The project's hypothesis posits that the 1930s saw the emergence of interracial, interethnic, and internationalist protest practices in anti-fascist spaces, influenced by the growing racism within global fascist networks. It suggests that these practices continued in the 1950s, framing the fight against colonial structures and white supremacy as part of the anti-fascist lineage. The research aims to yield significant results and scientific breakthroughs in global protest studies against the extreme right, with a focus on intersectional research and a decolonized approach.
The main objective of the LGP-project is to analyze the development and transformation of global anti-fascist and anti-racist protest cultures and practices by localizing and integrating them in 4 urban, multiethnic environments that are analyzed from an intersectional and comparative perspective. The project will make a significant contribution to the history of 20th century protest movements against the extreme right. Rather than focusing on resistance movements within fascist or totalitarian dictatorships, the anti-fascist protest movements in this research project are selected by their ability to work openly in democratic countries, including the USA, the UK, and the Union of South Africa. There, protest movements tried to forge an ‘anti-fascist public’ and subsequently organize contentious politics through movements, campaigns, rallies, demonstrations, meetings, congresses, and cultural events that aimed to affect the political landscape and the formation of 20th century global civil society (Vials, 2014; Tarrow, 2011).
Locating the Global in Multiethnic Metropoles: Historians of fascism and Nazism have pioneered the transnational, international and global turn in the study of fascist movements and regimes (Larsen, 2001; Finchelstein, 2010; Bauerkämper & Rossoliński-Liebe, 2017). Paradoxically, the history of global fascism, or fascist internationalism, has not been studied in tandem with protest movements against fascism. They have typically remained separate historiographical fields and while ‘fascism studies’ has grown exponentially, the study of anti-fascism has in comparison remained surprisingly limited (Seidman, 2018). The separation of these research fields is perhaps understandable on a macro level, but when localizing global movements, it is evident that anti-fascism and fascism were in a highly entangled and confrontational relation on the civil society level that must be studied in tandem.
The LGP-project will challenge the current state-of-the-art by investigating four multiethnic metropoles around the anglophone Atlantic to realize an international comparison. The main significance of this change of perspective is motivated by the recent critique of global and transnational history advanced by global historians such as Sebastian Conrad, Katja Naumann and Antje Dietze (e.g. Dietze & Naumann, 2018). Conrad points out that there is a degree of “fetishisation” in transnational and global research designs that only focus on mobility, transfers and circulations, but that do not seriously elaborate on the local or national relevance. Although transnational history has been a vital innovation that significantly has challenged methodological nationalism, it risks disconnecting us from how ideas, movements and practices were integrated or embedded into local contexts and different social, political, ethnic, and cultural settings (Conrad, 2016). Conrad’s critique challenges us to develop new methodological approaches by scaling down, or localizing the transnational analysis, but still retaining a global perspective. With these interventions in mind, this project will take a significant step forward in the analysis of how transnational anti-fascism (i.e., movements and actors that were connected to international networks and organizations) interacted and encountered local and global fascisms on the local level. It will enable us to see through the different ‘layers’ within cities (Goebel, 2015) and facilitate international comparisons of anti-fascist articulations. By studying multiple localities, the objective of the LGP-project is to push the research field toward new vital global historicalperspectives that enable systematic comparisons between anti-fascist protest cultures.
Globalization and De-colonization: While the anglophone Atlantic certainly does not represent the world, global metropoles offer a setting where ethnically and culturally diverse groups co- excited and interacted. Because of imperialism and global migration flows, global metropoles in the anglophone Atlantic became among the most diverse, multiethnic environments available for study. As multiethnicity has during the 20th century become the dominant feature of urban life, it offers an analytical arena that is relevant in both past and present investigations of the confrontations with right-wing extremism. Recent interventions have shown that these spaces need to be continuously de-colonized, which in the context of anti-fascism studies means that we need to systematically connect the histories of anti-fascism to questions of anti- racism, anti-colonialism and left and liberal internationalism that – at least momentarily – could advance various forms of interracial and cross-class cooperation that challenged traditional (mono)ethnic solidarities (Smith, 2017; Bergin, 2021). Decolonization can not only be located to the colonial world but plays a crucial role in the metropole too. The opportunities for open political protest in the colonial countries were still in the mid 20th century severely limited due to the extensive suppression of all ‘subversive’ political activism. The major metropoles in the democratic countries became thereby the focal points of global protest activities, although security and police services also posed their limitations (Brückenhaus, 2017).
Globalising Anti-Fascism: Thanks to the results from my Academy of Finland Postdoc Project “Towards a Global History of Anti-Fascism” (2017–20) this new project starts from an outstanding empirical and conceptual knowledge base (Braskén, 2020; Braskén, 2021; Braskén 2022), but which now tackles the critique of Conrad, et.al, through an innovative research concept. During the past decade, a pivotal re-thinking of the European history of anti-fascism and anti-fascist memory cultures has taken place (García, et.al., 2016; García, 2016; Copsey & Olechnowicz, 2010; Braskén, Copsey, Lundin, 2019). Research has expanded beyond traditional European core countries, and new transnational perspectives have become dominant. However, a crucial globalization of the research field was first initiated by the edited volume Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective (Braskén, Copsey, Featherstone, 2021) that includes case studies from e.g., Syria, India, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Still, individual research efforts have usually been limited by nationally bound frameworks with few possibilities for the realization of comparative case studies based on systematic basic research that span over several countries or continents. This project therefore offers an innovative path forward through a conceptual, methodological, and theoretical re-thinking of how histories of protest against the extreme right can be studied.
A Contested Concept: There is a vivid ongoing discussion about the limits and varieties of anti- fascism and several efforts to broaden the perspectives from limited far left groups to liberal, and even conservative actors have been made (Seidman, 2018; Vials, 2014). As these results have shown, the concept of ‘anti-fascism’ is sometimes misleadingly exclusively associated with communism, the Stalinist USSR, the Eastern European communist states, or interpreted as part and parcel of totalitarian ideologies. However, when investigating the historical record of the interwar and postwar years, anti-fascism reveals itself as a much broader and variable phenomenon (Traverso, 2016). It is important to stress that anti-fascism was (and remains) a highly contested and ambiguous concept that is given various moral and ideological meanings and emotional connotations, yet still being united by an ‘anti-fascist minimum’ – ‘a shared belief that fascism is antithetical to Enlightenment concepts of humanity and society’ (Copsey, 2010: xiv-xv). Anti-fascist articulations could also take controversial forms, and its connection to stalinism was particularly compromising, but anti-fascism as a social movement still maintained different shapes and forms: it could be fought through militant struggles or headed by working class organizations, but it also found a powerful intellectual expression in a cultural ‘humanist anti-fascism’ through visual arts, literature, and theatre (Agocs, 2017). In this project, the focus is on transnational and transatlantic civil society actors and movements that include social movement actors and organizations from both liberal and progressive circles and various organizations on the political left. Although their end goals varied significantly, the mobilization of protest against the extreme right (often described with the terms fascism/Nazism) offered a frame that could bring about alliances across class and ethnic lines, and across urban geographies to form new spaces for protest. The contested nature of anti-fascism as an idea, practice and movement makes it an extraordinarily fruitful research topic: It was not only a struggle between fascists and anti-fascists, but also involved an intense conceptual debate among the proponents of anti-fascism too. These debates and confrontations have left a substantial historical record that hitherto has been insufficiently utilized in research. In the anglophone world the rise of the Nazi movement and dictatorship in Germany was met by a powerful, but multifaceted, response. German Nazism was of profound importance for the global far right that was energized by Germany and mobilized in various extreme right organizations and sympathizing far right political projects. Parallel to this global surge, it has been argued that the Great Depression (1929–1939) resulted in radical realignments in social movements, especially in North America. In cities where immigrant politics had previously been set up according to ethnic lines were now increasingly re- aligned in groups that were significantly more inter-ethnic and multiethnic in their character (McDonald, 2007). The recent research on international racism and anti-racism also provides the project with significant starting points (Berg &Wendt, 2011; Bhattacharyya, Virdee & Winter, 2020).
Periodization and Localization: The LGP-project’s multi-ethnic locations are studied during the 1930s (1930–1939/41) and the 1950s (1948–1960). The research questions are studied through the analysis of Cape Town, London, New York City and Chicago. They have been chosen, firstly, due to their strong multiethnic character and, secondly, due to the location of Nazi/fascist organizations, consulates and embassies, and the known fact that substantial local fascist and anti-fascist groups were formed within these cities that were connected to the transnational and global fascist and anti-fascist movements. The select metropoles played significant roles in the history of black internationalism, radical labor unionism, communism and socialism, and immigrant radicalism. The first period constitutes the heyday of anti-fascist mobilization that culminated in a temporary liberal-left ‘anti-fascist moment’ between 1942 and 1947 (Eley, 1996). However, the conditions during the war severely limited civil society activism and is thereby excluded from the analysis. With the start of the Cold War, anti-communism became (again) hegemonic in the anglophone world (Smith 2017b). Significantly, the LGP-project aims to extend the analysis to the early Cold War to investigate how the multiethnic anti-fascist solidarities were re-articulated and what spatial changes occurred in the metropoles? In the second period, one of the most crucial moments of reconceptualization was enabled by the installation of the South African Apartheid regime in 1948 that was immediately identified by international and local anti- fascists as a Nazi-like system of racial oppression. All the metropoles became central places for the global anti-apartheid and anti-racist struggles of the mid 20th century. More generally, the oppression of the Jews in Nazi Germany was openly compared to the racial oppression of the Africans on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1950s (Hyslop, Braskén & Ross, 2022). In the multiethnic centers, the fascist danger was now perceived in relation to Apartheid, the Iberian dictatorships of Franco and Salazar, the right-wing populist regimes in Latin America, and the re-emerging local fascist and racist networks partly carried on by interwar fascists like Oswald Mosely in Britain. The return of anti-fascism was also crucially connected to the rise of black consciousness movements and Third Worldism that started with the Bandung Conference in 1955. During the 1950s the anti-colonial resistance was increasingly perceived as a continuation of the wartime anti-fascist struggle (Brazzoduro 2020) and the left advanced arguments that the colonial system constituted a fascist-type racialized rule. Fascism became a label used to describe various opponents, but which also enabled the creation of new inter-ethnic alliances. Were anti-fascist actors who were critical of colonialism marginalized or ousted from liberal spaces and how were reviving fascist territorializations countered on the civil society level? Many anti-fascist practices of the 1930s, from boycott campaigns, rallies, and demonstrations, and the picketing the embassies of countries seen as fascist, came to fruition again. The culmination was the creation of the global anti-apartheid movement in 1960 on the initiative of the African and Indian Congresses in South Africa, after the massacre in Sharpeville (Thörn, 2006). However, as the ANC was pushed underground it concludes the second period as the conditions for open protest in Cape Town became too limited for the LGP-project’s comparative purposes.
The main objective of the LGP-project is to analyze the development and transformation of global anti-fascist protest cultures and practices and compare the creation of anti-fascist and anti-racist spaces in multiethnic environments. The multiethnic settings offer the project important ‘translocal’ cases in the sense that they all were places where diverse peoples and cultures converged, clashed, and interacted (Cole, 2018). In Seidman’s recent book on ‘transatlantic anti- fascism’ the Atlantic is purely imagined as a North Atlantic space with no efforts to decolonize the subject (he also ends with 1945). It moreover overlooks the important contributions by black, colored and white anti-fascists in (and from) the global south. In the struggle between fascism and anti-fascism, this project argues that the metropoles functioned as significant “portals of globalization” where competing forms of territorialization took place, and where a vital struggle over the local dominance of transnational entanglements occurred in relation to far right and left- liberal movements (for the analytical terminology, see Middell & Naumann 2010). While the fight against fascist spatial claims on the streets has previously been studied (e.g. Pinto & Pries 2019), the LGP-project looks more comprehensively at the process of territorialization by including the cultural sphere through the concept of ‘soft power’.
It is also of methodological relevance that the study is confined to the anglophone countries as the concepts of ‘fascism/Nazism’ were new and developing terms that needed to be translated, explained, and contextualized in the English language. What was South African fascism, or American, or British fascism from an anti-fascist perspective and how did the struggle against them diverge? The Academy Research Fellow funding provides a unique framework to realize a systematic collection of internationally located primary sources. The projects’ comparative research questions are divided according to an intersectional analytical approach that spotlights the tensions between class, ethnicity and gender. They formed arenas where fascism and racism were confronted and led to the opening of new anti-fascist spaces and portals.
1: An intersectional research approach: How was the relation between class and ethnicity, or class and race, negotiated in anti-fascist and anti-racist alliances? It has been argued that in South Africa two separate forms of anti-fascism evolved during the 1930s, one ‘black anti-fascism’ and one ‘white anti-fascism’ (Hyslop, 2021). Did such separate forms of anti-fascism develop within racially and culturally constructed boundaries, and when and how did these partly separate anti- fascisms converge? What entanglements in their critique of fascism developed in the project’s 4 cities? Can we identify learning processes across ethnic and class boundaries that show the growth of shared protest practices? In what moments were inter-ethnic / interracial collaboration visibly and symbolically established in anti-fascist alliances beyond ethnically and linguistically separated enclaves and segregated city landscapes? This could easily be imagined in South Africa in combination with the black freedom struggle, in the UK in the fight against systemic racism, or in the USA in the fight against Jim Crow and segregation. In other cases, anti-fascism could be used for opposite aims, for a certain type of ethnic stereotyping, when e.g. German immigrants in anglophone countries were perceived as potential Nazis, although their ethnic background naturally did not reveal if they were fascists or anti-fascists.
CLASS: The left pioneered interracial organizing in both the USA, the UK, and South Africa and framed the struggle against fascism as an integral a part of the class struggle. Significantly, labor was never free from prejudice or racism, or white laborism, and they argued that it was ‘class, not race’ that formed the basis for social movements (Häberlen, 2012; Berger & Smith, 1999; Buchanan, 2016). How did left movements craft their internationalist anti-fascist protest spaces and how did traces of racism lead to ambiguous intersections between anti-fascism, anti- colonialism, and anti-racism? ETHNICITY: The project’s 4 cities were the home of large continents of immigrants and exiles from fascist countries. Substantial communities of Germans and Italians lived in New York City, Chicago, and London, while the only larger recipient of German and Jewish emigrants and exiles on the African Continent during the 1930s was South Africa. However, diasporic nationalism was heterogenous, just as the African American and Afro-British examples from NYC, Chicago and London show. How did the question of anti-fascism and anti-racism divide or unite ethnic groups and create new inter-ethnic spaces in the fight against fascism? The internal divisions were especially poignant in immigrant communities whose home countries had turned to fascism. How did the softening of the class struggle in favor of ethnic and alternative anti-fascist national solidarities affect the creation of anti-fascist spaces beyond working class circles and ethnic clusters? GENDER: The women’s question and the roles assigned to women and men in the anti-fascist fight were also highly contested (Gottlieb, 2012; Lynn, 2016). It is important to include the tensions between vision and practice that affected the anti-fascist movements too. Even in these movements, women were often idolized as mothers or daughters in need of protection, while working class men appeared in masculine attires prepared for a militant anti- fascist fight (Umoren, 2018; Kirschenbaum, 2015). What examples of gendered anti-fascist roles can be identified, how did they change over time, and how did they affect the creation of anti- fascist spaces? How did women of color navigate in the multiethnic metropoles between ethnic and class identities and in which ways could they be empowered in and by anti-fascism?
2: Anti-fascist and fascist territorialization. Anti-fascism was not just an abstract idea, but a notion that territorialized and localized itself in various spaces and places. Fascist and anti-fascist spaces were created in the metropoles and became the cites of identity politics and significant symbolical confrontations. Where were contested spaces of anti-fascism created and how did they change over time? All the cities were segregated or at least substantially divided in different ‘ethnic clusters’ and aligned according to pre-existing immigrant networks and social classes. It is thus crucial to try to identify the venues, the cites of demonstrations, and the areas of physical clashes between fascists and anti-fascists through the use of GIS-mapping tools. What symbolical locations became stages of anti-fascist protests – how were embassies and consulates of fascist countries targeted, how were local sightings of international fascist symbols confronted; how were ships sailing under fascist flags (like the SS Bremen in NYC in 1935), goods and delegates arriving from fascist countries opposed; or how were local fascist parties and groups resisted around their own bureaus, camps, and places of demonstration? The comparative analysis will reveal significant new knowledge about the spaces that became most strongly associated with anti-fascist politics and culture. It also directly connects the many international anti-fascist organizations to the geographic conditions in the cities. Change over time is also acknowledged – what spaces opened and in which areas? The project investigates the vital territorialization efforts that were advanced by international organizations together with their local partners. It included speaking tours by international anti-fascists and fascists, traveling journalists, artists, intellectuals, and exiles. They enabled vital anti-fascist and fascist connections and transfers across the anglophone Atlantic. The LGP-project is especially interested in comparing how the local resistance to global fascist propaganda campaigns were articulated. These fascist campaigns targeted all major metropoles and offers a unique possibility for comparison.
THE HYPOTHESIS of the project is that the rising role of racism in global fascist networks during the 1930s resulted in the formation of interracial, interethnic and internationalist protest practices in anti-fascist spaces across class, gender, color and culture lines. As a result, the fight against colonial structures and white supremacy in the 1950s was framed as a part of the anti-fascist lineage of the 1930s. If anti-fascism only brought a fleeting unity between left and liberal groups in Europe, could the practice of interracial organizing be identified as a crucial continuation for the formation of the anti-racist moments in the 1950s? The multiethnic metropole functions as an ideal laboratory for the study of the visions, ideas and practices that are spotlighted in the project. Moreover, as urban societies globally are increasingly diverse, the study of such protest activism seem especially timely and relevant.
1-2) Results and Scientific Impact: The project is designed to produce significant, new in depth results about global protest against the extreme right. The global comparative approach enhances the prospects for a truly global impact. Through its conceptual, methodological, and theoretical re-thinking of how histories of protest against the extreme right can be studied, the anticipated scientific impact is very high. By directly addressing multiple fields through the intersectional research concept (urban studies, protest studies, transnational and global history, social movement history, anti-fascism, anti-racism, internationalism, and spatial history) the results will connect to broader research areas that promise a significant scientific impact. My strong international track record in the research field makes this a very competitive proposal. The results will be communicated through an ambitious publication plan and a strong online presence with state-of-the-art GIS mapping tools. The project is supported by outstanding international research collaboration partners in the UK, the USA, South Africa, and Germany that will further guarantee scientific excellence.
3-4) Scientific breakthrough and renewal: The research outputs will promote a breakthrough in how transnational and comparative histories of protest are written. It will inspire more comparative historical scholarship as well as transatlantic and global histories of anti-fascism, anti-racism, and internationalism that analytically connect the interwar with the postwar periods. For scholars specializing on fascism in the USA, the UK, or South Africa it will offer new important results that are crucial for breaking free from methodological nationalism and inspire more transnational and global approaches. The project will decolonize the research topic and renew the field by implementing a global, intersectional and comparative framework that includes an original analysis of gender, racial, and class identities within territorialization patterns and spatial claims in anti-fascist and anti-racist histories.
NEW BASIC RESEARCH: The project is based on extensive basic research that combines the findings of global, national, and local/personal archives. 1) GLOBAL & INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES include foremostly the German Foreign Ministry archives in Berlin. My Academy of Finland postdoc research project (2017-20) showed the potential of reports from the global archive of German embassies and consulates that function as a unique, but underused source for the analysis of local anti-fascist protest movements around the globe. Additional research will be made in the archives of the NSDAP’s “Auslandsorganisation” / Foreign Organization, and the Anti- Comintern in Berlin that will reveal important counterintelligence and enemy reports of international anti-fascist activities. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the archives of the Communist International in Moscow are not accessible. However, thanks to earlier European digitalization projects, millions of documents are available online. I have during previous projects collected unique sources from Moscow that facilitate the global research on anti-fascist organizations and movements. The archives of the international trade union movement in Amsterdam and Warwick provide in their turn important collections on the global socialist movement, but that also provide a centralized collection of reports from activities taking place on the local level. On the liberal side, the archives of the Non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union will be included. The entry point for my research will be the archives of/about English and German left-liberal movements, anti- war movements and anti-fascist organizations and activists, such as workers’ clubs and anti- fascist committees and labor organizations and their main press outlets published in the 4 cities.
2) PRESS SOURCES: The project will utilize press sources and pamphlet collections to find evidence about how anti-fascism was localized by assembling data on demonstrations, clashes, cultural events and rallies. The German Exile Archives in Frankfurt am Main contain a substantial collection of digitalized exile newspapers and journals, which will form an important source for the project. The recent surge in digitalization enables unprecedented search capabilities in newspapers and journals. 3) POLICE and INTELLIGENCE ARCHIVES: For the study of anti-fascist protest practices, national and local police and surveillance archives will also be consulted as important external sources, such as the FBI-archives, the Metropolitan Police archives, Interior Ministry files, and “personal files” assembled by the MI5 and MI6. 4) PERSONAL PAPERS of key activists that were active during the 1930s and the 1950s will also be included.
The archival research plan is ambitious, but still feasible during a 4-year period. I have vast experience of international basic research and fully committed to the research tasks. The archival travels will be combined with mobility periods and utilized to connect with key researchers in South Africa, the UK, and the USA to gain local responses and comments. The global comparative analysis will be realized while visiting the global history department at the Freie Universität Berlin. It is exactly this method of combining global and local findings that will provide the project with groundbreaking results. The project is divided into five interlinked Work Packages (WP) that all contain important intermediary goals, mobility plans and significant research outcomes. WPs 1– 4 study how anti-fascist territorialization was established and changed from the 1930s to the 1950s by analysing them through the intersectional layers of class, ethnicity and gender. WP5 will complete the synchronic, diachronic and entangled analysis of anti-fascist territorializations.
WP1/Cape Town: Including a 2-month research visit at University of Cape Town (Africa’s top ranked university), Oct-Nov 2023. My visit will be used for archival research on Cape Town and to initiate a new collaboration with Senior Lecturer Bodhisattva Kar and the colleagues at the history department. Significantly, I have in 2022 co-edited a special issue of the South African Historical Journal titled ‘Anti-Fascism in Southern Africa 1919–2019’ (Hyslop, Braskén, Roos, 2022). It will function as an important entry point for my research in Cape Town. The WP will result in one peer reviewed article on the anti-fascist geographies in Cape Town and contribute to WP5.
WP2/London: Including a 4-month research visit to Queen Mary University of London, where Reader Madeleine Davis will host me at the School of Politics and International Relations, Feb-May 2024. During my time in London, I will conduct crucial research at the National Archives on anti-fascism in the UK and South Africa but also work at the many research libraries in London, participate in seminars and present the project at Queen Mary and contribute to WP1, WP2 and WP5. Moreover, the Labour History Archive & Study Centre in Manchester and the international trade union archives in Warwick will be visited. A WP-workshop will be organized at Queen Mary that will result in an edited volume focusing on anti-fascism in London. Nigel Copsey, as the leading voice on anti-fascism in Britain, will join as co-editor. I will co-author the intro and write a peer reviewed article on London’s anti-fascist geographies. The WP will be of lasting importance for my research career and for the project’s overall realization. For this WP a 12-month postdoc will be recruited to contribute to a comparative study of crucial Jewish anti-fascism in London and Cape Town that is primarily based on digitalized sources in Yiddish and Hebrew.
WP3/New York City: including a 2-month research visit to New York City (NYC) Oct–Nov 2024. I will conduct substantial archive research (described in the mobility section in the application form). Together with Professor Federico Finchelstein at the New School for Social Research in NYC, I will organize a workshop through an open CFP that will invite contributors to present papers on fascism and anti-fascism in NYC. The WP milestone will be an anthology on anti-fascism in NYC that will be based on the project’s intersectional research perspectives. Finchelstein is set to join as co-editor and collaborate with me during his visit in NYC. I have an excellent track record of coordinating and managing anthologies and special issues, which will secure the successful completion of this volume too. I will co-write the intro and contribute with a peer reviewed chapter. For this WP I will recruit a second 12-month postdoc who will study Chinese anti-fascism in New York and London. It is crucial for the understanding of how Japan’s war against China inspired the Chinese immigrant communities to engage in anti-fascist protest.
WP4/Chicago: including a 2-month visit to the Chicago area in March–April 2025. During the stay, I will present my research and do local archival research in the University of Chicago Library, The Newberry Library, and the Chicago History Museum’s Archive. Professor Peter Cole at Western Illinois University, an expert on American and South African urban history and interracial unionism will function as the main collaboration partner during the visit. Moreover, a two-week visit will be made to the Immigration History Research Center Archives at the University of Minnesota. The WP will result in a peer reviewed article where anti-fascist spaces of the 1930s and 1950s Chicago are compared between the German and African American communities.
WP5/Anti-Fascist Metropoles: including a 11-month research visit at Freie Universität Berlin, Aug. 2025–June 2026. All preceding WPs have contributed to WP5 that will see the completion of a research monograph that is written from an intersectional, comparative- thematic perspective that aims to rethink the history of anti-fascism through the 4 case studies. It will result in an innovative transatlantic, transnational, and comparative history that will thematically analyze the project’s intersectional research questions. The monograph will be written while visiting Michael Goebel who is highly acclaimed Einstein Professor at FU Berlin and who has specialized on urban global history. The mobility will present me with a critical opportunity to strengthen my contacts, now as a more senior independent researcher, to German global historians and to present the research results to an international, global historical audience. I will also do empirical work in the German Foreign Ministry Archives and the archives of the NSDAP’s Foreign Organization in Berlin, and the German exile archives in Frankfurt a/M. The monograph will start with a chapter that presents the four metropoles. The following chapters will analyze and compare the formation of anti-fascist territorialization efforts during anti-fascist protest during the 1930s and the 1950s, and investigate how class, ethnic and gender perspectives affected the ways in which anti-fascist spaces were imagined and realized. The first draft of the book will be written in Berlin and submitted in 2027 to an acclaimed university press. Each WP will constitute a learning process and directly contribute to WP5 which aims to make a lasting impact on the research field. The basic research will be aligned with mobility periods and major international conferences to save travel costs and support sustainable travel. Besides mobility periods, additional research costs have been budgeted for archive visits.
IN SUMMARY: The LGP-project’s ambitious publication plan includes: Two Edited Volumes: Anti-Fascist London: Class, Race and the Geographies of Resistance + Anti-Fascist and Anti-Racist Internationalism in New York City (in both, I will co-edit and co-write intro + two articles); One research monograph: Anti-Fascist Metropoles; three additional peer reviewed co- and single authored international journal articles with the LGP-postdocs. Moreover, we will write regular blog posts, and participate in podcasts. A project website with GIS StoryMaps of the 4 metropoles will be launched in 2024 that open the results to the wider public.
The project’s interdisciplinary methods are drawn from protest movement analysis (Jasper, 2014; Tarrow 2011), transnational and global history, urban and ethnic studies, comparative history and spatial history. The implementation of the plan is therefore centrally connected to methodological questions related to transnational and global history and the spatial turn (Middell & Roura, 2013). The spatial perspective enable an analysis of how spaces and spatial imaginaries shaped movements in the local and how movements created anti-fascist spaces. In combination with the comparative method we can analyze more complex movement dynamics and especially the unevenness in their developments (Cobarrubias & Pickles, 2009). For anti- fascist geographies, all accessible data will be catalogued in an open access database and analyzed via CGI mapping that shows how city geographies shaped anti-fascist protest practices. Reports on local anti-fascist activities in major newspapers can reveal how anti-fascist ideas and practices transpired beyond ethnic clusters or working-class circles and reached a wider public and territorialized new spaces in the urban enviroments. It can reveal how and when anti-fascism was framed as an ‘inter-ethnic affair’ that mainly concerning Jews, Germans, Italians, Africans, Spanish, Chinese, etc. and when it was perceived as a struggle of broader societal relevance. The data collection method is realized through the focus on central moments during the 1930s and the 1950s, which provides a substantial, but still feasible amount of data. Anti-fascist moments could be induced by external events when German, Italian, Spanish and South African fascists committed major atrocities. Secondly, important local moments led to territorialization claims when major clashes between fascists and anti-fascists occurred. The effective search in digitalized newspapers will be of vital importance to identify rallies, meetings, congresses and cultural events. The comparative method will allow a diachronic and synchronic analysis (Haupt & Kocka, 2009) between and within the metropoles that will reveal unseen and disparate patterns and social practices of anti-fascist activity.
The University of Helsinki offers a dynamic department of political history with a global mindset, and provides me with space to develop to full academic independence. The university presents outstanding collaboration possibilities, e.g. with the North American and African Studies unit, and the History Department. The realization of the project is supported by my national and international networks and accumulated research experience. The mobility periods enhance the project’s academic impact and promote possibilities for collaboration in new research environments.
The project’s conceptual framework is high-risk, high gain, but is managed with a supportive research environment and longstanding international collaborative relations. Operational risks are handled through alternative implementation strategies that are set in place if e.g. travel is partly prohibited, as I can reschedule visits or try to utilize more digitalized sources. Bold research that unwraps racist and white supremacist histories and power structures can lead to threats and intimidation, but I am convinced that even these risks will be managed through supportive structures at the University that secure the integrity of each researcher.
My Academy of Finland postdoc project (2017–20) had a crucial impact on my possibilities to take a leading role in the global research on anti-fascism. The project pushed for the globalization of the research field, especially in the anthology Anti-Fascism in a Global Perspective (2021) and the special issue on ‘Anti-Fascism in Southern Africa’ (2022). I have independently collected crucial preliminary data from dozens of archives. This broad experience constitutes a fundamental part of my track record and shows that although the new project’s goals are very ambitious, they are feasible within the methods and implementation plan suggested in the research plan. The previous projects have provided me with important skills and experiences in academic leadership, project management, and international collaboration, which will be developed to the next level in this new project. I am currently co-writing a monograph (funded by the Wihuri Foundation) with Nigel Copsey titled Anti-Fascism: A Global History (Routledge 2023) which for the first time offers a broad scholarly overview of anti-fascist movements. As a part of the Finland-Swedish Anti-Fascism project I am co-editing an anthology on “Anti-Fascism and Ethnic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe” (2023). I have systematically established an international academic research career and already spent 36 months abroad in new research environments and actively presented my research at conferences. I have hitherto been able to secure highly competitive funding for my postdoc research career and ready for the next stage.
In the project, researcher training will be realized as two postdocs (2024–25) will be recruited through an open application. They will develop under my leadership two case studies that use the LGP-project’s new research concept. Postdoc 1 will contribute to WP1&2 with a comparative study of Jewish anti-fascism in Cape Town and London primarily using sources in Yiddish and Hebrew; Postdoc 2 will contribute to WP2&3 and study anti-fascism through Chinese sources from New York and London. Assisting personnel (master student-level) will be hired to help with research assignments, cataloguing of data, OCR scanning, managing the CIG StoryMaps website.
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