Waking up that morning last November and realizing Donald Trump had won the White House, Lisa (Elizabeth) Heineman, a professor of German history at the University of Iowa, took to Facebook. Like so many of our colleagues, she recognized that the next Presidency — and the movement that had brought him into power — had brought the country to a dramatic, and potentially dangerous, turning point. Lisa wrote of the need to put our academic skills to work. A short private message later from me endorsing her call to action and the #NewFascismSyllabus (NSF) was born.
Modeled after other important exercises in academic activism like the #CharlestonSyllabus, the #ImmigrationSyllabus, and #Trump2.0 and 3.0, the New Fascism Syllabus comprises two syllabuses, one cataloguing historiographical selections on the global history of fascism, authoritarianism, and populism over the longue durée and another curating the best public intellectual missives penned in the wake of Brexit, Trump, and the Dutch election. It came into being in conversations on Facebook and Twitter through an elaborate crowdsourcing campaign to find the best and most representative sources for journalists, scholars, and citizens eager for information than what was on offer in the news cycle. With the help of graduate students Brian Griffith (UC Santa Barbara) and Meghan Lundrigan (Carleton), the NSF was expanded to house a blog, and will soon include video resources and a catalogue of projects in the field. This online archive and pedagogical resource is an affirmation of the role academics could, should, and do play in this networked, digital public sphere countering hate with facts and fake news with argument and information.
The New Fascism Syllabus may be found here.
Jennifer Evans is Professor of History at Carleton University.