2022- 2023 Speakers Series

The Less Agreeable Side of Charisma: Norm Violation and Anti-Structural Power

Speaker: Dr. Paul Joosse, University of Hong Kong

Date: Friday, January 27
Time: 9:30 a.m. MST

Abstract: Charisma is often theorized as a form of cultic insularity consisting of “bonds” between leaders and followers. Its world-historical significance, however, stems not from this inward-intimacy, but rather from its aggressive outward posture which can radiate through the social order, destabilizing and occasionally overturning it. This paper focalizes charisma’s consumptive leading edge by distinguishing and describing the incredulous onlooker—a type of non-believing institutional elite who exists at the interface between the charismatic community and wider society. Incredulous onlookers intend to quash charismatic movements, but their interventions counterintuitively (to them) work to augment charismatic potency and proliferate charismatic rupture. They do this in two ways. First, their affective signals of shock, exasperation, and moral outrage lend a sense of gleeful wonder (even “miraculousness”) to the incipient leader’s early successes, even if such successes are initially relatively minor. Second, as institutional-organizational mouthpieces, incredulous onlookers widen the aperture for extraordinary expression within the institutional spheres they represent, bringing their full interlocutory capacity within reach of the charismatic leader. Together, these factors account for why norm violation on the part of the charismatic leader is so necessary for unlocking charisma’s revolutionary potential. Observational and interview data reveal that incredulous onlookers played a key role in buoying and propelling the “Trump phenomenon.”



The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic

Speaker: Dr. James Densley

Date: February 24, 2023
Time: 12:30 MST

Abstract: This talk will present findings from a five-year mixed-methods investigation into the life histories of mass public shooters in the United States as documented in the award-winning 2021 book, The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic. What mass shooters have in common and pathways for prevention will be discussed. The talk will also focus on the data collection process and the unexpected evolution of the research into a true public criminology project, including the challenges and opportunities associated with research in the public eye and with public policy implications.


A New Theory of Globalization, Natural Resource Extraction and Violence Against Women: Toward Solving the Linkage Problem

Speaker: Dr. Walter DeKeseredy
Director, Research Center on Violence, West Virginia University

Date: March 31, 2023
Time: 12:30 MDT

Abstract: A small, but growing, body of criminological knowledge shows that natural resource extraction activities contribute to violence against women in rural and remote areas, but the extant literature is undertheorized. This is not to say, however, that this research is not theoretically driven. While not always made explicit, almost all of it is guided, either explicitly or implicitly, by social disorganization theory and Durkheim’s anomie theory, both of which ignore the influence of patriarchal social forces embedded in many rural localities where natural resource extraction activities occur. The main objective of this paper, then, is to offer an empirically informed new critical criminological theory that has the potential to more effectively explain the linkage between natural resource extraction and violence against women in rural and remote communities around the world.