Instructor: Professor Jennifer Evans

Course Description

This course is inspired by current events, including the rise of alt-right, populist, and authoritarian parties and governments across the globe. Its aim is to use the tools of historical analysis to deepen our understanding of how populism has appealed to voters in different places and contexts, and, crucially, how leaders have harnessed this to their own end.


I am still finalizing the syllabus, but in addition to a few short, recent texts on populism, possibly including Jan Werner-Müller’s What is Populism? (Penn, 2016), Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny. Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Tim Duggan Books, 2017) and Cas Mudde On Extremism and Democracy in Europe (Routledge, 2017), our course will be built around readings from the New Fascism Syllabus compiled through crowdsourcing this past Winter semester (preview available via Twitter @NewFascSyllabus). The NFS includes articles written by historians, sociologists, and political scientists responding to the authoritarianism the world over. The goal of the project, and this course, is to develop a set of critical, interpretive skills with which to analyze today’s events.

In addition to the readings in the NFS, I will assign an eclectic mix of primary and secondary source readings, from memoires to government documents. Some of the readings will be available via ARES online. Others will be available for purchase at Octopus Books in the fall semester.

Course Requirements

I am still weighing several possibilities for course assignments. In addition to a formal essay, I will use a mix of creative and analytical assignments including blogging and social media text production and analysis. There will be the possibility of a group project, for those interested in such an alternative. This course will include a take-home exam.

Contact me for more details: