Extreme Heat: White Nationalism in the Age of Climate Change

HIST 258-401

Anne Berg

Monday 2:00-5:00 PM

The Amazon is burning. The glaciers are melting. Heat waves, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and droughts devastate ever larger swaths of the earth, producing crop failures, air pollution, soil erosion, famine and terrifying individual hardship. At the same, time the so-called Western World is literally walling itself off from the millions who are fleeing from disaster and war with what little they can carry. White militants chant "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us," social media spreads memes and talking points about "white genocide" and "white replacement" and online ideologues fantasize about building white ethnostates. Are these developments connected? Is there a causal relationship? Or are these conditions purely coincidental? Increasingly, arguments about limits to growth, sustainability, development and climate change have come to stand in competitive tension with arguments for social and racial equality. Why is that case? What are the claims and underlying anxieties that polarize western societies? How do white nationalist movements relate to populist and fascist movements in the first half of the 20th century? What is new and different about them now? What is the relationship between environmentalism, rightwing populism and the climate crisis? And how have societies responded to the climate crisis, wealth inequality, finite resources and the threat posed by self-radicalizing white nationalist groups?

This course fulfills the EH Minor Requirement in Arts & Humanities Approaches to Environmental Inquiry. See the full minor requirements list.

Fall 2020