Photo credit: Kate Oczypok

Click video below to watch Miller-Idriss' recent U.S. Congressional testimony on the global threat from white nationalist terrorism:

Cynthia Miller-Idriss is an award-winning author and scholar of far right extremism and higher education. She is Professor of Education and Sociology and runs the Polarization and Extremism Research & Intervention Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE) at the American University in Washington, DC. She is also Senior Fellow and Director of Outreach at the U.K.-based Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right. Dr. Miller-Idriss has testified before the U.S. Congress and frequently serves as a keynote speaker and expert panelist on trends in white supremacist extremism to global academic and policy communities as well as staff and representatives in U.S. and international government agencies and embassies.

Dr. Miller-Idriss is the author, co-author, or co-editor of five academic books, in addition to a book-in-progress, Hate in the Homeland: The New Spaces and Places of the U.S. Far Right, which is under contract from Princeton University Press. In addition to her academic work, Miller-Idriss writes frequently for mainstream audiences, with recent by-lines in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN Style, The Guardian, Le Monde, Salonand more. She appears regularly in the media as an expert source and political commentator, most recently on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, C-SPAN's Washington JournalNPR's All Things Considered, NBC's The Today Show, the UK's BBC Radio 4 Thinking AllowedFrance 24's The Interview, The Washington Post Live, Ireland's The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk and in Austria's DATUM Magazin


WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT The Extreme Gone Mainstream

Kathleen Blee University of Pittsburgh

Michèle Lamont Harvard University

Daniel Koehler German Institute for Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies

Mabel Berezin

Cornell University

Miller-Idriss attacks the burning question of the rise of the far right in Europe from a particularly original angle... The Extreme Gone Mainstream is a brilliant and ambitious contribution to the study of symbolic iconography and youth interpretation of political symbols.

A highly original and innovative work. Miller-Idriss has written an extraordinarily rich, well-argued, and compelling book that breaks new ground both in theories of culture and scholarship on the far right.

[The book] opens up a complete new field and approach for understanding violent extremist radicalization processes through subcultural products... [it] will surely become a standard work in right-wing extremism studies and research on terrorism/violent extremism.

This book is unique in its scope, original in its focus, and magisterial in its execution-- a tour de force of research that tells us how the right inserts itself into the fabric of everyday life. Miller-Idriss writes clearly and with verve.

Mainstream Writing & Media

Together with Mitchell Stevens, Miller-Idriss wrote for Inside Higher Ed about the U.S. Department of Education critique of Middle East Studies: "Training the Foreign Policy Experts We Need," October 9, 2019.


For The Guardian, Miller-Idriss wrote about the co-opting of brands by the far right, and what companies can do to interrupt it: "Why does the far right love Fred Perry? Mainstream fashion is its new camouflage." August 29, 2019.


Following the El Paso shooting, Miller-Idriss wrote for The Boston Globe: "Gun Reform Alone Won't Address White Supremacy." August 4, 2019.

Together with La'Nita Johnson, Miller-Idriss wrote for Quartz about the pitfalls of studying far right commercial products: "The far right is really good at tricking you into giving it free advertising." July 30, 2019 at 

For The Washington Post, Miller-Idriss' third essay about her mother's decline and death from Alzheimer's was published June 17, 2019: "What is a good death? How my mother planned hers is a good road map for me."


Miller-Idriss wrote for The Guardian about the need to engage more teachers in counter-extremism work: "How to counter far-right extremism? Germany shows the way." The Guardian, May 17, 2019.

For Le Monde, Miller-Idriss wrote about what we can learn from German approaches to combating far right extremism: "​L’Allemagne a développé l’approche la plus complète de la lutte contre l’extrême droite." Le Monde, 4 April 2019. English version, "How to Prevent Hate," published by the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right Insight Blog on 9 April 2019.

With Hilary Pilkington, Miller-Idriss published "Women are Joining the Far Right- We Need to Understand Why." The Guardian, 24 January 2019.

Miller-Idriss wrote for CNN Style about the rise of fascist fashion: "Selling Extremism: Nationalist Streetwear and the Rise of the Far Right," CNN, January 10, 2019.

With Jonathan Friedman, Miller-Idriss examines how universities can better grapple with hate speech, "When Hate Speech and Free Speech Collide." Diverse Issues in Higher Education, December 6, 2018.

Miller-Idriss' second Washington Post essay about her mother's continued Alzheimer's decline, "My Mother Has Forgotten Everything, Including Me. But I Still Feel Her Love," was published November 29, 2018.

Miller-Idriss wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education about the benefits and pitfalls of working with the media: "Lessons I Learned-- and You Can, Too-- From My 'Today Show' Appearance," October 19, 2018. 

​The far right often presents an anti-intellectual face, but Miller-Idriss argues they also use and misrepresent social science research to support their own agenda. Read more in "The far right's love/hate relationship with social science." Times Higher Education, September 18, 2018.


Miller-Idriss and Daniel Koehler analyze recent far right violence in Germany: "En Allemagne, « un niveau de coopération inédit entre les groupes d’extrême droite »" in Le Monde, September 6, 2018, republished as English-language version in OpenDemocracy, "The United German Extreme Right," September 10, 2018

Parenting is humbling. We learn a lot from our kids, as Miller-Idriss explains in this Washington Post essay: "My daughter's imaginary Colonial town has a mosque. It led to an unexpected discussion," Washington Post, May 17, 2018

Read Miller-Idriss' take on why we should pay more attention to hate clothing: "The rise of fascist fashion: Clothing helps the far right sell their violent message," published in Salon, April 21, 2018

Miller-Idriss and Mitchell Stevens explain why the U.S. social sciences are such ambivalent internationals in this essay for Times Higher Education, March 8, 2018

Read Miller-Idriss' essay about the challenges of working motherhood, and the importance of workplace mom solidarity, Refinery29, March 6, 2018

Miller-Idriss is one of the featured experts in this timely, 7-minute Chronicle of Higher Education video doc discussing what the year ahead will bring in terms of free speech issues in U.S. higher education. September 14, 2017

New book on universities and the global

In this co-authored book published in February 2018 by Princeton University Press, Miller-Idriss takes an in in-depth look at why American universities continue to favor U.S.-focused social science research despite efforts to make scholarship more cosmopolitan. Click here to watch a video of Miller-Idriss and her co-authors discussing the book or here to see a video discussion with Miller-Idriss on the book's broader implications for global knowledge.

Recent Awards

In April 2019, Miller-Idriss was awarded the DC Sociological Society (DCSS) Morris Rosenberg Award


In April 2019, Miller-Idriss was awarded the AU College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Exceptional Impact

Photo Credit: John Harris

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