A UNIVERSITY in the North-East is launching Britain's first research unit dedicated to the study of the far right and its opponents.
The ground-breaking Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies, part of the School of Arts & Media at Teesside University will examine the historical development of far right politics and culture since its inception in the early 20th century.
Professor Nigel Copsey and Dr Matthew Feldman, two of the leading UK experts on both historical and contemporary manifestations of fascism and anti-fascism, will lead the team.
It is hoped Teesside University will eventually offer places for postgraduate students to carry out research into extremist politics.
The announcement comes as the university prepares to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day on January 25 with a special event on campus.
Staff, students and the public will be attending the commemoration event hosted by Prof Copsey and Dr Feldman and featuring prominent historian Professor Dan Stone, an expert on the Holocaust and the British Right.
Keynote speaker Prof Stone, from Royal Holloway University, will be giving an address called 'The Cheese and the Wurst, Nazism and the Holocaust in Contemporary Culture'.
This will be followed by a number of sessions which include 'The Holocaust on Film', 'Writing Holocaust Memoirs' and 'Political Religion and the Holocaust'.
There will be a second keynote speech from Professor of International History, Frank McDonough from Liverpool John Moores University, who will talk about Sophie Scholl, a German student who was executed with her brother for distributing anti-war leaflets - recently voted Germany's greatest woman for actively opposing the Third Reich.
Professor Copsey said: It is excellent to have such eminent speakers converge on Teesside University for an event to commemorate the Holocaust.
"It will be a great experience for students, both from the university and from our partner colleges as well as the public and staff to reflect on this catastrophic period in history that resulted from far-right extremism"
Dr Feldman added: "An important development in radical right activism this century - is, without doubt the turn from anti-Semitism toward anti-Muslim politics.
"In the aftermath of mass-casualty terrorist attacks by Islamist militants in the US on 11 September 2001; Madrid on 11 March 2004; and the UK on 7 July 2005, the emergence of a potent anti-Muslim politics has offered a hook for a new generation of radical right activists to hang an extremist agenda.
"One of the things we will be looking at is a quantifiable analysis of far right participation in anti-Muslim attacks."
Anyone wishing to attend the free event must booki by visiting www.tees.ac.uk/events