‘The Northwest American Republic: Dreams of White Forefathers’
SPOKANE, Wash. – American University Law Professor Robert L. Tsai will discuss American Nazis’ efforts to claim the Pacific Northwest as their white homeland in a lecture titled, “The Northwest American Republic: Dreams of White Forefathers” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30 in the Gonzaga University School of Law Barbieri Courtroom. The free lecture is open to the public and sponsored by the Gonzaga University Institute for Hate Studies and the Journal of Hate Studies.
Tsai will discuss how just a few years ago several leaders of the Aryan movement – some of whom are now in federal prison – participated in an e-convention. In the wake of the Aryan Nations collapse, these figures developed a draft constitution for a proposed Pacific Northwest white homeland in which they cast themselves as the “authentic heirs” of the American political tradition and interwove European history with American constitutionalism.
Their collective effort to adopt a constitutional framework and imagine a “Northwest American Republic” represents a new wrinkle in the movement’s tactics, which include more mainstream outreach and political organizing as well as appropriation of regionally popular ideas and images. Tsai argues the contemporary movement still seeks to “liberate America from multiculturalism and feminism” and challenges the authority of the Constitution and its sovereign proclamation, “We the People of the United States.”
An expert in American constitutional theory and history, Tsai is the author of “America’s Forgotten Constitutions: Defiant Visions of Power and Community” (Harvard University Press) and “Eloquence and Reason: Creating a First Amendment Culture” (Yale University Press). A multiple-award winner for exemplary interdisciplinary scholarship and law teaching, Tsai holds degrees from Yale Law School and University of California, Los Angeles. Before entering the academy, he clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals (1st Circuit) and the U.S. District Court (Southern District of New York). He served as guest editor of the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies’ Journal of Hate Studies, Vol. 10, “Hate and Political Discourse,” for which a special symposium was held in Washington, D.C. in fall 2012.
The lecture is part of the Human Solidarity and Security Speaker Series and is co-sponsored by Gonzaga Law School and the Alliance for Social Justice.