How “Joyful Warriors” Know the World: Emotion and Epistemic Practices in the Moms for Liberty Podcast
Tanner Vea

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Washington

Primary Discipline

“The Joyful Warriors Podcast” from the far-right movement organization Mom’s for Liberty (M4L) circulates harmful yet influential ideas driving book bans, fights against inclusive curricula, suppression of history, and attacks on educators. Turn by conversational turn, its participants build a view of the world in which innocent children and the United States itself are under urgent threat. Situated in the critical sociocultural learning sciences, and informed by studies of global fascism, this project investigates how M4L uses emotion in its construction of truth claims that fan the flames of dehumanization. It employs video-based interaction analysis of “The Joyful Warriors Podcast” to understand how participants use epistemic practices (e.g., asking questions, using evidence, evaluating claims) interwoven with emotional and ideological dynamics, with consequences for the dehumanization of LGBTQ+ people and people of color. This study will offer a timely analysis of how a reactionary view of reality is constructed in the moment-to-moment scale of social interaction, with theoretical implications for emotion in politicized learning, methodological implications for studies of fascism, and practical implications for how educators can teach young people to recognize the irrational and power-laden moves that undermine the nuanced and reasoned debate democracy requires.
About Tanner Vea
Vea, Tanner
Tanner Vea is an Assistant Professor in Learning, Design, and Technology at Pennsylvania State University, where he is affiliated faculty with the Rock Ethics Institute and the Consortium for Social Movements and Education Research and Practice. Beginning fall 2024, Vea will be Assistant Professor in Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Washington. Vea is a critical sociocultural learning scientist with a focus on emotion, social relations, and social change. He uses ethnographic, interaction analytical, and participatory research approaches to understand how we become who we are in relation to one another. This work has been published in journals including the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Information and Learning Sciences, and British Journal of Educational Technology, and Vea has translated this work for broader audiences as part of a volume of learning sciences and social movements comics he co-edited, published in the comics journal Sequentials. Vea currently serves as Secretary of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) and as a member of the ISLS Communications Committee. He previously served as Secretary/Treasurer of the Learning Sciences SIG in AERA and as a member of the Equity & Justice Committee of ISLS. Vea received a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University in 2018.

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