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Welcome to the Understanding and Addressing Extremism Teach-Out

Welcome to the Understanding and Addressing Extremism Teach-Out

Welcome to the Understanding and Addressing Extremism Teach-Out

When someone becomes radicalized and drifts toward more extremist ideologies, it not only affects that person, but also their family, friends, wider social circle and society. In the wake of the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, conversations about extremism and what to do about it are on the rise. Many are concerned that extremist views are becoming more mainstream and are looking for resources to better understand and address this growing issue.

This Teach-Out will provide a historical view of extremism, both international and domestic, and will discuss current issues related to online radicalism, political polarization, conspiracy theories, and recent examples of extremism. The Teach-Out will also offer learners ways in which they can take action in their own lives, counter extremism in their own communities and strategies for addressing extremist views with friends and family.

We wanted to acknowledge that terms like “extremism” and “terrorism” defy definition and can look and feel different across contexts and timeframes. There have been countless tragic terrorism attacks and a vast number of examples of extremism manifesting across our world, and it would be extremely difficult to provide a comprehensive overview of this nuance within this Teach-Out. That said, we worked with a group of experts to develop this Teach-Out as an opportunity to better understand this history from their perspectives. Our guest contributors include a range of former counter-terrorism professionals, advocacy experts, psychologists, sociologists, media experts, and other social scientists. These experts will provide a glimpse into this complex topic and more importantly will provide a foundation for conversation about these issues.

We also want to acknowledge the focus on white supremacist hate groups and far-right extremists in this Teach-Out. Given the recent events on January 6th, 2021 at the U.S. capitol, we decided to focus on these groups and more recent manifestations of extremism is the United States. We acknowledge that there are many groups and time periods that we could have focused on this Teach-Out, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other U.S. agencies have historically labelled groups involved in social movements like the Black Panther Party or GreenPeace as extremist or terrorist organizations and have employed counter-terrorist tactics to countering these movements. While these groups are not an explicit focus of this Teach-Out, we encourage you to draw connections between time-periods and contexts as you engage in conversation with your peers.

It is imperative that we approach this topic with empathy and understanding. We hope that you learn from this Teach-Out, engage with others, and offer your own reflections and insights into this conversation so that we may all evolve together. Please review our ground rules for engagement before you get started so that we can make this an effective and engaging learning experience.This Teach-Out may be difficult for some learners because of the seriousness of the topics covered. We want to acknowledge this and encourage learners to pace themselves and take breaks when needed.

While you go through this Teach-Out, you will have opportunities to submit questions to our experts in Steps 1.22 and 2.11. We will respond to these questions in mid-April and post an updated video in step 2.11. Please submit your questions by April 19, 2021.

Meet the guests by downloading this interactive PDF

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Understanding and Addressing Extremism Teach-Out

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