Before coming to UMass Amherst, I earned my BA in Philosophy and Political Science and then my MA in Political Science at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.
My main interests lie in the History of Political Thought as well as Contemporary Social and Political Theory. My broad areas of interest include: critical theory, existential philosophy, American political thought, racial and ethnic politics, violence and extremism, philosophy of education, critical pedagogy, and civic engagement. My dissertation is centered on white nationalism and conspiracy theory in contemporary American politics.
My work analyzes the language and behavior of political actors in groups like the Proud Boys, interpreting their words and lending it both historical and political context. I show that groups like the Proud Boys rely on a framework of loss and nostalgia to situate their claims for restoring ‘a spirit of Western chauvinism’ in the United States. I also show how conspiratorial thinking animates violent right-wing groups, binds them together in loose coalitions, and draws in an ever-greater number of supporters who might not otherwise openly express white nationalist, violent, and/or racist right-wing beliefs. In part, I display - through the language of believers - how the phenomenon of QAnon adherence reflects the power of conspiratorial thinking. Such power is revealed in the violent political effects QAnon has had when it has escaped beyond the internet imageboards on which it was born.
- Political Science