Austin Zinkle

aczi223's picture
  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • Graduate Editorial Assistant, Kentucky Historical Society
  • History
1722 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:
Office Hours

Fall 2019: By appointment


Ph.D., University of Kentucky, (In Progress)

M.A., University of Kentucky, 2017

B.A., Auburn University, 2015


Austin Zinkle is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Kentucky where he studies twentieth century United States Social Movements, particulary youth activism in the mid-century. Originally from Knoxville, TN, Austin graduated from Auburn University in 2015 with a Batchelor of Arts in History. It was at Auburn that he established an accademic interest in the social activism of the Civil Rights Era, specifically around the work of youth groups like SNCC and CORE. This interest continued into his MA thesis research where Austin studied African American youth activism in Kentucky during the 1940s and 1950s, arguing that demonstrations and protests by NAACP Youth Councils in the border state not only articulated more radical anti-racist activism, but also expanded the timeline of progressive youth demonstrations against civil and social injustices decades before the 1960 sit-ins. Currently, Austin is working on his dissertation detailing the rise, methodology, and culture of far-right youth organizing during the 1960s and 1970s. In his spare time, Austin enjoys playing his piano, basketball, and cheering on all things Auburn Tigers. 



Dissertation: The Kids Were Alt-Right: Far-Right Youth Extremism and the Origins of the White Power Movement (Working Title)

Austin is currently working on his dissertation on far-right youth activism from 1960 through 1978. The project examines the young people involved in right-wing political organizations that emerged in response to social and political fears of rampant "communism," "liberalism," and the growing success and national presence of the civil rights movement. Conservative political organizations such as the Young Americans for Freedom, Goldwater Youth, and Youth for Wallace soon gave way to more militant youth organizing in extreme right-wing groups such as the American Nazi Party and the National Youth Alliance. By moving a study of far-right activism into the 1960s, the dissertation intends to challenge traditional conceptions of youth social activism during the conventional "counter-culture" and build upon current historical scholarship concerning right-wing and conservative movements. This dissertation argues the 1960s and 1970s far-right and extremist youth as an important, and organized, social movement that contributed to the origins of the paramilitary white power movement in the 1980s.

Advisor: Anastasia Curwood

Exam Fields: African American History, United States History since 1865, Twentieth Century European History (Extremism and Social Movements)


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