Bethan Johnson



Doctoral candidate in Department of History, University of Cambridge.

Specialist research areas:

violent nationalism; ethnic nationalism; separatism.


Bethan’s doctoral research studies a wave of militant, separatist ethno-nationalist groups that threatened violence and were violent in Spain, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Canada between 1965 and 1975. The work explores the entire life-cycle of these violent ethno-nationalist movements, analysing causes of radicalisation, violent action, and effective governmental strategies for ending the deadly conflicts.

Her research probes not only the parallel social, economic, and political factors that contributed to the radicalisation of people along ethnic lines in these Western localities—which include secularisation, globalisation, decolonisation, economic inequality, and domestic centralisation policies—but also demonstrates how similar causes precipitated the establishment of similar ideologies across all these violent separatist groups. Shared beliefs within this unique form of ethno-nationalism included the promotion of anti-immigrant, anti-European integration and anti-globalisation, and anti-multicultural sentiments among followers.

Bethan holds a MPhil in Modern British History from the University of Cambridge and a BA from Vassar College in History, Jewish Studies, and English. Before enrolling in her Master’s course, Bethan worked in various research and grassroots mobilisation positions relating to American federal politics.