Faculty in the Media: On Modern Jihad, Right-Wing Extremism, and the Crisis of Liberalism; and Gunpower and American Exceptionalism

BISR faculty Suzanne Schneider sits downs with Robert Wright, host of Bloggingheads.tv, for an extensive and in-depth discussion of her recent book, The Apocalypse and the End of History, in which she explores the striking parallels between the modern form of jihad and right-wing extremism in the West (Trumpism being just one, albeit salient, example), asking: what undergirds this remarkable congruence? The answer, she argues, is a common—global—crisis of legitimacy, where the stories we’ve been telling for decades have ceased to be convincing and the ordinary ways of registering discontent have ceased to be effective. 

And, in the wake of a devastating spate of mass shootings, BISR faculty Patrick Blanchfield speaks to the roots—material and ideological—of Americans’ attachment to guns. In one interview with NPR’s Evan Dawson, Blanchfield explores what exactly comprises the American sense of its own exceptionalism, and how mass shooting events uniquely reveal the distinctive features of it. And, in another, Blanchfield joins The Dig podcast, where he offers a sweeping historical perspective on what he calls American “gunpower”—a term describing the link, from the pre-revolutionary era onwards, between state formation, processes of racialization, and the development of the arms industry.

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