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Public Lecture with Cornell Clayton
Public Lecture with Cornell Clayton
WhenTuesday, Oct 9, 2018, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Campus locationKane Hall (KNE)
Campus room120
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsThe Graduate School, Office of the Provost, Evans School, School of Law

Off the Rails: Populism and Paranoia in American Politics

Anti-establishment politicians rail against the government they lead, populist leaders howl about corruption and a “rigged” political system, fake news and wild conspiracy theories abound on the internet and social media. Has American politics gone off the rails?

Author and political scientist Cornell Clayton explores how American politics has once again become an arena for suspicious and angry minds. Rather than debunking today’s populist claims and conspiratorial theories, Clayton argues that populism and paranoia have often played important roles in American politics in the past. From the populist rhetoric and policies of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, to the fears of the Illuminati, Masons, communist infiltrators and black helicopters, Americans have a history of seeing politics in apocalyptic terms and believing powerful elites secretly conspire against ordinary citizens. Clayton’s lecture explains the reasons behind the rise of today’s populist and paranoid politics, draws parallels to earlier periods, and discusses when it might threaten our democracy.

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