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Dustin J. Byrd, Ph.D., serves as associate professor of humanities at Olivet College. He especially enjoys teaching courses in philosophy, religion and Arabic and leading students on travel learning courses across the globe. This fall, he’ll be turning his focus to another passion — writing — during a sabbatical.

“A sabbatical is time given to a qualified professor so that they may engage in academic work outside of teaching,” Professor Byrd explained. “It is not a vacation or time off; the professor is expected to engage in rigorous scholarship that ultimately produces new research, generally in the form of a book or other major publication.

“That I have been awarded a sabbatical means that I can finally begin to work on my latest book, the first since the writing of my Ph.D. dissertation. I have been researching the subject for the last three years and now have the time to dedicate to writing.”

An Examination of Alt-Fascism

Professor Byrd’s interests span widely across societal issues, including philosophy, history, sociology, psychology and religious studies. His next writing will examine the philosophical and religious roots, foundations and contemporary development of “Alt-Fascism.”

Professor Byrd with students on a recent travel learning trip to Italy.

Professor Byrd explained, “These are new forms of fascism that are simultaneously loyal to the essence of historical fascism, e.g. Mussolini’s fascism and Hitler’s national socialism, while at the same time appearing to be other than fascism.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen a rapid growth of this political, economic and spiritual ideology of ‘rebirth’ here in the U.S. among the ‘Alt-Right’ and their political backers, in Europe with the ‘New Right,’ and in Putin’s Russia with its emergent ‘Traditionalism’ and ‘Euroasianism.’ Together, these movements represent a civilizational shift away from the neoliberal hegemony, and toward a re-barbarization of the west.”

Make Your Voice Known

Professor Byrd’s passion for examining and sharing tough subjects stems from his mission to be a critically engaged citizen and to inspire students to do the same. He claims shying away from difficult subjects is ignoring your duty to make the world a better place.

“My role teaching is to confront students with that which is rarely discussed, challenge their unarticulated biases and presuppositions, and cultivate the habit of thinking beyond the parameters that have been imposed upon them by an unreflective society,” Professor Byrd said. “In addition, I have four children, so that is the most important motivation for me to work on the subject of my next book. I want them to inherit a better, more reconciled, and peaceful world, not one degraded and destroyed by man’s inability to transcend his inhumanity.”

Professor Byrd’s previous works include “Unfashionable Objections to Islamophobic Cartoons: L’affaire Charlie Hebdo,” “Islam in a Post-Secular Society: Religion, Secularity and the Antagonism of Recalcitrant Faith,” “Religion: The Gospel According to John Galt” and “Ayatollah Khomeini and the Anatomy of the Islamic Revolution in Iran: Towards a Theory of Prophetic Charisma.” He will return to teaching in spring 2020.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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