The Different and Changing Climate of Ethnography with the Right-Wing

Organizer: Bill Westermeyer

In a 2013 edition of North American Dialogue, Kaja Tretjak writes of the crucial role anthropology could assume in studies of the American socio-political right and the importance of such studies in understanding the current political and economic order. The urgency of such studies has taken on even greater urgency with rise of Trumpist populism. Given the relatively few anthropologists studying right-wing political culture and social movements, Hugh Gusterson (2017) writes “we need rich, deep, nuanced encounters with the conservative Other, encounters that will require all the skills of reflexivity, relativism, and humane critique that our discipline can summon.  This panel will explore what Marc Edelman (2001) termed “the parallel universe” of right-wing research in the US including comparative contributions from studies of non-US right wing movements. What are the prospects of this research addressing anthropology’s goal to advance knowledge and solve human problems? What successful approaches, research paradigms, methods, and collaboration have ethnographers of the socio-political right outside the U.S. employed? Topics discussed may be: the nature, production and reproduction of shared grievances; conceptualizations of class, race, sexuality, and gender among right-wing activists; the fashioning of movement identities within right-wing movements; how Trump and his political style have changed the landscape of the right; fissures regarding the environment, religion and globalization or responses to the 2008 economic crisis.

This panel also welcomes papers from anthropologists of non-US right-wing movements that wish to share perspectives useful to those researching in the US.

Please submit abstracts (250 words max.) for papers to be included on the panel to by April 5th