Kathleen Belew, University of Chicago

Assistant Professor Chicago, Illinois belew@uchicago.edu

Bio/Research

Belew specializes in the recent history of the United States, examining the long aftermath of warfare. Her first book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (under contract with Harvard University Press), explores how white power activists wrought a cohesive social...

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Bio/Research

Belew specializes in the recent history of the United States, examining the long aftermath of warfare. Her first book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (under contract with Harvard University Press), explores how white power activists wrought a cohesive social movement through a common story about the Vietnam War and its weapons, uniforms, and technologies. By uniting previously disparate Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, skinhead, and other groups, the movement carried out escalating acts of violence that ricocheted through Latin America, southern Africa, and the United States, revealing white power as a transnational phenomenon. Bring the War Home shows how this paramilitary fringe movement augmented, clashed with, and challenged other militarizations in the same time period, including paramilitary foreign policy and extralegal intervention, militarized policing, and the growth of the carceral state. White power activists often collided with refugees displaced by US warfare, and reinforced state border patrols at home and covert interventions abroad. While some have understood these actors as part of a culture of masculinity, white power paramilitarism was also a cohesive social movement comprising a wide range of activists and supporters, including women and families. This account connects the overtly racist organizing of the 1980s with the militia movement, culminating in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

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