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Modern History and Contemporary Political Thought

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Dr Bethan Johnson is an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Cambridge with a PhD in History and an MPhil in Modern British History. Her research explores how the interlocking threads of identity politics fuel radicalization towards political violence and terrorism.

Dr Johnson is currently researching the contemporary far-right in Western nations, with a particular emphasis on extremism and terrorism. She has undertaken work for the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism and the European Commission, received the Terrorism Research Award, and is the commissioning editor of the book series Analyzing Political Violence.

Her doctorate examined the ideological foundations of violent ethno-nationalist separatist movements in Western Europe and North America in the mid-Cold War era. It demonstrated how leaders of violent movements constructed nativist and counter-hegemonic narratives through the exploitation of socio-political tensions about globalisation and inequality to spur violence. 

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Selected Recent Work


‘Tis the Season to Sell Extremism: Far-Right Christmas Ads and the Parallel Economy

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Reassessing the Financing of Terrorism in 2022


‘All my Heroes are Dead’: The Untimely Demise of The American Futurist – James Mason Partnership

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Tech, Buddhism, and Rock & Roll

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Global Rise in Far-Right Extreme Networks Amid Storming of US Capitol


The radical Right is learning from the GameStop squeeze

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Teenage Neo-Nazi Group Leader Becomes One of Britain’s Youngest Convicted Terrorists


Boys to Men: the Violent Teenagers of the Radical Right

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Briefing - Financing Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism

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