Dupes and Deplorables??: How anthropology might help us to better understand populism”

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020

1:30pm - 3:30pm

Lecture by:
Jasmin Habib

It’s been several years since our eyes first trained on the Trump campaign which seemingly came out of nowhere and first took on the Republican and later the Democratic Party to win the White House. Soon thereafter, news of Brexit hit and in early 2019, Israeli populism outflanked left, right and centre parties to victory. What is puzzling if not entirely surprising, is that rather than seeking to understand on what grounds these political grounds had shifted, we were hit in media, scholarly conferences, and every day discussions with expressions of enormous disdain for the electorates — “dupes” “deplorables” — whose votes had surprised not only political leaders, but scholars and journalists alike. Anthropologists are curious beings, by and large, and in this presentation I will share stories and experiences from the field — both Israel and the United States — that I believe can help us not only to understand some of the “what’s happened” but also allow us to consider how political strategies and mediated politics easily shift our attention away from the meaningful to the superficial.

About The Lecturer

Jasmin Habib

Jasmin Habib is the Director of the Global Engagement Seminar Program and an Associate Professor at the Ballsillie School of International Affairs, Jasmin Habib holds a PhD in Anthropology and an MA in International Peace Studies. Her research publications focus on the politics of empire and the practices of decolonization with primary interest in the experiences of war-affected refugees now living in Israel, Palestine, Canada and the United States; indigenous practices and relations of autonomy in North America; and the architecture of consent for contemporary state violence (systemic and direct). Dr. Habib is past-Editor-in-Chief and Anglophone Editor of Anthropologica, the flagship journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society and General Editor of the Cultural Spaces series at the University of Toronto Press. Among her publications are two books: America Observed: On an International Anthropology of the United States (2017, co-edited with Virginia Dominguez) and Israel, Diaspora and the National Routes of Belonging (2004, with its second edition forthcoming in 2019).