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Headshot image of Cynthia Idriss Miller on the left, and the cover of her most recent book, Hate In The Homeland, on the right

The 2022 Inaugural Luce Lecture

International Education

On April 6th, 2022, The NYU Steinhardt International Education Program welcomed Cynthia Miller-Idriss as our first guest speaker for our Inaugural Luce Lecture. During Dr.Miller-Idriss' presentation, she explains how tomorrow’s far-right nationalists are recruited from surprising places, from college campuses and mixed martial arts gyms to clothing stores, online gaming chat rooms, and YouTube cooking channels.

Please note that as part of this research, some offensive propaganda is shared in the recording’s presentation. The use of this propaganda is for educational purposes only and does not reflect the opinions of the presenter or the IE program.

Watch the Panel

Welcome Address:
Dana Burde, NYU

Dr. Cynthia Miller Idriss, American University
Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an award-winning author and scholar of extremism and radicalization. She directs the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC, where she is also Professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the School of Education. Dr. Miller-Idriss has testified before the U.S. Congress and regularly briefs policy, security, education and intelligence agencies in the U.S., the United Nations, and other countries on trends in domestic violent extremism and strategies for prevention and disengagement. She serves on the international advisory board of the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) in Oslo, Norway and is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)'s Tracking Hate and Extremism Advisory Committee. Dr. Miller-Idriss writes frequently for many publications, including The Atlantic Current Affairs, MSNBC, and The Washington Post.

Key Points From the Lecture

Youth Radicalization and Global Far-Right Extremism

Youth Radicalization: 

Radicalization is the process of coming to accept an ideology that pits Us vs. Them, in existential terms so that the “other” group is seen as posing a threat to one’s way of life. Youth radicalization focuses on how and where today’s young people are seeing far-right propaganda, how they are engaging with it, and how it gets produced. Dr. Idriss-Miller’s most recent book, Hate in the Homeland, focused on the question of where it happens and the flawed, vast, and ever expanding online and offline ecosystem of exposure to extremist propaganda.


The use of propaganda symbols in fashion:

This presentation explores how propaganda symbols and messaging has seeped into clothing brands across the globe, and how varying degrees of legality perpetuate the usage of these messages. Over time, messages and symbols relating to extremism have been reworked into not-so-subtle codes that advertise the far-right agenda. Today, a wide range of for-profit companies and brands sell high-quality, expensive clothing that is laced with alphanumeric codes signifying extremist messaging. One example discussed by Dr. Miller-Idriss is the act of dropping vowels from words to present a legal portrayal of the message. 


The evolution of far-right messaging: 

As the internet and social media have become more prevalent in society, far-right extremists have tapped into the near-instantaneous ability to share messages using humor and wit to entice their audience. Dr. Cynthia Idriss-Miller references memes, cartoons, and media (tv, movies, books, etc.) and explains how they have been warped to spread the far-right agenda. 

The use of humor, wit, satire, and irony positions the far-right youth culture as the counter-culture who gets to claim an edgy, humorous culture against a triggered mainstream.