Latest Research Projects

It’s hard to believe it’s already the first week of September.

I’ve received edits/feedback back for three of my current projects:

  • A journal article critiquing the antisemitic conspiracy theory of “Cultural Marxism.” (I study the Frankfurt School and fascists, so it’s about time I finally wrote something debunking the fascists’ conspiracy theory according to which the Jewish scholars of the Frankfurt School control the world.)
  • My publication proposal for my forthcoming book on fascism. (I am only slightly disappointed that they recommended a more professional-sounding title than Fascists–Why Are They Like This?)
  • A journal article on ethical considerations in how to share “compassion narratives,” i.e., the stories of former white supremacists who credit the unexpected compassionate outreach of members of marginalized groups with convincing them to leave white supremacist movements. (I’m always happy when people leave hate groups, but we need to find a way to share these stories in a way that helps people weigh the risks of outreach to those who wish them harm and removes any sense of pressure or coercion to engage in such work.)

Welcome — Dr. Joan Braune’s Research and Community Work

I’ve started this blog 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 trainings for teachers and others on preventing fascist/white nationalist recruitment of youth and students around the country.

I’m Dr. Joan Braune. I’m 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’ve 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 extremists.

For the past few years, I have been teaching at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where I currently serve on the Council of Experts for the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies. (I am blogging only as myself, not representing Gonzaga University or any other organizations/employers.) 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 Frankfurt School Critical 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 fascism and hate groups.

You can see my Curriculum Vitae and some of my writing by following me on, 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 2014. 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. Kieran Durkin and I are co-editing a volume of essays on Erich Fromm’s Critical Theory that will be published very soon by Bloomsbury. (I’ll let you all know when it becomes available!)

I am currently writing a new book, on fascism and how to overcome it–the proposal is under review with Routledge, and I expect that text will become available in Summer 2020.

Here are just a few of my recent talks and shorter pieces, if you’d like a taste of my recent work. My talks on hate groups are not 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: