Coronavirus and protest: How has COVID-19 changed the face of American activism?



3 June 2020




(Washington DC - Tuesday, 2 June, 9.00-10.00pm EDT)


Free, but registration is essential

Protesting during a pandemic is a dangerous political act. But in recent weeks, the world has watched as Americans, some armed, have gathered in state capitols to demand the easing of lockdown restrictions. After the death of a black man in Minnesota who was in police custody, the left is now reemerging on the streets. What motivated these protests? Were they grassroots movements or pushed from the top down? And what does this all tell us about the state of the American union beset by a virus and hurtling towards a Presidential election in November?

To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Senior Lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy Dr David Smith in conversation with Elliott Brennan, author of the recently released USSC report "Coronavirus and protest: How COVID-19 has changed the face of American activism".


  • Elliott Brennan
    Elliott Brennan
    Research Associate, United States Studies Centre

    His work spans the breadth of the Centre but has focussed on social movements, protest, conspiracy theories and domestic extremism in the United States. He is a frequent commentator on US news and politics.

  • Associate Professor David Smith
    Associate Professor David Smith
    Associate Professor in American Politics and Foreign Policy, United States Studies Centre (jointly appointed with the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney)

    David Smith is jointly appointed between the US Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. His research examines political relations between states and minorities, with a focus on religion in the US. His book Religious Persecution and Political Order in the United States was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015.