Sociology Index


Joseph McCarthy was elected Senator for Wisconsin and rose to public attention when in a 1950 speech he claimed to have in his hand the names of 205 individuals who were active members of the communist party, even within government itself. Alger Hiss case stimulated support for Senator McCarthy. McCarthyism stood for accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.

In 1953 Joseph McCarthy became chair of the Senate's permanent committee of investigation and turned the committee's attention to the pursuit of communists and subversives. Joseph McCarthy campaigned against communists and others described as subversive to American interests giving the world a new term called McCarthyism. As a result of McCarthyism, many people were named, many reputations were damaged and public expression of dissent was silenced for a decade.

Deterring Speech: When Is It McCarthyism? When Is It Proper? 
EUGENE VOLOKH, University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law 
Abstract: What may government officials and other actors do to prevent speech that they think to be evil and dangerous? Some possible actions are uncontroversial; others clearly violate the First Amendment. But in between lie practices that are contested. These practices may deter certain kinds of speech, and they may even be intended to deter such speech. Yet not all deterrence of speech, especially through nongovernmental action, is improper. This essay briefly inquires when such practices really deserve to be labeled McCarthyism, and to be forbidden by the First Amendment, by statute, or by social norms.

The New American McCarthyism: Policing Thought about the Middle East 
Joel Beinin, Stanford University - Race & Class, Vol. 46, No. 1, 101-115 (2004)
September 11 ushered in a sustained campaign by the American Right and the Bush administration to delegitimise critical thought about the Middle East, Islam and the Arab world. The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has borne much of the brunt of this campaign, some of it conducted by think-tanks with close links to Israel’s ruling circles. Such attacks on MESA date back to 1967 and the Arab-Israeli war.

Ecclesiastical McCarthyism: Cold War Repression in the Church of England 
Author: Kirby, Dianne - Contemporary British History, Volume 19, Number 2, June, 2005
Abstract: The fact that Cold War culture was imbued with a religious dimension had a profound impact on the conduct of the churches. While it remains difficult to determine the extent and degree of repression that informed British domestic affairs in the absence of a study like David Caute's The Great Fear, an examination of how the Church of England treated its left-wing priests during the McCarthy era illustrates that there was a British version of McCarthyism.

Science and McCarthyism, Badash L.
Source: Minerva, Volume 38, Number 1, 2000.
Abstract: Students of the `long' McCarthy period in the United States – from the late 1940s through the 1950s – have paid inadequate attention to the effects of this oppressive time upon science. Visa and passport denials, loyalty oaths, security investigations, and other problems placed in the paths of scientists no doubt hindered science.

Was ‘Operation Red Scare’ McCarthyism? Michael Aparicio
As the Santa Rosa Junior College school year comes to an end, I suspect I’m not the only person on campus who is hoping to put the ‘Red Star Flyer’ to rest. It’s an understandable impulse. The term ‘McCarthyism’ often leads to rolled eyes and disapproving grimaces. But what is McCarthyism? The ‘Red Star Incident’ is a clear case of McCarthyism. The California College Republicans even created a press release giving it the McCarthyist name ‘Operation Red Scare’. McCarthyism is not some abstract notion without everyday significance. Furthermore, how we respond to McCarthyism matters. I want to forge ahead with a strengthened resolve to identify and resist McCarthyism when I encounter it.

Prelude to McCarthyism: The Making of a Blacklist - Robert Justin Goldstein
The so-called "Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations" (AGLOSO) was one of the most central and widely publicized aspects of the post–World War II Red Scare, which has popularly become known as "McCarthyism." The resultant massive media publicity given to AGLOSO quickly turned it into a quasi-official blacklist and greatly spurred the development of what later became known as "McCarthyism" - well before Senator McCarthy first made the headlines in February 1950 with his speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, alleging widespread Communist infiltration of the State Department.

2004 Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI's Investigation of American Anthropologists. Duke Univ Press.
Book Jacket Propaganda: Threatening Anthropology offers a meticulously detailed account of how U.S. Cold War surveillance damaged the field of anthropology. David Price reveals how dozens of activist anthropologists were publicly and privately persecuted during the Red Scares of the 1940s and 1950s.

“Anthropologists on Trial: The Lessons of McCarthyism” 
Presented at a session co-organized with Bill Peace on “The Intersection of Politics and Anthropology” at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, November 1997. - David H. Price, St. Martin’s College.
There is a basic historical truism that goes something like this: Events have to become the past before they can become history, and some events have to become more of the past than others before it is safe for them to become historicized. The intersection of the Cold War, McCarthyism and anthropology seems to be one of those events which required a prolonged period of decomposition before it could be excavated and examined in an historical light.

Books On McCarthyism

“Threatening Academic Freedom Under McCarthyism and the Patriot Act” Distinguished Speaker Series, University of Chicago Alumni Association, Microsoft Campus, Redmond, Washington. October 26, 2005.

Richard Freeland, The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism: Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and Internal Security, 1946–1948 (New York: Schocken, 1974);

Richard Fried, Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990);

Robert Griffith and Athan Theoharis, eds., The Spector: Original Essays on the Cold War and the Origins of McCarthyism (New York: New Viewpoints, 1974);

Athan Theoharis, Seeds of Repression: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of McCarthyism (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1971).