Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination


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book cover, "Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate"
Participants : 
  • Alexandra Minna Stern, Associate Dean for the Humanities - Academic Affairs - Office of the Dean, Professor of American Culture, Professor in History, Women's Studies, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab
  • Lisa Nakamura, Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor; Director of the Digital Studies Institute
  • Gayle Rubin, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Women's Studies
Event Date: 
November 1, 2019
Event Time: 
3:00pm to 4:30pm
2239 Lane Hall
Event Accessibility : 
Accessible entrance and elevator at Washington Street entrance (near loading dock). Gender inclusive restroom on Floor 1.
book cover, "Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate"

What is the alt-right? What do they believe, and how did they take center stage in the American social and political consciousness?

From a loose movement that lurked in the shadows in the early 2000s, the alt-right has achieved a level of visibility that has allowed it to expand significantly throughout America’s cultural, political, and digital landscapes. Racist, sexist, and homophobic beliefs that were previously unspeakable have become commonplace, normalized, and accepted—endangering American democracy and society as a whole. Yet in order to dismantle the destructive movement that has invaded our public consciousness, we must first understand the core beliefs that drive the alt-right.

To help guide us through the contemporary moment, historian Alexandra Minna Stern excavates the alt-right memes and tropes that have erupted online and explores the alt-right’s central texts, narratives, constructs, and insider language. She digs to the root of the alt-right’s motivations: their deep-seated fear of an oncoming “white genocide” that can only be remedied through swift and aggressive action to reclaim white power. As the group makes concerted efforts to cast off the vestiges of neo-Nazism and normalize their appearance and their beliefs, the alt-right and their ideas can be hard to recognize. Through careful analysis, Stern brings awareness to the underlying concepts that guide the alt-right and animate its overlapping forms of racism, xenophobia, transphobia, and anti-egalitarianism. She explains the key ideas of “red-pilling,” strategic trolling, gender essentialism, and the alt-right’s ultimate fantasy: a future where minorities have been removed and “cleansed” from the body politic and a white ethnostate is established in the United States. By unearthing the hidden mechanisms that power white nationalism, Stern reveals just how pervasive this movement truly is.

5 copies of the book will be given away at the beginning of the event! Must be present to win.

This event is part of our Gender: New Works, New Questions series, which spotlights recent publications by U-M faculty.