Workshop on Populism, Demagoguery and Rhetoric in Historical Perspective

May 8, 2024, 9:00 am1:00 pm
Wooten Hall, Room 301 (Kerstetter Room)
Open to Princeton University ID Holders


Event Description

Populism stands as one of the most scrutinized subjects in political science scholarship today. However, much of this work makes little effort to historicize populism. At best, historical scholarship on the phenomenon may trace its roots as far back as the nineteenth century, to movements like narodnichestvo in Russia or the People’s Party in the United States. But to treat populism as a problem of contemporary politics is also to neglect the rich bodies of discourse throughout the history of political thought, ancient and modern, surrounding perennial issues like popular power and its forms of articulation, conflicts between oligarchic and popular factions, tensions between the technical expertise of ‘the few’ and the opinions of ‘the many,’ disputes over different models of political leadership and civic education, the problem of demagoguery the question of public rhetoric, or the role of myths and collective imaginaries in political mobilization. This workshop brings together political theorists to explore the connections between contemporary populism and relevant topics in the history of ideas.


Giuseppe Ballacci (UMinho)

Rob Goodman (Toronto Metropolitan)

Tae-Yeoun Keum (UC Santa Barbara / UCHV LSR Fellow 2023-24)

Alessandro Mulieri (UPenn / Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)

David Ragazzoni (Columbia)

Thomás Zicman de Barros (UMinho)

Co-sponsored by the Forum for the History of Political Thought and the FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) project, “Populism, Demagoguery and Rhetoric in Historical Perspective”.