Visit the blog for updates on my work

Theory, Practice & Community

Dr. Joan Braune’s Research and Community Work:

I’ve set up this site to help people stay in touch with me about my work in Hate Studies and Critical Theory, as well as my developing community-based work, including workshops, presentations, and trainings for educators, non-profits, faith communities and others, on understanding and confronting the growing problem of white nationalist organizing and recruitment.

I’m Dr. Joan Braune. I am an academic and a social justice advocate with over a decade of experience in community leadership. For the past few years, my research and activism has focused heavily on countering the rise of fascist movements and hate groups in the U.S. Northwest and more broadly. I have worked with community organizations, educators and school administrators, faith communities, organized labor, and others to form responses to threats, targeted recruitment and manipulative messaging by far-right agitators and insurgents.

I am a Lecturer in Philosophy at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where I have also served on the International Council of Experts for the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies, among other initiatives in which I am involved. For the past three years my research has focused heavily on fascism and hate groups, and how to overcome them. I have put my prior training in social theory, as well as my experience in both secular and faith-based social justice theory and practice, into the service of work against the spread of fascist movements and hate groups.

You can see some of my academic publications on Academia.edu, but I will also be posting updates here on my talks and writing.

Here I am at a lake in Montana, not protesting Nazis. Breaks are important!

I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Kentucky in 2013. My dissertation (under Dr. Arnold Farr) and early academic work focused on Erich Fromm’s Critical Theory–Fromm’s work has been very influential on me, and I have been at the forefront of an ongoing Fromm renaissance, as scholars rediscovery Fromm’s contributions to socialist humanist theory and practice, psychoanalysis, and the Frankfurt School. My first book was Erich Fromm’s Revolutionary Hope: Prophetic Messianism as a Critical Theory of the Future (Sense Publishers 2014)Kieran Durkin and I are co-editors of a new volume of essays on Erich Fromm’s Critical Theory: Hope, Humanism, and the Future (Bloomsbury 2020).

I am currently writing a new book, Paths through the Void: Understanding and Overcoming U.S. Fascist Movements, for Routledge’s series on Fascism and the Far-Right, exploring causes of resurgence of fascist movements and how Critical Theory can help us think through a strategy to push back.

Since 2017, I have given dozens of talks or workshops on hate groups today. Here is a partial list of venues for which I have done workshops/invited talks:

  • 2020 Chertok Lecture — Eastern Washington University College of Social Sciences
  • Education Services District 101
  • International Conference on Hate Studies
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
  • Spokane City Council
  • Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR)
  • Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, Washington State University
  • Simon Fraser University Institute for Humanities
  • Spokane Alliance
  • KYRS Radio
  • Milwaukee Young Workers Committee (AFL-CIO)
  • Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club
  • Emerge Washington
  • Yeah Nah Pasaran podcast
  • Eastern Washington University Women’s and Gender Education Center (WAGE)
  • Saint Joseph Catholic Parish
  • Spokane County Democrats
  • Valley Indivisible Progressives
  • Milwaukee Riverwest Radio
  • Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS)
  • Dorothy Day Labor Forum
  • Spokane Democratic Socialists of America
  • Eastern Washington University Anthropological Society
  • Families Against Bigotry
  • Northwest Critical Theory Roundtable
  • People for Peace and Justice (Rio Grande Valley)

Here are just a few of my recent talks and shorter pieces, if you’d like a taste of my recent work. My workshops on hate groups are generally not available online, because they are usually tailored to specific audiences and often contain confidential conversations with participants. Please reach out if you have any questions about group trainings/workshops: braune.joan@gmail.com or standinsolidarity@yahoo.com.

Endorsements

“Knowledge is power. In order to fight hate, we need to know the names of the groups that are spreading it and hurting the people in our region. I applaud this work and know that in order to address white supremacy effectively, we need this information. Joan was helpful for our council to listen to and gave an amazing overview of the problems at hand.” —Kate Burke, Spokane City Council member

“Joan consistently demystifies, names, and speaks out against white supremacy and its affiliated movements in our region and beyond. She makes reasoned arguments even in the face of unreasonable attacks on her thinking. Best of all, perhaps, Joan has a clear sense of where to focus individual and community efforts in the fight against fascism and white supremacy in order to achieve the largest impact.” —Neal Schindler, Director, Spokane Area Jewish Family Services*

“Joan led a thoughtful, informative, and impactful workshop for our organization. The Spokane Alliance is a network of congregations and unions that comes together to work on campaigns for social and economic justice. The workshop was sobering and enlightening, and our volunteers left with a better understanding of far right white supremacist organizing and activism. Joan led a workshop for volunteer leaders from different congregations and unions in our network and provided important background information on local and regional organizations and a historical framing within which to understand new developments. Not only that, they left with a desire to educate their communities and a better understanding of the strategies that are effected in combating these kinds of organizations.” —Katie Ashmore Zinler, Lead Organizer, Spokane Alliance

*Affiliation for identification purposes only