1st Edition

Cultures of Populism Institutions, Practices and Resistance

Edited By Merle A. Williams Copyright 2022
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    The rapid global spread of populism has become an arresting and often disturbing phenomenon in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. This collection of essays explores the complex histories and diverse geographies of populist activity, examining its manifestations on both the political left and the right while tracing its dangerous association with nativism, racism and xenophobia. Established socio-political theories are questioned and challenged, giving way to fresh philosophical or cultural perspectives. At the heart of this collection lies a concern with the capacity of the humanities – and especially literary studies – to interpret, evaluate and intervene in this populist moment. Literary discussion ranges from Henry James and William Faulkner to Toni Morrison, David Foster Wallace, Ali Smith and Ta-Nehisi Coates. These essays demonstrate the pertinence and value of enquiries from multiple perspectives if we are to come to terms with the impact of populist rhetoric on meaning and truth, as proliferating misinformation unmoors conceptual and ethical coherence.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies and English Studies in Africa.

    1. Framing ‘Cultures of Populism: Institutions, Practices and Resistance’ 
    Merle A. Williams 
    2. Trump the Antisemantic, and the Boundaries of Populism 
    Stephen Clingman 
    3. Populism and the Politics of Misinformation 
    Eiríkur Bergmann 
    4. Acts of Collusion: Myth, Media and the Populist Imagination in the 2016 United States Presidential Election 
    Sorin Radu Cucu 
    5. Burying Caesar . . . or Praising Him? Shakespeare and the Populist Right in the United States 
    Chris Thurman 
    6. Populism and Dog Whistle Writing: The Memoirs of J.D. Vance and Ta-Nehisi Coates 
    Maria Lauret 
    7. Trumping the House that Race Built: Deracinating Twenty-First-Century American Politics 
    Aretha Phiri 
    8. Authoritarianism and the Planetary Mission of Queer of Colour Critique: A Brief Reflection 
    Roderick A. Ferguson 
    9. Authoritarian Patriarchy and Its Populism 
    Inderpal Grewal 
    10. Heritage, Narrative and the Role of the Humanities in Populist Times 
    Marie Kruger 
    11. Perplexing the Liquid University 
    Wamuwi Mbao 
    12. Responding to Xenophobia: Politics, Populisms and Our Teaching 
    Phyllis van Slyck 
    13. Global Populism and Its 1890s Southern United States Antecedent: The Vexing Case of Thomas E. Watson and William Faulkner’s Literary Intervention 
    Donald R. Wehrs 
    14. Populism, Privilege and Democracy in Henry James’s The Bostonians: Encounters with Community 
    Merle A. Williams 
    15. Autochthonous Oralities and Coral Islands: Imagining ‘The People’ in the Poetry of William Carlos Williams and the Southern Fugitives 
    Simon van Schalkwyk 
    16. Populism vs. the Popular in South African Literature 
    David Attwell 
    17. Asbestos Populism in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest 
    Arthur Rose 
    18. ‘Don’t tell me this isn’t relevant all over again in its brand new same old way’: Imagination, Agitation and Raging against the Machine in Ali Smith’s Spring 
    John Masterson 
    19. UDPS Opposition Populism in the DRC and Its Reflection in Two Congolese Novels 
    Kasongo Mulenda Kapanga 
    20. Authoritarian Populism and the Republic of Heaven in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust 
    Robyn Pierce
    21. Finding the ‘Herstorical’ Narrative in Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give 
    Adam Levin 


    Merle A. Williams is Professor Emerita of English and a Research Associate of the African Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She is the author of Henry James and the Philosophical Novel: Being and Seeing (reprinted in 2009) and has completed a scholarly text of The Awkward Age for The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James. Other edited volumes include Hospitalities: Transitions and Transgressions, North and South (Routledge, 2020) and several recent journal issues.