BAA Conference 2017


Thursday, 6 July - Saturday, 8 July 2017

The term populism is fuzzy and diffuse. It neither identifies a political program nor does it clearly situate political parties in a left-to-right spectrum. Rather, it appears to refer to a particular style of political performance and communication. Analyzing the current resurgence of populism in the United States and Europe, this conference seeks to shed light on some of the implications of populism’s comebackfrom a transatlantic and interdisciplinary point of view.


The conference will evaluate the return of populism in a diachronic and a synchronic perspective.


Resurgent populism in Europe and the United States needs to be interpreted and understood both in its cultural and political specificities and in its virulent reappearance in the United States, France, Germany, etc. as well as its concomitant global reach in the present moment.


Contemporary populisms often share an authoritarian as well as an anti-elitist and anti-establishment agenda that posits as capturing and expressing the ‘voice of thepeople.’ Scenarios of threat and anxiety meet a rhetoric of emancipation from suffering and victimization, yet at the same time, populist protest appears to be couched in a militant rhetoric of exclusion and, usually, nativism.


Working through populism’s simplifications and mystifications, our conference will examine its discursive strategies in nuanced ways.



No conference fee - please register for participation.

E-Mail: info@amerika-akademie

Fon: +49 89 55 25 37-41






Detailed Conference Program (310 KB)

Abstracts & Bios Booklet (610 KB)



Conference Program

Thursday, 6 July 2017

18.30 Conference Opening


  • Heike Paul, Bavarian American Academy, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Klaus Ulrich, Bavarian State Chancellery

Award Ceremony: BAA Dissertation Award


19.00 Keynote Address

  • Hans Vorländer (Technical University Dresden):
    Populism in Modern Democracy




Friday, 7 July 2017

09.00 Panel I: Current Populist Movements in the Americas

Chair: Ursula Prutsch (University of Munich)

  • Michael Hochgeschwender (University of Munich): 
    A Populist Critique of Populism
  • Carlos de la Torre (University of Kentucky):
    Trump's Populism: Lessons from Latin America


10.45 Coffee Break


11.00 Panel II: The Populist Movement in Constitutional Democracy
Chair: Jürgen Gebhardt (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Frank Decker (University of Bonn):
    Right-Wing Populism in Germany and Abroad
  • D. Sunshine Hillygus (Duke University):
    Understanding the Trump Win: Populism, Partisanship, and Polarization in the 2016 Election


12.30 Lunch Break


14.30 Panel III: Popular Imagination and Public Opinion: Fiction's Role in the Making and Unmaking of a Democratic Public

Chair: Kerstin Schmidt (University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt)

  • Sascha Pöhlmann (University of Munich):
    Missing the People: Populist Aesthetics and Unpopular Resistance
  • Stacey Margolis (University of Utah):
    Poe, Popularity, Populism

16.00 Coffee Break


16.30 Panel IV: Young Scholars Forum

Chair: Heike Paul (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Laura Vorberg (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg):
    #Deplorables: Twitter-Populism, Digital Imagined Communities and the Cross-Media Effects of Donald J. Trump’s Social Media Campaign Communications
  • Michael T. Oswald (University of Passau):
    Trump’s Use of Producerism
  • Nicole Schneider (University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt):
    'Grassroots Populism’: Black Lives Matter and the Democratization of Political Culture


18.30 BAA Members Meeting (members only)


Saturday, 8 July 2017

09.00 Book Presentation (in German)

  • Georg Eckert (University of Wuppertal): 
    Populismus: Varianten von Volksherrschaft in Geschichte und Gegenwart


10.15 Coffee Break


10.45 Introduction (in German): Populistische Phänomene und extremistische Bedrohung: Zum Aufgabenfeld staatlich verantworteter Präventionsarbeit

  • Werner Karg / Katharina Willimski (Bavarian State Ministry, Dept. XI.9: Prevention of Extremism, Holocaust Education, Memorial Site Pedagogy and International Cooperation Programs in formal and non-formal Education)

11.00 Panel Discussion (in German): Populismus - eine Gefahr für die Demokratie?

  • Margarete Bause, MdL (Die Grünen)
  • Robert Brannekämper, MdL (CSU)
  • Tim Büthe (Bavarian School of Public Policy - Hochschule für Politik an der TU München)
  • Heinrich Oberreuter (University of Passau)
  • Michael Piazolo, MdL (Freie Wähler Bayern)
  • Diana Stachowitz, MdL (SPD)

Moderation: Werner Karg (Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, Sciences and the Arts)

13.00 End of Conference

The 17th academy conference is organized by the Bavarian American Academy (BAA) in cooperation with the Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, Sciences and the Arts and the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg.