Populism and Theopolitical Charisma Graduate Student Competition Call for Abstracts

Populism and Theopolitical Charisma Graduate Student Competition Call for Abstracts
From Occupy Wall Street to Brexit, contemporary, global forms of populism have allied with claims and counter-claims to sovereignty and territorial borders. In 2019, demonstrations in Chile, Hong Kong, and Lebanon have further attested to political crises of representing “the people” across liberal-democratic and authoritarian states. Imaginaries of public opinion and the vox populi loom large in the upcoming 2020 elections in the U.S, having already attracted electorates this past year in Brazil, Italy, Britain, and Canada. Throughout these contexts and elsewhere, the rise of populisms has intensified discussion around critiques of authority, expertise, individualism, and liberalism.

Our workshop invites abstracts for original research papers that address the theopolitical elements of populist movements and expressions worldwide. We are interested in papers dealing with past as well as present forms of populism. What histories of charismatic politics and theology shape the promises and perils of populism? What forces of authority unsettle and exceed the normative political imagination of “the people”? What forms of media, technology, and representation mobilize populist imaginaries and movements? How are such populisms shaped into scenes of protest, potential anarchic formations, and demagogic images of “the people”? We welcome work on various topics including but not limited to the following: nationalism, migration, diaspora, climate change, public culture, aesthetics and architecture, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, native and indigeneity studies, political theology, and religious movements.


Masters and PhD students from the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto in all fields and disciplines are eligible. If selected, students will be expected to pre-circulate their 5,000 word (minimum) papers by April 17, 2020 and to participate in a workshop at the University of Chicago on May 8 and 9, 2020.


Applications must include a 750-word abstract for the proposed paper, a 250-word statement of the papers relevance to the workshop themes, and a full CV. Submit applications as a single PDF file to heo@uchicago.edu with the subject heading “Populism 2020” by January 24, 2020