This SSHRC supported project, Populist Publics: Memory, Populism, and Misinformation in the Canadian Social Mediascape, explores how populist narratives enter and circulate in public discourse on social platforms. Over the course of this project, one of our key objectives is to understand how harmful speech about immigration, multiculturalism, gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights are circulated by far-right groups to become normalized as legitimate discourse within the Canadian mediascape. Across the next five years, our research will examine how the deliberate distortion of the historical record is used to build an alternative collective memory as a core feature of populist strategies to undermine minority rights and cultures in liberal democracy. The research will identify the tactics, strategies, and repertoires among such groups and individuals through a multiplatform critical analysis of social media.

We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers in history, communication and media studies, and digital humanities at Carleton University involved in this project. Together, we have experience with large-scale digital projects and expertise in the national and transnational literature on hate speech, denial, social media, race and immigration, populism, and data studies, and we are well-positioned in the nation’s capital to bring this research to wider publics in government, education, and civil society.

Please see the backgrounder by our collaborator Laura Madokoro on hate speech and Canadian multiculturalism on our Commentary page, and more context about the project here.