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Nationalist Fervor on the Rise in the U.S. and Europe


Nationalist Fervor on the Rise in the U.S. and Europe

Presented in partnership with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Furman

Thursdays: August 29 and September 5 and September 12, 2019
Shaw Hall, Younts Conference Center (8/29 & 9/5) and McAlister Auditorium (9/12)
6:30 – 8 pm

We are experiencing a nationalist fervor that is energizing to some but alarming to others. The rise in the U.S. and Europe of populist nationalism is considered by many to be the single-most important political development of the 21st century. The election of Donald Trump, who was sent to the White House on a wave of right-wing populism, England’s Brexit movement, and the rise of the far-right in many European elections point to a phenomenon that is unmistakably tied to white identity, immigration, and demographic change.

Over three weekly sessions, we looked at the rise in nationalist fervor from three distinct points of focus. On August 29, we examined nationalism’s connection to populism and authoritarianism and how this influences our politics and our democracy. On September 5, we considered how white group identity and changing demographics are having an impact on our politics and our public discourse. Finally, on September 12, we shifted our focus to white nationalism as we hear one man’s journey from heir apparent in the white nationalist movement to critic of the movement’s toxic ideology, false narrative and racist views.

Are we witnessing a moment in time that soon will pass, or are we at the beginning of a new era? 

To view all biographies, click here.

Session 1 I August 29 in Shaw Hall, Younts Conference Center

Nationalist Fervor, Authoritarian Rule, and the Future of Democracy

Nationalism comes in various forms, and when it embraces authoritarianism, it can have a negative impact on a democracy.  Are Western democracies strong enough to withstand the force of a nationalist fervor that seeks authoritarian rule as an answer to the many problems that exist without easy solutions?

“The Rise of Radical Politics: What Does It Mean and Why Now?”

Bart Bonikowski, Ph.D.(bio) cultural and political sociologist who focuses on the political implications of nationalist beliefs

A Conversation: How Safe is Democracy?

Moderated by David Fleming, Ph.D. (bio)

Major General Chris Ballard, U.S. Army ret., (bio) career military intelligence officer

Bart Bonikowski


Session 2 I September 5 in Shaw Hall, Younts Conference Center

Culture Wars: Multiculturalism and the Future of White Identity

People who identify strongly with their whiteness can feel threatened by shifting majorities. Should conservatives be able to express a sense of loss without being labeled as racists? How is demographic change transforming Western politics? How should we think about the future of white majorities and the future of minorities?

“Majority Ethnicity, the Cultural Left, and the Rise of Populism”

Eric Kaufmann, Ph.D.(bio) author of Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities

“Identity and Diversity in American Politics”

Ashley Jardina, Ph.D.(bio) author of White Identity Politics

A Conversation: Identity Politics and Racial Attitudes in the U.S.

Moderated by Danielle Vinson, Ph.D. (bio)

Khalilah Brown-Dean, Ph.D.(bio) author of forthcoming Identity Politics in the United States

Eric Kaufmann

Ashley Jardina

Session 3 I September 12 in McAlister Auditorium

Blood and Soil: When Nationalist Fervor is Racism

“Why I Left the White Nationalist Movement”

Derek Black, (bio) the godson of David Duke and former heir apparent to the white nationalist movement, will share his story of transformation from leader in the white nationalist movement to outspoken critic of the movement.

A Conversation: White Nationalism and American Politics

Moderated by Danielle Vinson

Derek Black

Sarah McCammon(bio) NPR national correspondent

Recommended reading: Rising out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow


Press Coverage

Furman News

The Summer Series is presented by The Riley Institute at Furman
and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman