‘The Woman Who Knows Who She Is’: Conservative Motherhood and the Politics of the ‘Home’
By Kristin Berberich, Claudia Jetter, Maren Schäfer and Aline Schmidt
The appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court has moved conservative women to the center stage of American civic and political life once more. Barrett’s nomination sparked concern among the left who, because of her religious background, see her as a threat to abortion rights, marriage equality, and feminist liberation more generally. Taking the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a legendary figurehead of the women’s movement, the recently nominated justice is a particularly bitter pill to swallow for progressives. After all, the two women represent two sides of a culture war that has been waged between conservative and liberal women’s movements in the U.S. since the 1970s.
The much-debated nomination of the ultra-conservative Christian justice to the Supreme Court, despite – in the eyes of some – being underqualified, has underscored the role of conservative (and, we must add, white) womanhood for the country yet again. While her relative lack of experience in court may raise doubts, what she stands for as a person is a particularly striking example of the politicization of motherhood and so-called traditional family values, including a gender-based division of labor with the husband as breadwinner and head of the family and the wife responsible for household and children. This article presents an insight into an increasingly symbiotic relationship between idealized ‘traditional mothers’ and Republican electoral politics, highlighting several notable women and movements that have come to define modern conservative womanhood in the past 50 years. We explore the nexus of motherhood, religion and separate social spheres for men and women and how motherhood in particular has been increasingly politicized since the 1960s. Starting with Phyllis Schlafly in the 1970s, who pursued her conservative anti-feminist agenda up until the election of Donald Trump, and Alice Moore, a conservative Christian who actively fought to protect parents’ rights in the realm of education, we show how these women have promoted conservative values and how these resonate with the tradwife movement today.
Phyllis Schlafly or the Making of an Anti-Feminist Icon
In 1978, when the moderator of a TV segment on ‘Good Morning America’ asked Phyllis Schlafly’s husband whether Phyllis had the same “strong, dominant style of the way she works” at home, Fred – after an awkward moment of confusion – responded that his wife was in fact “very submissive.” An astonished moderator then turned to Schlafly who would respond with a smile, explaining “Well, Fred is the boss of the family, and that’s the way it is”, and that “really, nothing is as much fun as a happy long-time marriage and the fun of growing children.” The TV show presented a perfect marriage on stage: a successful corporate lawyer with a neat-looking wife with perfect hair and an even more perfect smile.
The irony of the situation, however, unfolds once we consider the context on set. Fred had been invited alongside his wife who, by then, had already become a regular guest on national radio and TV as the personified anti-feminist activist. Schlafly, a devout Catholic, would become the most influential conservative woman of the 20th century in the US and an icon of anti-feminism or positive feminism, as Schlafly herself called it. Statements like “I have cancelled speeches whenever my husband thought that I had been away from home too much” (Time 1978), which are meant to demonstrate a life centering around the family home, seem incongruent with a publication list of nine books and the fact that Schlafly had run for Congress three times while also becoming a full-time law student. Yet, she managed to establish the powerful public persona of a traditionalist mother and wife, who would proudly proclaim to be a “full-time homemaker” in front of an audience of white-middle class women before getting on the next plane to Washington.
From the moment Schlafly began her grassroots campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972, she excelled in management and organization. The ERA, a proposed amendment to the Constitution to guarantee equal rights to all American citizens regardless of sex, was intended to end the legal distinction between women and men in all areas including matters of divorce and property holding. Conservative critics, however, strove to maintain the legally established gender roles. Thus, STOP ERA (Stop Taking Our Privileges) was established as a single-policy group to attract a broad coalition of conservatives. Schlafly and her associates reached out to politicians through effective campaigning, whether this be media-savvy actions with housewives demonstrating in front of legislative halls with baskets full of home-made bread and jam, or strategical decisions to send the especially good-looking activists to the yet-undecided middle-aged state legislators. Since most of the women had been new to political activism, Schlafly provided comprehensive workshops that would include a training of debating skills as well as makeup tips and recommendations for clothing. (Critchlow 2005:223-244).
Appealing to legislators’ paternalistic instincts was key to bringing across the campaign’s most central message: well-educated feminists were trying to take away the protective laws of the average American woman. By successfully reaching out to previously politically inactive women, who sincerely believed their world to be threatened by the women’s liberation movement of second-wave feminism, Schlafly mobilized a massive traditionalist base that eventually succeeded in slowing, stopping and, in several cases, even reversing the ratification of the ERA.
Schlafly’s success was grounded in her rhetorical creativity. She reduced the complex ERA into a short list of potential losses that until now had protected especially middle-class women from being drafted for the military or from losing custody of their children in case of divorce. In re-framing the ERA as a potential pit hole that would harm most women by taking away privileges rather than liberating them, Schlafly presented a positive agenda designed to prove that traditionalist women were not only the majority of American women but also an equally empowered group who consciously chose to live in accordance with ‘God-given’ gender roles. As communication expert Eric Miller observed: “Schlafly framed the campaign as an underdog story with an empowering moral.” (Miller 2015: 294) This allowed her to rhetorically situate herself within a battle almost lost, yet won against all odds.
The campaign created a rhetorical ‘Other’ – the young career woman who selfishly chased her individual dreams, scared off any suitors and ended up depressed, bitter, divorced and, most of all, too old to bear children. This cold-hearted feminist dragon threatened to overthrow the natural order of things by rejecting the nuclear family, supporting abortion and demanding state-funded child-care. Vis-à-vis the self-centered feminist, Schlafly would rhetorically establish “[t]he woman who knows who she is. The Positive Woman [who was] not searching for her identity. She knows God made her, she knows why she’s here, and she has her scale of values in order.” (Schlafly 2016: 230)
Linking Americanness to motherhood and traditional values, Schlafly thus argued in a TV interview: “The American Dream is not hiring strangers to take care of your children. The American Dream is a mother sacrificing her own career advancement in order to give her children the best care she possibly can.”
That the so-called ‘traditional’ nuclear family – a rather recent creation of the nineteenth century – mainly applied to white middle-class families who could actually afford to have just one spouse working was rarely discussed and, if addressed, hastily dismissed by Schlafly. The fight to preserve ‘traditional values’ of the ‘American family’ was more often than not a fight primarily reserved for and serving white women.
For Schlafly and her associates, STOP ERA was the beginning of a life-long battle against any kind of diversification or progressivism in the broader American culture. Thus, it is hardly surprising that Schlafly’s influential lobbying interest group Eagle Forum, founded in 1975, until this day vocally supports the traditional nuclear family as the ideal social unit and defends “parents’ rights to guide the education of their own children, to protect their children against immoral instruction and materials, and to homeschool without oppressive government regulations” while deploring “the dumbing down of the academic curriculum through fads such as (…) courses in self-esteem, diversity, and multiculturalism.”
Mobilizing Mothers – “The Great Textbook War of 1974”
Another battlefield of conservative women was education. While only one example of several similar grassroots campaigns, in the mid-70s, 29-year-old Alice Moore received national attention when she started a campaign against diversification in school textbooks to protect her children from the harmful influences of a liberal education. Historic accounts debate whether she was a “divinely sanctioned” concerned mother, which she claimed in a 1979 interview (Kincheloe 1980: 30), whether she considered herself a politician, which some of her contemporaries claim, or whether Moore was actively supporting the John Birch Society’s effort to slow down racial integration in schools (Mason 2005: 360). Whichever is true, invoking maternal instincts drove her campaign which, although centered on Kanawha County, would inspire similar protests across the country. What would later be called the Kanawha Textbook Controversy unfolded over the summer and fall of 1974. At its core was the perception that liberal educators should not be allowed to promote ideas which could lead children to question what parents taught them at home. Controversial aspects included teaching dialects, such as Appalachian English and African American vernacular English, as equally correct forms of expression, as Moore considered the latter to be “ghetto” language (Mason 2005: 352) as well as “sexually explicit” passages in some books (Foerstel 2002: 2). Moore’s opposition to a new set of textbooks for the county language arts program sparked the controversy.
“Many of the books are literally full of anti-Americanism, anti-religion, and discrimination. Too, these books are woefully lacking in morally uplifting ideas. Many of the statements flout law and order and respect for authority. Several passages are extremely sexually explicit.”Statement of the local PTA, opposing certain textbooks (quoted in Foerstel 2002: 2)
In April 1974, Alice Moore suggested during a Board of Education meeting to critically review a set of textbooks which was to be introduced to local schools. Reading out passages in church that were, from her perspective, troublesome and handing out leaflets and petitions against the books sparked months-long protests against a perceived attack on conservative Christian values. Moore, who was raised within a family that strictly adhered to the teachings of the Church of Christ, a denomination basing its doctrines and practices only on the Bible’s authority as the word of God, was married to a minister and mother of four children. She lived with her family in Kanawha County, an overwhelmingly Protestant, white, rural region west of Charleston, West Virginia (Kincheloe 1980: 23; Page and Clelland 1978: 268). Moore entered the world of educational policy when she succeeded in having the newly-introduced sex education program, which she considered to be “a humanistic, atheistic attack on God”, removed from county schools (Kincheloe 1980: 22). Often described as charming, perceptive, and articulate, she became the spokesperson for parental rights in the region and, despite a lack of experience in education policy, was elected a member of the Kanahwa County Board of Educators in 1969. Her success in removing the sex education program from school curricula made her confident that, under her leadership, her constituency had the power to defend its position in the county.
This confidence, coupled with her religious beliefs, contributed to her playing the leading role in the Kanawha textbook controversy. During a meeting in April of 1974, the board of education gathered to adopt textbooks which a selection committee had ensured would include “multiethnic and multiracial literature” (Mason 2005: 352). Moore questioned the program’s philosophical foundations, arguing “that the language arts goal of emphasizing the racial, cultural, and philosophical diversity of American society was from her perspective anti-Christian, anti-American, anti-authority, depressing, and negative” (Kincheloe 1980: 23). She considered it her duty “to fulfill more effectively her divinely sanctioned role as a ‘good mother’” and, as such, her “responsibility as a Christian and a good mother was to purge the school of anti-religious and anti-American influences” (Kincheloe 1980: 31). In her view, schools violated parental rights and educational prerogatives by promoting moral relativism, thereby challenging the moral assumptions on which Moore and her constituency raised their children. Since the 1970s and up to today, this view has inspired other mothers to engage in activism to protect their children from perceived moral threats.
Throughout the summer and into the fall of 1974, thousands of protesters mobilized. The anti-textbook coalition, at first mostly middle- and upper middle-class mothers, was increasingly comprised of fervent men and women from the county’s mining region. Protests became more emotional and violent, with protesters vandalizing school property and even fire-bombing two schools (Page and Clelland 1978: 269). In the meantime, private Christian schools were set up, causing a “self-imposed segregation” of those defending white, Protestant values (Page and Clelland 1978: 270). The controversy came to an end in November, when the school board voted in favor of keeping the textbooks. However, it also approved Moore’s suggestion to instate textbook adoption guidelines which “prohibited the use of texts which invade the privacy of a child’s family life, teach racial conflict, subvert the sanctity of religious, ethnic or racial group value structures, undermine patriotism, imply that alien political philosophies are superior to the American system of government, use the name of God profanely, or use vulgar language.” (Kincheloe 1980: 29)
While its violence and fervor were striking, the curriculum dispute was no unique phenomenon in the US. It was one of many grassroots movements at the time which defended traditional moral orders against allegedly anti-American, anti-Christian thoughts (Kincheloe 1980: 29). At the heart of the controversy were concerns that “the educational system, the mass media, [and] the churches” had been attacking a certain way of life “for generations” (Page and Clelland 1978: 279, 275). Alice Moore, whose conservative agenda was both justified and driven by her moral authority as a mother, rallied support from thousands of like-minded Americans in the county. Yet, “the various articulations of Christian politics, conservative women’s activism, and white resentment expressed during the textbook controversy expanded well beyond Kanawha County and West Virginia.” (Mason 2005: 373) Moore’s activism was both inspired by a tradition of conservative women and provided new strategies for conservative women activists. The controversy was thus an antecedent of later protests in which conservative white mothers would gather constituents to defend their cultural values.
“Perfect wife, perfect life” – The #tradwife Call for a Traditionalist Revolution
Even today, Phyllis Schlafly’s anti-feminism and Alice Moore’s radical defense of mothers as moral and cultural gatekeepers in the 1970s and 80s continues to inspire inspired new creeds of women. The tradwives, short for traditional wives, are a loose online network of women who showcase their lifestyles as wives, mothers and homemakers. Advertising tradlife – or traditional life, they show picture-perfect pies and baskets of freshly picked apples, happy children with rosy cheeks and cozy homes. Wholesome content. The women themselves often look like they have stepped out of a 1950s ad, perfectly styled blonde hair, wearing neat floral dresses and a touch of flushed makeup. Their message has a similar 1950s ring to it, as they openly and proudly advertise being submissive women. Tradwives use Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and blogging platforms to propagate hyper-conservative gender roles, family ideals and ‘true’ femininity. Besides sharing recipes and tips for homeschooling as well as organizing your home and family schedule, they also give advice on how to please your husband. The tradwives seem to pick up where Alice Moore and Phyllis Schlafly left off, but Seyward Darby contextualizes the tradwives’ self-image as a counter-image to contemporary intersectional feminism:
“[T]he difference is they don’t want to be seen as the stodgy Phyllis Schlafly’s restoring the world to this Rockwellian idea of America. They consider themselves rebels and countercultural because they define the mainstream as feminist and multicultural.”Seyward Darby in an interview with Angelina Chapin (2020)
Today’s tradwives seek to disrupt what they see as a societal liberal- progressive push by constructing counternarratives and -images, in particular to feminism, which they perceive as inherently hostile to society: Tradwives advocate their motherhood and homemaking as their choice to follow their ‘true calling’, while feminism is perceived as an unnatural and immoral appeal to destroy the natural divine hierarchy of God, man and woman.
Behind the nostalgic façade of tradlife domestic bliss lies not only a reactionary image of a woman’s place, but one that harbors great danger. Their anti-feminist sentiment is a marker of a much broader backlash against a perceived cultural shift toward multiculturalism, sexual liberalization, gender and racial equality – values that in the 1960s through 80s, in the Schlafly and Moore generations, were considered counter-cultural. But for the tradwives, this view is now reversed, and they see that the moral erosion their precursors have warned against has further progressed and pushed them to the countercultural fringes. This is the same sentiment that also moves much of right-wing conservatism, and we would like to illustrate how tradwives may easily feed into far-right ideas about gender and family roles. At best, tradwives are ultra-conservative women living life according to what they consider traditional Christian values; at worst, they are palatable white supremacy advocates with a harmless aesthetic.
Due to their participatory nature, social media, in particular the visual platform Instagram, and the tradwives are a perfect match: The selling point for tradlife is, to a large extent, a particular aesthetic. Most photos look harmless or pretty and evoke quaint nostalgia. The postings are publicly accessible, easily shared and linked via hashtags. Like-minded women can come together online as a community. The idiosyncracies of online platforms also unmask the low threshold between nostalgia, ultra-conservatism, anti-feminism and right-wing extremism. One indicator of the enmeshment of tradwives with the alt-right are their social networks, the ‘who follows who’ on these Instagram accounts, which show that tradwife accounts are frequently connected to official and private accounts that share explicitly nationalist or white supremacist content. On Instagram, typical tradwife posts that promote their particular family ideal use the hashtags #tradlife, #biblicalwife, #holyfamily or #femininityoverfeminism. Some accounts use these hashtags alongside more aggressive hashtags like #feminismiscancer. Other hashtags like #weaponizednormalcy or #femininityrevolution touch on discourses that seek to #reclaimnormal and return to and normalize fixed and oppressive gender roles. Other co-occurring hashtags like #based and #redpilled seem more obscure, but these hashtags have their origins in the far-right corners of the internet. Being ‘redpilled’ is part of a popular metaphor referencing the movie The Matrix. For alt-righters, the red pill categorizes right-wing ideology as ‘the truth’, and the metaphor is used to advocate traditionalist and authoritarian beliefs. “Describing someone as ‘red-pilled’ implies they are clear-eyed, truth-seeking heroes – by extension, the blue-pilled are the intellectually lazy, scale-eyed soma-taking masses” (Wendling 2018: 30). A synonym for ‘redpilled’, the term ‘based’ has also been appropriated by the alt-right as a general positive marker for alt-right insiders. Both terms (and hashtags) highlight the idea that there is an oblivious mass that follows liberal ideals of social equality which, according to alt righters, are maintaining the oppressive status quo, and that the ‘redpilled’ right is a subversive movement. These ideas are similar to the idea that tradwives are a countercultural community that defends the true, natural, divine order of society.
One bizarre example of how conservative biblical family values are instrumentalized for extreme right purposes is the idea of motherhood, which becomes, as Darby puts it, a “shield”. Motherhood is sacred and procreation is presented as a godly task, but the shockingly appalling “White Baby Challenge” of 2017 – in which one of the leading figures in the scene appealed to fellow tradwives: “As a mother of 6, I challenge families to have as many white babies as I have contributed.” – reveals the aggressively nationalist and white supremacist ideology some tradwives are embedded in.
Tradwives are a niche digital culture with fairly limited reach and include many nuances of political and religious conservatism from moderately conservative Mormons to right-wing Evangelicals and radical traditionalists. While tradwives are not all right-wing activists, the way tradlife escapism from modern life overlaps with right-wing ideologies is worth observing and increasingly attracts the attention of media and research. Social media offer easy-access networking platforms that are instrumental in the distribution of these messages and thereby in recruiting for the alt-right via harmless-looking content. In the bigger picture, Annie Kelly aptly notes, tradwives “help illuminate some of the forces that drive the alt-right and where the movement might be going. The alt-right is abhorrent; it is racist and hate-filled. But it is, like any other mass movement, also driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with modern life.”
As we have seen, present-day movements like the #tradwives movement and the Eagle Forum that was founded by Schlafly in the 1970s are influential undercurrents of American conservatism. Conservative women, far from being relegated to the home, play a crucial role in trying to steer society and law in the direction that suits their ideologies, be it in the realm of reproductive rights, or regarding the right for people unlike them, for instance LGBTQ+ individuals, to have the same rights. With the appointment of Justice Barrett, white conservative womanhood has been hoisted to the top of the American judicial system. Barrett is the perfect example that “[t]he supposed moral purity and goodness of white motherhood has consistently enabled conservatives who’ve combined large families with high-profile careers, like Sarah Palin and anti-ERA activist Phyllis Schlafly, to carry out the extraordinarily damaging work of white supremacist patriarchy in a prettier, more feminine package.” (Keating 2020) As one member of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum stated, “it is not just that Barrett’s jurisprudence will be an obstacle to the left’s ideological goals. Left-wing activists see her as a personal affront, for she is a living rebuke to the ideology they live by. She has achieved more than they ever will and done it while living a life filled with faith and family. Instead of a career spent writing for a feminist website from an apartment filled with cats, she is about to join the Supreme Court from a house full of children.” (Blake 2020)
From this demeaning comment looking down on all “left-wing activists”, one can infer a conservative viewpoint that regards Barrett’s achievement not just as an antidote to more progressive policies but actually living proof of the righteousness of the proclaimed lifestyle that is based in the Christian faith and the nuclear family. The conservative women portrayed in this post not only cherish what they call traditional family values but often politicize their own motherhood as a selfless act of relinquishing an individual career for the higher good of the family. These women promote a particular type of traditional womanhood that idealizes their place in the home. It is the elevation of the role as (stay-at-home) mothers that normalizes the unequal treatment of the sexes and toxic (white) masculinity, both of which are actively curtailing the freedom of others.
Further reading and other resources:
You might also be interested in current HCA guest lecturer and Fulbright Fellow Michelle Nickerson’s work on women and conservatism after WWII.
- Nickerson, Michelle. 2009. “Politically Desperate Housewives: Women and Conservatism in Postwar Los Angeles”. California History 86(3): 4-67.
- Nickerson, Michelle. 2012. Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hulu’s 2020 mini-series Mrs. America is an adaptation of the struggle of ERA activists against the conservative backlash, starring Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly.
- Waller, Dahvi. 2020. Mrs. America. FX on Hulu. TV Mini-Series. In Germany available online via amazon.
“No Filter for the Right” is a project by CORRECTIV that has analyzed 4,500 German right-wing Instagram accounts and their networks and uncovered how the right uses Instagram to attract and recruit new members, including the instrumentalization of children and women for their propaganda.
Trump speaks at Phyllis Schlafly’s funeral (last accessed Jan 24, 2021)
Brennan, Mary C. 2008. Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace: Conservative Women and the Crusade against Communism. Boulder, Colo: University Press of Colorado.
Chastagner, Claude. 1999. „The Parents’ Music Resource Center: from information to censorship“. Popular music 18 (2). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press: 179–92.
Darby, Seyward. 2020. Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
Gillespie McRae, Elizabeth. 2018. Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hawkins, J. Russell. forthcoming 2021. The Bible Told Them So: How Southern Evangelicals Fought to Preserve White Supremacy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Johnson, Emily Suzanne. 2019. This Is Our Message: Women’s Leadership in the New Christian Right. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lambert, Frank. 2008. Religion in American Politics: A Short History. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
Mason, Carol. 2009. Reading Appalachia from Left to Right: Conservatives and the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Mason, Carol. 2011. “From Textbooks to Tea Parties: An Appalachian Antecedent of Anti-Obama Rebellion.” West Virginia History 5 (2): 1-27.
Maxwell, Angie and Todd Shields. 2019. The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics. New York: Oxford University Press. Available online at Oxford Scholarship Online.
Smith, Laura. 2017. “The KKK started a branch just for women in the 1920s, and half a million joined.” Timeline, June 28, 2017.
Spruill, Marjorie Julian. 2018. “Feminism, Anti-Feminism, and The Rise of a New Southern Strategy in the 1970s.” In The Legacy of Second-Wave Feminism in American Politics, edited by Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields, 39-69. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Spruill, Marjorie Julian. 2018. Divided We Stand: The Battle over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics. New York: Bloomsbury.
Critchlow, Donald T. 2005. Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism. Princeton: Princeton UP.
Chapin, Angelina. 2020. “How White Nationalists Weaponize Motherhood.” The Cut, July 31, 2020.
Miller, Eric C. 2015. “Phyllis Schlafly’s “Positive” Freedom: Liberty, Liberation, and the Equal Rights Amendment.” In: Rhetoric and Public Affairs 18(2): 277-300.
Schlafly, Phyllis. 1979. Favorite Speeches, “March 27, 1979, Orlando, FLA ‘The Positive Woman’s Movement’” (last accessed Jan 22, 2021)
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Phyllis Schlafly interview “Can Women Have It All?“, special program from WXYZ Detroit called “Women’s Work”, September 1989. (last accessed Jan 22, 2021)
Foerstel, Herbert N. 2002. Banned in the U.S.A.: A reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries (rev. and expanded ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Keating, Shannon. “Amy Coney Barrett And The Cult Of Conservative White Womanhood.” Buzzfeed News. Oct 16, 2020.
Kelly, Annie. 2018. “The Housewives of White Supremacy.” The New York Times, June 1, 2018.
Kincheloe, Joe. 1980. “Alice Moore and the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy.” Journal of Thought 15 (1): 21-34.
Mason, Carol. 2005. “An American Conflict: Representing the 1974 Kanawha County Textbook Controversy.” Appalachian Journal 32 (3): 352-378.
Page, Ann L. and Donald A. Clelland. 1978. “The Kanawha Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces 57 (1): 265-281.
Wendling, Mike. 2018. Alt-Right: From 4chan to the White House. London: Pluto Press.
Header Image by Venita Oberholster via pixabay.
About the Authors
Kristin Berberich was a collegiate at the HCA’s graduate training center “Authority and Trust” (GKAT). In her dissertation, she analyzed the discursive construction of neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. In her most recent HCA Graduate Blog post, Kristin discussed the role of linguistics in American Studies together with Aline Schmidt. Feel free to get in touch on Twitter or check out her previous publications here.
Claudia Jetter is a collegiate of the research training group “Authority & Trust” at the HCA. Her research focuses on charismatization and scripturalization processes in new religious movements and the intersection of charisma and gender. You can get in touch with her via e-mail.
Maren Schäfer is associated with the research training group “Authority & Trust” at the HCA. In her research project, Maren examines populist rhetoric in contemporary American political discourse, focusing on framing strategies and their influence on Americans’ increasing distrust of authorities. She is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog and has contributed articles on Robert Zoellick’s role in the German unification process as well as her observations at campaign rallies in small-town New Hampshire. You can get in touch with her via Twitter or e-mail.
Aline Schmidt is a collegiate of the research training group “Authority & Trust” at the HCA. In her PhD project, she looks at charisma from a pragmatic-linguistic perspective and analyzes the ways in which Donald Trump’s authority is constructed in language, with a particular focus on the role of social media discourse. She is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog and has previously written on the importance of language in times of a pandemic and teamed up with Kristin Berberich to discuss a place for linguistics in American Studies. You can get in touch with her on Twitter.