2020 Chertok Lecture

I am looking forward to speaking at Eastern Washington University in a couple of weeks on white nationalism and how we can push back! In addition to this public lecture, I will also be meeting with student leaders of color, having a lunch with faculty and administrators, and presenting in February at a related event for faculty, on how white nationalist ideology shows up on campuses and how we can respond effectively.

Upcoming Talks in 2020

I have a number of upcoming talks in 2020:

In January and February, I am giving a number of talks as the 2020 Chertok Lecture speaker at Eastern Washington University. The main talk, on January 23, is on “Understanding and Resisting White Nationalism in the U.S. Today.” I will also be giving separate talks to student activists at EWU, to faculty at Gonzaga University and EWU on the question of white nationalist organizing on campuses and how to push back, and as part of a panel on whiteness.

In April, I will be flying to San Francisco for the Pacific conference of the American Philosophical Association, where I will be on panels for the Radical Philosophy Association (a panel I organized) and for the North American Society for Social Philosophy. Both panels are covering the themes of racism, authoritarianism, and far-right populism.

In April and May, I am speaking to two conferences of practitioners in Spokane on how to counter white nationalist recruitment of youth. One is a workshop for teachers, and the other is the east-side conference of the Washington Association of School Social Workers.

At the beginning of October, I’ll be speaking in Buffalo, NY at the Buffalo Conference on the Reception of Critical Theory. The conference is convened by John Abromeit, and he has recruited some big names, including Seyla Benhabib and (one of my personal Critical Theory heroes) Stephen Eric Bronner. I am on a panel with Martin Jay, addressing the far-right’s reception of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. I plan to speak on my research on the antisemitic conspiracy theory of “Cultural Marxism” as well as the influence of far-right intellectual and mentor of Richard Spencer, Paul Gottfried, on right-wing critical theory journal Telos.

In addition, I’ll be giving some smaller talks to local organizations, including the St. Aloysius Catholic Parish young adults group (on interfaith dialogue and Islamophobia/antisemitism) and the Spokane Democratic Socialists of America (on local hate groups and how we can push back). As event announcements and Facebook events are put out, I will try to keep you all updated.

New Article, Conferences, and Fighting Islamophobia

The latest issue of the Journal of Hate Studies is now available (open access) online: https://jhs.press.gonzaga.edu/18/volume/15/issue/1/. It includes my article, “Void and Idol: A Critical Theory of the Neo-Fascist Alt-Right.” There are some other articles I can’t wait to read!

It has been a busy couple of weeks. I participated in the Western States Center’s Activists Mobilizing for Power (AMP) conference, held in Spokane this year. I particularly enjoyed the panel on Islamophobia, and the panel on the far-right conducted by Political Research Associates. I made a lot of great connections for future collaboration.

The following weekend, I participated in the ERIP (Ethnic, Race, and Indigenous Peoples Conference) at Gonzaga University and presented a paper on Erich Fromm’s influence in the Caribbean and Mexico. (It’s long past time to “creolize” the Frankfurt School, as Lewis Gordon and others in the Caribbean Philosophical Association might put it.)

I’m currently excitedly participating in organizing a couple of upcoming events in Spokane on Islamophobia. In light of the current turn against Islamophobic State Representative Matt Shea, with even some local Republican leaders condemning Shea’s extremism, it seems to me that this could hardly be more timely. (Shea has fear-mongered against numerous groups, but he has targeted Muslim groups particularly, even starting a chapter of anti-Muslim hate group Act for America.)

Aneelah Afzali, Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network, and Lutheran pastor Terry Kyllo will be presenting at two events:

*Thursday, October 3, 6pm in the Auditorium at Jepson Center at Gonzaga University, they will be presenting their “Faith Over Fear Roadshow,” helping us to understand the Islamophobia industry. The talk is sponsored by the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies.

*Saturday, October 5, 2pm-4pm, Aneelah and Pastor Terry will be conducting a training for community allies on resisting Islamophobia, at the Spokane Valley’s Islamic Center (6411 E. 2nd, Spokane Valley).

Both events are free; the public talk on October 3 is a good introduction to the topic, while the training on October 5 is aimed at community members who want a more in-depth plunge focused on putting ideas into practice.

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 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 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: braune.joan@gmail.com.