Michael Barkun

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Michael Barkun
Barkun in 2009
Born (1938-04-08) April 8, 1938 (age 77)
Nationality American
Education Ph.D., political science
Alma mater Northwestern University
Occupation Political scientist
Employer Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Known for Specializes in the study of political extremism, religion and violence, millenarian and utopian movements.
Website Faculty webpage

Michael Barkun (born 8 April 1938) is professor emeritus of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, specializing in political extremism and the relationship between religion and violence. He is the author of a number of books on the subject, including Religion and the Racist Right: The Origins of the Christian Identity Movement (1996), A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (2003), and Chasing Phantoms: Reality, Imagination, and Homeland Security Since 9/11 (2011).[1]

Barkun has acted as a consultant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation; as a member of the Special Advisory Commission to the FBI Critical Incident Response Group from late 1995 to early 1996, he provided training and background presentations on extremist groups.[2] He serves on the editorial boards of Terrorism and Political Violence and Nova Religio, and was the editor of Communal Societies from 1987 to 1994. He edits the Religion and Politics book series for the Syracuse University Press. He won the 2003 Distinguished Scholar award from the Communal Studies Association, and the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights for his book Religion and the Racist Right.

Barkun focuses particularly on millenarian and utopian movements, terrorism and "doomsday weapons," and the contemporary influence of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (decades after it was exposed as a hoax).[3] His books have been reviewed by The New York Times,[4] The New York Sun,[5] The Montana Professor,[6] and Terrorism and Political Violence.[7] In a 2004 review, historian Paul S. Boyer wrote that Barkun "knows his way around the arcane world of contemporary conspiracy theorists" more "than any other scholar in America."[8]


Barkun earned his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1965.[1]



  1. ^ a b "Michael Barkun faculty listing". Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Barkun, Michael (2002). "Project Megiddo, the FBI, and the Academic Community". In Kaplan, Jeffrey. Millennial Violence: Past, Present and Future. Routledge. pp. 100, 103. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Berlet, Chip (September 2004). "Interview: Michael Barkun". New Internationalist. Political Research Associates. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  4. ^ McLemee, Scott (6 November 1994). "Aryan and Proud". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Pipes, Daniel (13 January 2004). "Old Conspiracies, New Beliefs". The New York Sun. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Pratt, Ray (Spring 2005). "Review of A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America". The Montana Professor. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Daschkea, Dereck (2006). "A Review of A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America". Terrorism and Political Violence 18 (4). Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Boyer, Paul S. (27 July 2004). "The Strange World of Conspiracy Theories". The Christian Century. pp. 32–35. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 

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