Letter from the Editor

The Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies is now over fourteen years old. During this time we have become something of a collegial hub for scholars of the right in diverse disciplines and at universities around the world. Our programs have expanded over the years:

  • We have mounted over sixty presentations open to the public on issues of the right.
  • We have organized half a dozen conferences, from an early look at the Tea Party to broad right-wing-studies conferences that have had as many as ninety panels and speakers from a dozen countries.
  • We have hosted large numbers of visiting scholars from universities both in the US and around the world.
  • On the UC Berkeley campus we have mentored both graduate and undergraduate students of the right, and supported the research of many of them.
  • We have developed a robust program of diverse archives, which have served scholars and media researchers.
  • We have become a go-to resource for media of all kinds, print and electronic, participating in hundreds of interviews, which we believe have had an important role in shaping public awareness of the contemporary right.

Behind all this work we have nurtured the conviction that Right-Wing Studies constitutes a serious and important academic discipline. Throughout our expanding community of scholars this has become a widely shared idea. In our view, the launching of the Journal of Right-Wing Studies is the culmination of that conviction. With pride we offer JRWS as a principal organ of the field.

But JRWS has a larger scope. We are launching the journal in a period of extraordinary right-wing mobilization across the globe. Democracy versus autocracy has become a standard talking point of liberal politicians in the Western world. Militant movements in these countries have aligned ideologically with illiberal regimes, where political discourse focuses on maintaining ethnic, religious, gender, and racial hierarchies in the name of “traditional” values versus the imposition of the “woke” agenda. Such a government has come to power in Italy. Red states in the USA are copying the model of Hungary’s Orbán government by institutionalizing in law restrictions on voting, on education, on the independence of the judiciary, and even on corporate behavior.

Perhaps not since the 1930s and 1940s have concerned citizens been so aware of the threats facing liberal democracy. In this environment, we want to make JRWS available to as wide an audience as possible, including beyond the academy. The journal will be published open access, without economic barriers for readers or authors, through the California Digital Library’s eScholarship Publishing program. In addition to traditional academic research papers, we will publish essays, commentary, and book reviews.

With Issue One of the journal, we are presenting a look at the contemporary right across the globe, with articles on Turkey, the Philippines, India, Japan, Western Europe, Hungary and Poland, Brazil, the United States, and more. We welcome readers everywhere.

Lawrence Rosenthal

July 4, 2023