Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

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Sem:The Radical Right

This course focuses on the radical right. The course will examine both U.S.-based and transnational aspects of the extreme far right. Right wing extremism and terrorism are not monolithic. There is a range of diverse actors that populate the fringes of the far right. In the United States, the challenge of right-wing initiated violence (and extremist beliefs that motivate acts of violence) is long standing. White supremacy has been an unfortunate mainstay within the extreme far-right movement. And, as the events of January 6 have demonstrated, the challenge of white supremacy extremism remains an indelible part of American society. The 6th of January also illustrated the rising influence of anti-government and militia groups. Right-wing anti-government and militia movements, however, are not a recent phenomenon. The course will examine both historic and contemporary manifestations of these fringe movements. And, how some of these movements’ ‘beliefs’ have become more normalized in the United States and overseas.

The rise of the extreme far-right in the United States has seen an accompanying rise of overseas based extremist movements. While the course primarily focuses on U.S. based right-wing extremists, there will be a module that examines international manifestations of the challenge. The transnational linkages, in fact, between the U.S. and overseas far-right has expanded in the 21st Century. Terrorists like Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant, for instance, have been influenced by American terrorists, like Dylan Roof. And, of course, there are tracts and manifestoes created by right-wing American ideologues that have influenced the overseas based right-wing terrorists. Similarly, there are influential writings (and actions), both historic and more recent, by European far-right figures that have shaped U.S. right-wing narratives.

The myths and key-concepts, which often serve as drivers for radicalization within this milieu will be foundational to understanding the extreme far right. At the same time, the course will examine conspiracy theories and how they have animated QAnon followers. The spread of disinformation, which often allows for the growth of conspiracy theories, is also key to the rise of the radical right in the United States and overseas.

Recruitment and propaganda associated with the extreme far-right is especially important in understanding the recent uptick in extreme right-wing violence. How does the far-right red-pill potential recruits? What tools have extreme right-wing recruiters used, both in the past and currently, to expand their membership? This course will examine these important issues.

Finally, what kinds of policies have been adopted to counter the extreme far-right? Have they been successful? What other policies are being examined? What are the risks associated with certain government and private sector initiatives designed to counter the radical right? How should historic issues, such as government overreach, be factored into discussions related to future policymaking?

The radical right does not consist solely of white supremacist, anti-government, and militia groups. The course (to a lesser extent) will examine smaller subsets of the far-right as well, to include sovereign citizens, INCELS, and tax-resistor movements.


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NPTG 8603

All Sections in Fall 2021 - MIIS

Fall 2021 - MIIS

NPTG8603A-F21 Seminar (Blazakis)