meg Stalcup, University of Ottawa

Chair: Maik Fielitz, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg

Panel B: Rightist Social Movement Framing, Organization, and Institutionalization

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Religious Right Coalition-Building Strategies: Pro-Family Politics and the Rhetoric of Victimhood,” Chelsea Ebin, Rollins College
  • “Strategic Grant-Making by Rightist Foundations 1970-1997,” Alex DiBranco, Yale University
  • “Institutionalization Without Formalization: The Puzzle of Mid-Protest Cycle Entrants and ACT for America,” Isabelle Canaan, Columbia Law
  • “Hindutva Counter-Sphere: Emergence of Right-wing Media Ecosystem in Indian Public Sphere,” Prashanth Bhat, University of Maryland

Chair: Alex DiBranco, Yale University

Panel C: Case Studies of Right-Wing Mobilization in Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, and Serbia

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “National-Socialists without National-Socialism: The Glasenbacher Wohlfahrtsvereinigung and the Formation of the Austrian Freedom Party,” AJ Solovy, UC Berkeley
  • “Right-Wing Demonstrations in Poland – Who Joins and Why?” Piotr Kocyba, Chemnitz University of Technology
  • “How do communities deal with immigration? Integration between mobilisation to violence and ‘Willkommenskultur,’” Anja Schmidt-Kleinert, Philipps-University Marburg, Anja Siegel, Philipps-University Marburg, and Laura Jaekel, Philipps-University Marburg
  • “’Migration Crisis’ and the Far Right Networks in Europe: A Case Study of Serbia,” Marina Lazetic, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Chair: Safia Dahani, LaSSP/I.E.P de Toulouse

Friday Afternoon Session – 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Panel A: Right-Wing Intellectuals and Ideology: Fascists, Esotericists, Nationalists, and Populists 

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Pan-European Solutions to Postwar Problems: Palingenesis in Fascist Europeanism in Postwar Europe,” Steven A. Vickers, Jr., Marquette University
  • “Mario Amadeo and the mapping the Argentine far-right ideology during the Cold War (1940-1980),” Daniel Gunnar Kressel, Columbia University
  • “Ezcurra: The Argentine Catholic Right from the Street to the Seminary,” Craig Johnson, UC Berkeley
  • “Steve Bannon, Right-Wing Esotericist,” Benjamin R. Teitelbaum, University of Colorado Boulder
  • “Forging Fascism: Authoritarian Populism, Apocalyptic Aggression, and Scripted Violence,” Chip Berlet, Independent Researcher

Chair: Daniel Gunnar Kressel, Columbia University

Panel B: Origins and Trajectory of “America First”

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Klandidates: American Politics and the Ku Klux Klan,” Felix Harcourt, Austin College
  • “Was It Rural Populism? Returning to the Country, ‘Catching Up,’ and Trying to Understand the Trump Vote,” Adam Jadhav (Chair), UC Berkeley
  • “The Christian Right, The Republican Party, and the Prospect of an American Neofascism,” Mario Barrera, UC Berkeley
  • “‘Make “America” White Again’:  White Resentment under the Obama & Trump Presidencies,” Judy Rohrer,  Eastern Washington University

Chair: Adam Jadhav, UC Berkeley

Panel C: Ethnographies of the European Far-Right:  Exploring Power Relations Inside Right-Wing Political Parties (France, Germany, Italy)

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “Moving Frontiers : The Transition From Lega Nord To Lega,” (Italy) Elisa Bellè, University of Trento
  • “Real Nazis at the Speaker’s Stand: The parliamentary institution facing the arrival of right-wing extremism,” (Germany) Martin Baloge, University of Paris 1
  • “What Observation in Political Meetings Can Tell Us about FN Leaders and Activists' Relationships,” Safia Dahani, LaSSP/I.E.P de Toulouse, and Estelle Delaine, Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
  • “Gender and Class Hierarchies among Local Front National Activists : A Multi-Site Ethnography,” (France) Margherita Crippa, University Paris-Dauphine; Félicien Faury, University Paris-Dauphine; and Guillaume Letourneur, University Paris 1

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

Friday, April 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm 

“Documenting Hate: Charlottesville” Film Screening and Discussion

Location: 370 Dwinelle Hall

This session will begin by screening the highly acclaimed PBS Frontline special “Documenting Hate: Charlottesville” followed by a panel discussion regarding the resurgence of white supremacist groups in the US and abroad. The panel will feature ProPublica and Frontline lead investigative journalist and producer, A.C. Thompson, along with two other panelists who will share their insights about the factors leading to this resurgence and what can be done to counter contemporary hate groups. 


Karim Hajj, Producer, Midnight Films

Pete Simi, Associate Professor of Sociology, Chapman University

Alex DiBranco, Yale University


Saturday, April 27, Morning Session I - 9:00 – 11:00 am

Panel A: Right-Wing Educational Discourse and Pedagogy in the U.S.

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Political Neutrality as Pedagogical Ideal, Right-Wing (Re)Production in Practice: An analysis of US Government classrooms in Central Ohio,” Dinorah Sánchez Loza, UC Berkeley
  • “Schooling Believers: The Christian Right and Educational Discourse in the United States, 1960-Present,” Kelley King, University of North Texas
  • “Colleges and Universities in the Field of Conservative Higher Education,” Christopher Robertson, Northwestern University
  • “Separate but Faithful: Can the Christian Right Reshape Law Through Legal Education?” Amanda Hollis Brusky, Pomona College, and Joshua Wilson, University of Denver
  • “Phillip E.J. Monson, Kingdom Bible College, and the Evolution of Christian Identity Theology,” Alon Milwicki, American University

Chair: Dinorah Sánchez Loza, UC Berkeley

Panel B: Anti-Abortion Movements and Actors. A Dialogue Across Borders of Space and Disciplines

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Burying ‘unborn children’: New forms of pro-life activism and dispossession of women's bodies. The Italian case,” Martina Avanza, University of Lausanne
  • “A Time of War: The Rhetoric and Reality of the Theocratic Far Right's Anti-Abortion ‘Crusade,’” Benjamin Linzy, Marquette University
  • “Resisting ‘gender theory’ in France: A fulcrum for religious action in a secular society,” Josselin Tricou, Paris 8 University Vincennes- Saint-Denis

Chair: Chelsea Ebin, Rollins College

Panel C: Explaining Support for the Right-Wing in Europe, India, and Brazil 

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “Brazil’s Inequality Politics and the Rise of the Popular Right,” Sean T. Mitchell, Rutgers University
  • “Nationalism and Rise of the Right in Global South: Evidence from India,” Pranav Gupta, UC Berkeley
  • “The Right Wing in the Brazilian 2013 Cycle of Protests,” Leticia Birchal Domingues, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
  • “Into the ‘Twitterverse’: West European Radical Right-Wing Party Leaders and Their Use of Social Media,” Johannes van Gorp, American University of Sharjah

Chair: Elizabeth McKenna, UC Berkeley

Saturday, April 27, Morning Session II – 11:15 am – 1:15 pm

Panel A: Male Supremacist Ideology and Mobilization in the Contemporary United States 

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “’No Seat at the Party’: Mobilizing White Masculinity in the Men’s Rights Movement,” Emily Carian, Stanford University
  • “Valorizing Trump’s Masculine Self: Constructing Political Allegiance during the 2016 Presidential Election,” Pierce Dignam, Florida State University, with Douglas Schrock, Kristen Erichsen, and Ben-Dowd Arrow
  • “Incels, Betas, and Weaponized Autists: Subjects of an Indifferent Structure of Feeling,” Justin Gilmore, UC Santa Cruz
  • “Becoming Men: Political Violence as an Apolitical Rite of Passage,” CV Vitolo-Haddad, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Chair: Alex DiBranco, Yale University

Panel B: Empowering the Radical Right: Mainstream Collaboration, Normalization, and Radicalization 

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Partnering with Extremists,” Kim Twist, San Diego State University
  • “Disentangling Affinities and Divergences between Right Wing Populism and Extremism in the Textual Analysis of Party Manifestos,” Gianluca Piccolino, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies
  • “From Pro-European Center-right to Nationalist Radical Right: The populist and authoritarian turn of the Turkish Justice and Development Party,” Max-Valentin Robert, Grenoble Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po Grenoble) / Laboratory Pacte
  • “The incident – Chemnitz as a paradigm case for the resurgence of right wing nationalism in Germany?” Jenni Brichzin, University of Chemnitz, and Ulf Bohmann, University of Chemnitz

Chair: Kim Twist, San Diego State University

Panel C: The New Right and Jair Bolsonaro´s Rise to Power in Brazil: Politics and Political Economy

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “Plutocratic Politics: The Role of Capital in the Rise of the Brazilian Right,” Elizabeth McKenna, UC Berkeley
  • “Bolsonaro´s Brazil: Perspectives and Contradictions,” Pedro Paulo Zahluth Bastos (Chair), Universidade de Campinas
  • “The Return of Neoliberalism in Brazil: An Early Evaluation of Bolsonaro’s Economic Proposals,” Matías Vernengo, Bucknell University
  • “Brazil’s Authoritarian Resurgence: How the Religious Right, Judiciary, and Economic Elites Have Suppressed Civil Society to Promote Neoliberalism,” Anthony Robert Pahnke, San Francisco State University, and Marcelo Milan, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS-Brazil)

Chair: Pedro Paulo Zahluth Bastos, Universidade de Campinas

Saturday, April 27, Afternoon Session I – 2:45 – 4:45 pm

Panel A: Demographic Nationalism: Who Is “America”? -

Location: Wildavsky Conference Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  • “Imagining White Genocide: Demographic Dystopia, Antisemitism, and the White Nationalist Movement Today,” Steven Gardiner and Ethan Faure, Political Research Associates
  • “Culture and Belonging in the USA: Multiracial Organizing on the Contemporary Far Right,” Cloee Cooper, Political Research Associates
  • “Transgender Rights and Political Belonging: Christian Right Definitions of the Moral Community,” Heron Greenesmith, Political Research Associates

Chair: Steven Gardiner, Political Research Associates

Panel B: Transnational Networks in Latin America and Europe

Location: Green Room, ISSI (2538 Channing Way)

  •  “Treason, Treachery and Pro-Nazi Activities by the British Ruling Classes During World War Two,” Tim Tate, Independent Researcher
  • “Justifying state terror to protect ‘human rights’: Latin American right-wing dictatorships’ response to international human right scrutiny in the late 1970s,” Molly Avery (Chair), London School of Economics
  • “Italians and Germans to the Cultural Conquest of the ‘Great North’ (1922-1945),” Fabio Ferrarini, Università degli Studi di Milano
  • “‘The Trenches of the War’: The far right’s symbolic construction of Europe as a war zone,” Ed Pertwee, London School of Economics

Chair: Molly Avery, London School of Economics

Panel C: Power Struggles Over Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Brazil’s New Right

Location: Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room (2334 Bowditch St.)

  • “Anti-anti-racism, Nationalism, and the Rise of the Reactionary Right in Brazil,” Mara Loveman, UC Berkeley
  • “Brazilian Whiteness and the Current Reactionary Wave,” Patricia de Santana Pinho, UC Santa Cruz
  • “’We’re All Equal in the Republic’: Anti-Affirmative Action as a Laboratory for Brazil’s Far Right,” Tianna S. Paschel, UC Berkeley
  • “Analyzing how discourses against women and LGBTI’s rights have contributed to the strengthening of the right-wing in Brazil,” Rayani Mariano dos Santos, University of Brasilia and University of California, Berkeley

Chair: Paola Bacchetta, UC Berkeley