This seminar for teachers addresses populism as a political style and as part of democratic as well as anti-democratic discourse in the United States and in transatlantic perspective.

Registration fee: €10.


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The Comeback of Populism

Teacher Training / Registration fee: €10


Prompted by a recent radicalization and re-emergence of right-wing populism, we want to examine the ways in which current populist movements present a threat or an opening for the Western democracies in which they emerge.


Historically, US politics have always had a populist streak – all the way back to Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Acknowledging this historical development and its larger cultural and political patterns helps to put current developments, among them the election of Donald Trump as US President, into perspective. Second, the new populism relies on a technological infrastructure that allows for and that sets it apart, in some ways, from earlier versions. Its impact on public opinion via social media is one of its crucial features. It is this new element of populism that needs particular scrutiny. Third, as a politics of anxiety and resentment, populism evokes a specific kind of affective investment that we witness in emotional enactments and representations in political and popular culture.


How does populism protest and undermine democratic protocols? In what way does it attempt to shift the very grounds of political debates? Which kind of issues loom large on populist agendas? And how do these invert and upset conventional distinctions of politics on ‚the left‘ and ‚the right‘? These will be some of the questions we will discuss with a view to political texts, literature, and popular culture.



9:00      Introduction: Old and New Definitions of Populism, the Popular, and Populist Politics
10:00    Case Study I: The Political Style of Donald Trump & Case Study II: J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy
11:00    Coffee Break
11:30    Case Study III: Edouard Louis‘ The End of Eddy
12:30    Comparative Perspectives on the „Old Left“ and the „New Right“
13:30    Open Discussion
14:00    End



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Speaker: Prof. Dr. Heike Paul, FAU Erlangen

Organizer: Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations


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