Founded in 2009 at the University of California, the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies (formerly the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements) is a research unit dedicated to the study of right-wing movements in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Our approach is to look at the Right in its diversity. Some movements focus on social or religious issues, some on nationalism or race, sometimes with militaristic tendencies, others on economic doctrines. The most successful right-wing movements manage to assemble coalitions that include elements from more than one of these categories. With the end of the cold war, anti-communism exhausted as a unifying force particular right-wing movements. Pent-up for decades, particular right-wing movements now spun on to the political stage with renewed energy and sometimes remarkable political appeal. In a few cases, these groups have managed to find a basis for alliance and have come to power. Others have created chaotic international hot spots. In this country a populist movement has come into being since the Obama election espousing fierce antipathy toward American liberalism in the name of "tradition American values" while claiming as well dissatisfaction with the direction of the Republican Party.
The mission of the Center, which is housed at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI), is twofold: first, to identify right-wing movements, flesh out their twentieth-century histories (how they aligned and how they survived) while isolating their novel aspects in the 21st century; and second, to develop and apply principles of how right-wing thought, ideology and organizational capacities operate to understand the state of the contemporary Right and identify its likely directions and successes. In addition to its research activities, the Center publishes findings, offers mini-grants, fellowships and training opportunities to Berkeley students, and brings together leading scholars through conferences, colloquia, and other public events in order to share new research and engage in interdisciplinary dialog related to this field of study. A member of the American Museum Association, the Center is actively engaged in building an archive containing video and print materials on the Right, and making these materials available to local, national and international scholars. (Read more about the Center's archived collections here.)