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Vigilante Justice: From the Old West to Washington DC

  • Tuesday, March 16, 2021
  • 3:30 PM–4:30 PM
  • Virtual

Videos of rioters storming the Capitol building on January 6, 2021 to prevent Congress from certifying Joseph Biden as the 46th president stunned people across the United States and around the world. But vigilante violence in the name of justice or law and order has a long history in the United States. This panel discussion will explore how the mythology and culture of the American West, from the deep past to recent history, play into the “current weirdness” in American politics.

This virtual event will be hosted in Zoom and is limited to 100 participants. 

A video recording will be made available after the event. If you would like to be notified when the link to the video recording is available, please email

About the Panelists

Kevin den Dulk (moderator) is Associate Provost for Calvin's Global Campus. From 2012-2019, he served as the Executive Director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics and held the Paul B. Henry Chair in Political Science. His academic interests include religion and politics cross-nationally; religious freedom; American politics and policy; public law and courts; and political theory.

Will Katerberg (speaker) is director of the Mellema Program in Western American Studies and the curator of Calvin's Heritage Hall archives. His academic interests include the North American West, Native American history, and Dutch North American history, as well as rephotography and digital humanities. He is book series co-editor of  Wiley Blackwell's "The Western History Series," and co-authored a textbook on the American West: Conquests and Consequences: The American West from Frontier to Region (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009). He is also the author of the recent American Immigration Debates in the Calvin Shorts series.

Jamie Skillen (speaker) is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and director of Calvin's Ecosystem Preserve. His academic interests include federal land and resource policy and the American west. His recent book, This Land Is My Land: Rebellion in the West (Oxford University Press, 2020) situates the recent political history of federal lands within the larger contours of American civil religion and shows how federal land issues became inseparably linked to private property rights, gun rights, and religious expression.

This talk jointly sponsored by the Mellema Program in Western American History and the Historical Studies department. It is part of our history colloquia series. These lectures are open to the Calvin community - students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends - and all are welcome to attend. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our events will take place virtually.

March 2021
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