Material Information

Studying Racist Activists: What Can Be Learned and What Cannot
Abbreviated Title:
"Civil" Society? On the Future Prospects of Meaningful Dialogue
Blee, Kathleen
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Florida
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, University of Florida
Publication Date:
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Subjects / Keywords:
Civil Society? On the Future Prospects of Meaningful Dialogue


Studying Racist Activists: What Can Be Learned and What Cannot Kathleen Blee (University of Pittsburgh) 27 March 2014, 5:30 pm, Ustler Hall Atrium (2nd floor), University of Florida ( ,,, )
Is there anything to be gained by talking to people in racist groups? This talk wrestles with the dilemma of how we can find accurate information about the racist movements in our midst. From the massive Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s to today’s small neo-Nazi groups, racist groups have fomented hatred and often violence against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities. Despite the danger that these movements pose to civil society, we know surprisingly little about how they work and how they recruit members. Based on decades of direct observation and interviews with those who populate America’s racist underground, this talk explores what we know, what we don’t know, and what we may never know about organized racism. It wrestles with moral and political dilemmas that occur when scholars work directly with violent political actors and raises questions about the advantages and perils of scholarship and dialogue with racist extremists.
Kathleen Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Pittsburgh. She has authored four award-winning books, most recently Making Democracy: How Activist Groups Form (2013 Charles Tilly Award for Best Book from the Collective Behavior & Social Movements Section, American Sociological Association and 2013 Best Book Award from the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Associations). Her two books on racial hate groups, Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement (2002) and Women in the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s (1991) were featured in many media sources, including The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Reporter, and The Los Angeles Times. A 2000 book co-authored with Dwight Billings, The Road to Poverty: The Making of Wealth and Hardship in Appalachia won the Weatherly Best Book Award from the Appalachian Studies Association.
Organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, and co-sponsored by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Program, the UF Honors Program, the Alexander Grass Chair in Jewish History at UF, the UF International Center, the UF Office of Research, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UF Center for Jewish Studies, the UF Libraries, the UF College of Public health and Health Professions, the UF France-Florida Research Institute, the Hyatt and Cici Brown Endowment for Florida Archaeology, the UF Department of History, the UF African American Studies Program, the UF Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, UF College of Design, Construction and Planning, and the Alachua County Library District.

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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