A major conference on radical right extremism was held recently at Richmond, having been organised by the Centre for the Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) and attended by over 100 academics and experts (including police forces) in radical right extremism, fascism and the far-right. Entitled, ‘A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches’, the Conference focused on the development of radical right extremism since the formation of Mussolini’s Fasci Italiani di Combattimento movement in 1919. The aim of the Conference was to examine both historical and contemporary forms of radical right extremism, as well as incorporating perspectives on this global issue. The organisers of the Conference incorporated special strands for Early Career Researchers (ECRs), including workshops on engaging with the media and publishing.

CARR’s inaugural conference kicked off with a welcome by Sara Khan, award-winning counter-extremism and women’s rights campaigner, author and commentator and Britain’s Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism.

Sara Khan opened the conference by saying, “I’m here to discuss, debate and above all, to learn about the threat of extremism and the ways to challenge it. We need to respond to the mainstreaming of extremism with a toolkit of tailored and effective responses, with the help of academics and practitioners.

Challenging extremism isn’t just a job for government. We need a strong network of support. I want to see academics and NGOs partner and share best practice. Countering extremism needs more debate, not less.

In addition to Sara Khan’s opening speech, there were contributions by the Government’s Extremism Analysis Unit and counter-extremism programme, Building Stronger Britain Together (BSBT). CARR also launched a major report on defining anti-Muslim prejudice, alongside key materials on understanding and countering radical right extremism.

Sara Khan’s speech can now be found on the UK Governments website.

A graphic novel entitled, ‘Sunday’s Child’ by Serena Katt, Adjunct Lecturer at Richmond, was unofficially launched at the conference, having been recently awarded best graphic Novel of the Month by the Observer.

Far right radicalism is studied at Richmond as part of several academic programmes, including the BA International History, BA Political Science and BA International Relations.

Dom Alessio, Professor of History at Richmond said, “We are extremely fortunate to have internationally renowned academics who are experts in their field, providing students with an excellent understanding of international politics and history.

It is important for students to analyse and understand the root causes of political extremism in its many guises. An academic discussion of extremism provides an opportunity to understand the issues better, identifying ways of preventing terrorism and ultimately bringing people together for the benefit of society. For those students interested in history it also demonstrates the relevance of their chosen field of enquiry. History is just as much about the present and the future as it is about the past.