Radicalized on Campus? (Un)Coded Whiteness as Campus Social Movement

  • Nicholas Francis Havey (University of California, Los Angeles)


This paper explores how whiteness is rhetorically employed in the recruitment and organizational strategies of conservative student campus groups prior to, during, and after the 2016 US presidential election cycle and during the 2020 presidential election cycle. Drawing on both critical whiteness studies and social movements, this study examines how conservative students engage in framing processes designed to convert non-adherents to adherents of a group ideology and interrogates how whiteness influences this framing. Through a multi-site case study analysis incorporating observation, interviews, and a critical document analysis of over100 unique articles and student group artifacts (flyers, social media posts, student newspaper editorials) and over 2000 tweets over two distinct time points, I find that conservative student groups are employing whiteness to recruit new students over shared experiences “coming out” as conservative, identifying as the academically and intellectually rigorous side of the campus political debate, and disidentifying with contemporary campus liberalism. 

Keywords: campus political groups, whiteness, social movements

How to Cite:

Havey, N. F., (2020) “Radicalized on Campus? (Un)Coded Whiteness as Campus Social Movement”, Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis 10(1). doi:



Published on
04 Nov 2020
Peer Reviewed