Call for Applicants: Summer Institute on “The Politics and Rhetoric of New Populisms” at Northwestern University, July 17-21

The annual Rhetoric and Public Culture Summer Institute at Northwestern University is scheduled to be held on July 17-21, 2017 (with arrival on July 16 and departure on July 22).

This year’s institute theme is: “The Politics and Rhetoric of New Populisms.” Participants of the institute will interrogate the resurgence of populism in the twenty-first century in its various manifestations, covering a wide range of political and ideological positions from the left to the right and from the progressive to the conservative across the globe.  As evident from Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, no geopolitical region or national/culture space appears to be immune to the lures of populist movements and moments (episodic gatherings and eruptions). The persistent and historically erroneous assumption that populism is a recurrent feature of politics in developing countries under duress due to crushing poverty or uncontained internal religious or ethnic strife has been suspended for the time being.  Populism (along with the very idea of “people” and the “popular rule”) are beginning to command renewed public as well as scholarly attention, which is long overdue.  As such, the aim of this summer institute will be to participate in and contribute to that renewed attention.

The institute will consist of five days of presentations and discussions led by John Brenkman (English, Baruch College & Comparative Literature, The Graduate Center, CUNY), Jason Frank (Government, Cornell University), William Mazarella (Anthropology, University of Chicago) and Melanye Price (Africana Studies, Rutgers University).  Each faculty member will deliver an afternoon lecture, lead a seminar discussion on selected readings (assigned in advance) the following morning, and attend a colleague’s presentation that afternoon. The overlapping format enables student and faculty participants to continue informal scholarly discussions during group lunches and dinners.

The institute is sponsored by the Center for Global Culture and Communication, an interdisciplinary initiative of Northwestern University School of Communication. The Center will subsidize transportation (up to $250), lodging, and some meals (breakfast and lunch every day and two group dinners) for admitted students. Applicants should send a brief letter of nomination from their academic advisor, along with a one-page statement explaining their interest in participating in this year’s institute, to the summer institute coordinator LaCharles Ward We will adopt a policy of rolling admissions. Priority will therefore be granted to strong applications that are submitted in a timely fashion, preferably by June 23, 2017.  All inquiries should be directed to LaCharles Ward.

This summer institute is convened by Center for Global Culture and Communication (CGCC), an interdisciplinary initiative of Northwestern University School of Communication. Dilip Gaonkar (Rhetoric and Public Culture) is the Director of CGCC.


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