Event Detail

“I’m the President, and You’re Fake News” Populism and the 2020 Election

Lecture Series of the North American Studies Program in cooperation with the  Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb) and AmerikaHaus e.V. Nordrhein-Westfalen

The White House Embattled? The U.S. Election 2020:

“I’m the President, and You’re Fake News” Populism and the 2020 Election

with PD Dr. Simone Knewitz
(North American Studies Program)

Ever since the nation’s founding, US political discourse has valorized “the people” and criticized elites, making an understanding of populism as radical democracy a central element of its rhetoric. Over the past four years, however, the country has been governed by an authoritarian populist president who spreads disinformation, vilifies experts and journalists, politicizes independent institutions, and interferes with the integrity of elections. If some of the Democratic primary candidates – most notably Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders – ran with an agenda which sought to reclaim populism for progressive ends, Joe Biden’s success and the Covid-19 pandemic have left us with Trumpism as the dominant form of populism until the November elections and possibly beyond. Simone Knewitz’s talk will situate current instantiations of populism in the US in a larger historical context and in the theoretical debates on the phenomenon. Analyzing the different brands of populism embodied by Warren, Sanders, and Trump, this lecture will give an assessment of the current populist moment.  Simone Knewitz is a senior lecturer in the North American Studies Program at the University of Bonn. Her book The Politics of Private Property: Contested Claims to Ownership in U.S. Cultural Discourse will be published by Lexington Books in 2021. Her current research focuses on the intersections of populism and digital popular culture, forms and representations of collectivity, and nostalgia for the 1980s in contemporary TV series.

Please note: The lecture will only be streamed via Zoom. 
Mandatory registration via mail to: info@amerikahaus-nrw.de