This is an SNF Paideia-designated course, meaning that students will be encouraged to engage critically but empathetically with the ideas, policy agendas, rhetorical appeals, and electoral strategies of right-populists, with an eye to fostering dialogue across the chasm that often separates the populist right from more mainstream political formations of the liberal center. In some cases, this will be a challenge, since dialogue across difference is a liberal value many of the more strident populists explicitly reject. Yet we will proceed from the assumption that empathetic understanding of and dialogic engagement with the populist right is both possible and important, serving as a necessary (though not sufficient) condition of advancing our politics beyond impasse and mutual suspicion.
The course will be taught as a seminar. Students will be evaluated on their contribution to class discussion, their performance on in-class midterm and final exams, and the quality of a research project and class presentation on the rise of populism in a specific country.