Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Christianity and the Alt-Right: Exploring the Relationship

Berry, Damon; Casey, Shaun; Copulsky, Jerome; Hawkins, Larycia; Hawley, George; Jones, Paul Dafydd; Kim, Dorothy; Mathewes, Charles; McAlister, Melani; Papanikolaou, Aristotle; Perry, Larry; Taylor, Adam Russell

The emergence of the alt-right into mainstream American politics during the 2016 presidential election caught many commentators by surprise. Prior to the election, loosely connected far-right groups were typically considered fringe and politically insignificant. After the election, the alt-right seems to be a dynamic and effective force, one that is both courted and denounced.

It is commonplace to say that the United States is a nation that, more often than not, embraces a close relationship between religion and politics. It is less clear, however, what this close relationship means with respect to the alt-right. Scholars are only beginning to investigate the origins, ideologies, and makeup of the alt-right—and to gauge what place, if any, religion has in this movement. The conference offered a status report on research into the relationship between Christianity and the alt-right.

This interdisciplinary conference assembled scholars to investigate the state of inquiry on the alt-right and religion. The event featured three panels of experts from a variety of fields who explored the historical roots of the movement, the current state of affairs, and future trends, paying close attention to issues of history, ritual, faith, theology, and the like. In addition to discussing the nature of the relationship between religion and the alt-right, participants identified gaps in research and future lines of scholarly inquiry.

This event was co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the University of Virginia’s Project on Religion and its Publics.