News and events


Laura Grattan

Populist De-Identification: #FeelingTheBern in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter

  • 2 December 2020
  • 2pm-3pm
  • Online

About this event

Radical democratic populist movements in United States have historically been shaped by multiracial actors who have contested populist strategy and vision. Recent appeal to an “open-source” populism obscure this emancipatory potential at populism’s margins.

Open-source populism emphasizes leaderless and structureless movements that aim to generate broad-based unity on the Left, while creating space for individuals and groups to pursue their own interests. Drawing on Movement for Black Lives protests of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, Laura Grattan argues that “open-source” populism will fail to achieve economic or racial justice, so long as they retain the material and affective attachments to whiteness that have characterized populist moments across the ideological spectrum.

For populist movements to engage in emancipatory politics, they will need to amplify dynamics of disruption and de-identification with inherited visions of the people and foreground actors and practices of identification at populism’s own margins.

About the presenter:

Laura Grattan is Jane Bishop 51' Associate Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and author of Populism's Power: Radical Grassroots Democracy in America. Her current research focuses on movements that are resisting and imagining alternatives to the carceral state in the United States.

This event is hosted by the Populism Research Group at Loughborough University.

Contact and booking details

Booking required?
Yes Book now