Lecture, Partner Event, Online Video     

From There to Here: Understanding White Nationalism

We are all, alas, too familiar with the labels —white nationalism, white power, alt-right, right-wing extremists, neo-Nazis, fascists, ethnonationalists —but what do we know about members of these movements? Who they are? Where do they come from? And what do they stand for? Join us for a lively and informative conversation between three distinguished experts and colleagues who have been studying the answers to these questions for several decades. Our program takes place in honor of the 32nd anniversary of the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, a 28-year old Ethiopian immigrant who was killed by three Portland skinheads on November 13, 1988.

Elinor Langer’s book about the 1988 killing of Mulugeta Seraw in Oregon, entitled A Hundred Little Hitlers, was chosen as a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Award for work-in-progress and was also a finalist for both the Book-of-the-Month Club’s Best Non-Fiction Book and the PEN-USA Best Research-Based Non-Fiction Book that year. A longstanding member of The Nation editorial board, she has appeared in such publications as The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, Science, and Mother Jones, and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. Langer has taught at Goddard, Reed, Portland State University, and Pacific University. She is now at work on a portrait of the last ruler of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani, that combines her love of biography with her love of Hawaiian history.

Elinor Langer

Steven M. Wasserstrom is the Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies and the Humanities at Reed College, where he has taught since 1987. He served as the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Distinguished Visiting Professor in Judaic Studies at the College of William and Mary and as an Invited Scholar at the Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung in Berlin. He has written numerous works including: Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam; Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos; and “The Fullness of Time”: Poems by Gershom Scholem.

Steven M. Wasserstrom

Leonard Zeskind is president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) and the author of Blood and Politics: The History of White Nationalism from the Margins to the Mainstream, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in May 2009. Mr. Zeskind writes a regular column for Searchlight magazine, published in London, and has written articles and op-eds for The American Prospect, Rolling Stone, The Nation, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named him a fellow in 1998 (one of its so-called “Genius Grants”). He has received a number of awards, including most recently, the NAACP Kansas City, Missouri, Branch “Lucile H. Bluford Special Achievement Award,” for his contribution to the community and the struggle for dignity and humanity for all persons. Zeskind has worked for more than three decades to curb the influence of racism, antisemitism, and white supremacist groups in the United States. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP and has served on the board of directors of the Petra Foundation and the Kansas City Jewish Community Relations Bureau. He is now president of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR).

Leonard Zeskind

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