“Populists and the Pandemic:” Year-Long Lecture Series Culminates in 2022 Routledge Volume

Sponsored by the Jean Monnet EU Center of Excellence for Comparative Populism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Political Science Institute at the University of Brasília.

The year-long international virtual lecture series titled “Populism and the Pandemic- A Comparative Perspective” investigated the response of populists in different countries to the COVID-19 pandemic. This series has ended, and has led to a book collaboration.

“Populists and the Pandemic: How Populists Around the World Respond to COVID-19” examines the response of populist political actors and parties in 22 countries around the world to the COVID-19 pandemic, in terms of their attitudes, rhetoric, mobilization repertoires, and policy proposals. The responses of some populist leaders have received much public attention, as they denied the severity of the public health crisis, denigrated experts and data, looked for scapegoats, encouraged protests, questioned the legitimacy of liberal institutions, spread false information, and fueled conspiracies. But how widespread are those particular reactions? How much variation is there? What explains the variation that does exist? This volume considers these questions through rich description and analysis of countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, by leading experts with deep knowledge of their respective cases. Some chapters focus on populist parties, others on personalistic populist leaders. Some countries examined are democracies, others autocracies. Some populists are left-wing, others right-wing. Some populists are in government, others in opposition. This variation allows for consideration of a variety of factors that systematically influence or mediate populist responses to the pandemic. “Populists and the Pandemic” thus makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the intersection between two of the most pressing social and political challenges of our time. It is expected to be published in 2022 as part the “Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy” book series.

Recordings of the lectures are available below.

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Lecture Schedule