|SARASOTA, Fla. (May 13, 2021) – The USF College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Institute has awarded a $5,000 grant to Assistant Professor Zacharias Pieri to broaden his research into white supremacist music. |
Pieri, a faculty member at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, said the Humanities Institute Summer Grant will enable him to deepen his research into the songs’ hateful, often violent content.
“This funding will help me to set aside dedicated research time in the summer that will allow me to analyze a number of these white supremacist songs to identify key themes,” he said.
During the past two years, Pieri, who focuses on international relations and security studies, has worked with Jessica Grosholz, an associate professor of criminology, to create a database of more than 800 songs associated with white power. In part, their research examines the extent to which the music reflects of the white power movement and drives extremism.
Last October, the Department of Homeland Security reported that white supremacists and other “domestic violent extremists” remain “the most persistent and lethal threat” to the nation.
Pieri applied for the grant in the spring. Each year, the Humanities Institute awards up to ten $5,000 grants to USF faculty to facilitate summer research. The grants, funded by the USF Office of Research and Innovation, are highly competitive, and summer grant recipients must demonstrate a record of innovative and compelling research.
Once accessible on sites like Facebook, Spotify and YouTube, white power music has become increasingly difficult to find as social media sites work to identify and remove the content from their sites. That backlash has pushed much of the music to alt-right sites and the “dark web.” The songs also feature prominently at white power festivals.
“Reading the lyrics, it’s very disturbing, with a lot of hateful messaging that predominantly comes out as anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant,” Pieri said. “The movement believes that Jewish people are controlling the levers of government and the media, and that they serve as cultural gatekeepers. It’s the typical anti-Semitic trope that has been around for a very long time.
“Allied to that is the idea that white supremacists believe the liberal order has failed western societies, and that liberals have ultimately failed white working-class people to create a system that favors non-whites,” he said.
|About the University of South Florida |
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