Interdisciplinary Conference

New Right-Wing Radicalism.
A Transatlantic Perspective.

 April 28, 2010
International Lounge (Usdan)

Panel Discussion

Part I: The European Perspective

 Moderator: Mingus Mapps, Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and Politics

 2:35 Othmar Ploeckinger, Ph.D.: "Mein Kampf--A Book of the Past in the Present"

 2:45 Hans-Gerd Jaschke, Professor for Political Science, Police and Security Management at the Berlin School of Economics and Law: "Right-Wing Extremism and Populism in Contemporary Germany and Western Europe"

 2:55 Joachim Kersten, University Professor at the German University for Police: "A Comparative Analysis of Right-Wing Extremism, Anti-Semitism, and Hate Crimes in Poland, the Ukraine and Russia"

 3:05 Peter Niesen, Professor of Political Theory and History of Ideas, Technical University of Darmstadt and Visiting Fellow, CES Harvard: "Banning the former ruling party" 

3:15 David Art, Assistant Professor in Political Science at Tufts University: "The Radical Right in Europe: Explaining Success and Failure"


 4:00-4:15 Coffee Break

Part II: The US Perspective

 Moderator: David Cunningham, Associate Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University

 4:15 Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh: "Which Comes First:  Thinking Like a Racist or Acting Like a Racist?"

 4:25 Pete Simi, Associate Professor, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska, Omaha: "Cycles of Right-Wing Terror"

 4:35 Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates, Boston: "From Tea Parties to Armed Militias"


Background info:

The German neonazi scene has received renewed attention at home and abroad since German unification in 1990. Xenophobic attacks on predominantly dark-skinned foreigners and desecrations of Jewish cemeteries regularly make headlines especially but not exclusively in East German cities and towns. Skinhead and neonazi movements, although deeply anti-international in their ideology, are also organizing across borders in both Eastern and Western Europe, as recent developments in Scandinavia and former communist countries have shown.

While promoting anti-semitic symbols and nazi emblems is illegal in Germany, the Internet provides free access to plenty of propaganda material available on US websites. Indeed, anti-semitic films from the Nazi era are exclusively advertised there. When 88-year-old James W. von Brunn gunned down security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. in June 2009 wing extremist groups in the US, too, received renewed attention. Racially-motivated arson attacks on churches in Texas are the latest in a string of right wing violence since President Obama became the first black president.

The Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis is convening European and American scholars who have studied these movements. Panelists will address questions about the most recent developments in the organizations' demographics, their ideological framework, and the role of different free speech laws vis-a-vis the groups' media/Internet presence and activities both here in the US and in Europe.

For more information, please contact Sabine von Mering at or Heidi McAllister at