The white power movement in America wants a revolution. Its soldiers are not lone wolves, but highly organized cadres motivated by a coherent and deeply troubling worldview of white supremacy, virulent anticommunism, and apocalyptic faith. Historian, CNN contributor, and author of Bring the War Home, KATHLEEN BELEW gives us the history of this movement, which consolidated decades ago around a potent sense of betrayal after the Vietnam War, and went on to make tragic headlines in Waco and Oklahoma City. Today, the white power movement is resurgent: look no further than the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. But with a sustained attention to the white supremacist violence of our past, we can avoid future attacks on American democracy.
The Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago, Kathleen Belew specializes in the recent history of the United States, examining the long aftermath of warfare. Her recently released book Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, explores how white power activists wrought a cohesive social movement through a common story about warfare and its weapons, uniforms, and technologies. By uniting previously disparate Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, skinhead, and other groups, the movement carried out escalating acts of violence that reached a crescendo in the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City.
Belew has held postdoctoral fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Rutgers University. Her research has received the support of the Andrew W. Mellow and Jacob K. Javits Foundations, as well as Albert J. Beveridge and John F. Enders grants for research in Mexico and Nicaragua. She holds a doctoral degree in American Studies from Yale University. She earned her undergraduate degree in the Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington in 2005, where she was named Dean’s Medalist in the Humanities.
Belew’s research currently focuses on processes of militarization in the domestic United State and the idea of the apocalypse in American history and culture. Her award-winning teaching centers on the themes of race, gender, violence, identity, and the meaning of war.