UW Receives New Grant From European Union For Study Of Comparative Populism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                       Date: September 9, 2019                                                                                                                    Contact: Elizabeth Covington, executive director, European Studies, (608) 265-4778, eecovington@wisc.edu

MADISON–The University of Wisconsin–Madison has received new grants from the European Union (EU) in 2019 totaling €240,000 ($264,732 USD), part of which will establish a Center of Excellence on Comparative Populism.

The grant, authored by Jean Monnet Chair and Professor of Political Science Nils Ringe, will engage experts worldwide to illuminate the widespread phenomenon of populism in developed and developing democracies by offering comparison across space, time, and academic disciplines. Collaborations on campus will especially involve Dhavan Shah, Lew Friedland, Mike Wagner (School of Journalism & Mass Communication) and Kathy Cramer (Department of Political Science), whose Wisconsin 2020 and James L. Knight Foundation grants study “communication ecologies” in Wisconsin and their impact on civic engagement and political contention regionally and in the country.

“While the transatlantic partnership has come under strain in the recent past, it continues to be the capstone of international economics, security and diplomatic cooperation,” Ringe said. “Working in concert, the U.S. and EU can bring about substantial change around the world and jointly advance their shared interests and values, even in times when crises abound—perhaps especially in those times. These new grants will allow UW–Madison to remain at the forefront of European and European Union studies in the U.S., and they reflect the recognition and status of our university worldwide.”

Ringe’s project will bring in noted specialists from around the world to offer spatial comparisons of populism across countries and world regions; comparison across time, to assess, for example, if the same factors have contributed to populist success in past and present; and comparisons across fields of study to encourage consideration of various facets of populism through different disciplinary lenses.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, sponsors the Erasmus + granting competition, and funds research, graduate training, and public outreach together with a steady two-way flow of people, projects and ideas across the Atlantic. Named after the architect of European unity post-1945, Jean Monnet (1888–1979), the Erasmus + granting program has produced a global research network of approximately 100 Centers of Excellence.

“The success of the bid for Jean Monnet funds is testimony to the reputation, hard work and creativity of the center’s faculty and staff, and to the exceptional leadership of Professor Ringe,” said Guido Podestá, vice provost and dean of the International Division.

“The Jean Monnet EU Centre for Comparative Populism is a model for the way international research and education can serve Wisconsin and the world,” said Associate Dean Lisa Martin of the Graduate School and Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.” ###