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Populism and Religion: The American Case (Day 2)

March 02, 2018
10:00 AM – 5:30 PM EST


Graduate School of Journalism, The World Room 2950 Broadway New York, NY 10027

Event Type: 

You are invited to the upcoming conference, "Populism and Religion: The American Case." The event will be held on Thursday, March 1 and Friday, March 2 in the Columbia School of Journalism's World Room.
This event was organized by Jean Cohen and Alexander Stille. The keynote speaker is E.J. Dionne. His lecture is titled "When God Becomes a Populist: People's Religion, Left and Right." It will be held Thursday, March 1 from 4:00-6:00pm. 
Pre-registration is required. 
Please register using Eventbrite. Please note that Day 1 registration can be found here, and Day 2 registration can be found here. For more information on the event and to see the full list of speakers and topics, please visit our website here. 


PLEASE NOTE: This is a two-day event. Please double check that you are registering for the correct day.

Everyone seems to be writing on populism these days. Given the global rise of populist movements, parties and leaders, this is unsurprising. But the relationship of populism to religion has been understudied. We want to focus on the American case. While it may be distinctive in certain key respects, America is no longer exceptional in linking populist and religious discourse, tropes and justifications. Given its long history with this conundrum, we feel it is instructive to focus on the American populism, past and present to understand its distinctive features and in what way it has and is a harbinger of what we now see emerging elsewhere.

In an opening panel on “Religion and Populism in America: Historical Perspectives / Contemporary Logic,” the conference will consider various forms of American populism, including the intersection of populist and religious rhetoric and the relationship of religious activists to populist politics. We will then turn to the distinction between populist and other social movements, including religious ones. A panel on “Populism, Social Movements, Parties, and Leaders” asks what makes a social movement populist? What role do religious tropes and cultures play in them? Is there a distinctive relationship between populist movements and leaders, or between populist parties and movements? A third panel, “Populism and the Media,” will analyze the relationship between populist politics and the media. As we know, populist leaders and activists criticize the “established” media as unfair and tend to reject expertise and claims to objectivity from journalists, along with scientists, administrators, and other “insiders.” The epithet “fake news” is used to undermine any and all truth claims made in the media. Yet populists make very clever use of the media, old and new. This panel is designed to address how populists make use of old and new media and how the contemporary mediatization of politics fosters populist strategies. Finally, we will have a panel on “Contemporary American Populism, Religion, and Gender.”



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