The Far-Right in Europe: Two-part Series

Two renowned scholars are visiting MSU in fall 2018 to discuss their new research on far-right movements in Germany and Austria.  

Oct.11: Dr. Karin Liebhart, Fulbright Visiting Professor, University of Minnesota

Oct. 29: Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Sociology and Education, American University

Both talks will be held from 3-4:30pm in International Center Room 303. 

While these senior scholars are on campus, there will be a research methods discussion over lunch for interested faculty and graduate students in any discipline (in addition to their public talks). Dr. Liebhart catalogues ephemeral digital data, like Instagram posts and tweets. Dr. Miller-Idriss works with a substantial image database of clothing and consumer items that are digitized, tagged and archived for use by other scholars.  

Dr. Liebhart (October 11) will explore the social media use of the far-right in Germany and Austria in her talk. 

“Social Media Communication of the Far-Right”: When and how does right-wing populism blend into right-wing extremism? In July 2018, 16 male and 1 female adherents of the Austrian Identitarian Movement were on trial in Graz for criminal behavior, including charges of incitement, harassment and of being part of a criminal organization. The Identitarian movements in Austria, Germany and other European countries use social media as a primary means of political communication. Textual and visual messages, particularly on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can serve as good examples for distinguishing between populist and extremist word choices, figures of speech, visualization and other discursive markers. 

Dr. Miller-Idriss’ talk (October 29) will focus on her new book, which explores how clothing brands laced with symbols favored by extremists enter mainstream youth culture. 

“The Extreme Gone Mainstream”The past decade has witnessed a steady increase in far right politics, social movements, and extremist violence in Europe. Scholars and policymakers have struggled to understand the causes and dynamics that have made the far right so appealing to so many people—in other words, that have made the extreme more mainstream. In this talk, Cynthia Miller-Idriss examines how extremist ideologies have entered mainstream German culture through commercialized products and clothing laced with extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalist coded symbols and references. Her book draws on a unique digital archive of thousands of historical and contemporary images, as well  as interviews with young people and their teachers.