The Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC, started in the 1970s to unify and enforce GOP ideology. It remained a fairly small affair for its first 25 years of existence. As conservative media grew in popularity, CPAC evolved into more of a live conservative entertainment experience. It is perhaps best known for hosting controversial figures and delivering controversial soundbites, and dare I say, outrage. And journalists eat it up, serving up the most outrageous moments to their mostly liberal audiences.
Anthropologists dedicate their career to studying human behavior, social structures, and cultural dynamics. They believe that to truly understand a society, one must immerse themselves in its various contexts and ideologies. And that’s exactly what our guest on this episode set out to do at CPAC, the largest gathering of conservative activists in the United States.
Join me as we unravel the untold stories and hidden complexities behind CPAC, as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist. We’ll explore the power of open-minded conversations, the importance of understanding diverse perspectives, and the challenges of bridging political divides in today’s polarized society.
Alex Hinton is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention, and author or editor of seventeen books, including It Can Happen Here: White Power and the Rising Threat of Genocide in the US (NYU, 2021). In 2022, he received the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology in the Media Award.
Article: I went to CPAC to take MAGA supporters’ pulse – The Conversation