The first 100 days of the Trump administration are soon coming to an end, calling for a first evaluation of its impact on the political landscape. Since the beginning of the electoral campaign, Trump’s self-fashioning as the outsider, together with his disdain for the established norms of the democratic process, have prompted comparisons with historical forms of fascism. From Steve Bannon’s appreciation for Julius Evola, to Nazi salutes at rallies, to Trump’s infamous retweet of Benito Mussolini’s “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep”: the return of fascist imagery and rhetoric has been at times disconcertingly ostentatious. Yet these revivals are not limited to instances of direct quotation. Rather, they point to a common stock of symbols, discursive strategies, and structures of feelings, adduced and returning under new economic, media-technological, and socio-cultural conditions: the theatrical staging of the male body, the populist promise of immediacy through the image of a formless leader, or the appeal to “Righteous Indignation” against an alleged “Democrat-media-complex” in a century in which “media is everything” (Andrew Breitbart) – the adjective ‘fascist,’ rather than the category of Fascism, can provide a lens for a critical reading of the current political moment, against the background of the historical forms which it revives and by which it has been anticipated.
Join us for a discussion that will explore these and other issues. An interdepartmental panel of speakers will introduce the debate: Victoria De Grazia (History), Andreas Huyssen (German), Elizabeth Leake (Italian), and Rosalind Morris (Anthropology).
This event is realized with the support of the Department of Germanic Languages, the Italian Department, and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.
Light refreshments will be served at the end.