with Professor Jason Dittmer, University College London
Professor Dittmer will trace the outlines of Trump’s populism, power, and pugnacious foreign policy in the pages of Captain America comics. Captain America is a highly ambivalent text that proclaims liberal values even as the hero embodies a fundamentally illiberal American exceptionalism. As such, it provides resources from which President Trump can draw in his own political performance, while simultaneously offering a visual language of critique around which resistance can coalesce. In sum, the first part of the lecture will demonstrate that far from being an un-American threat to the Republic, Trump represents a recognizably American threat to the Republic.
The second part of the lecture will pivot to demonstrate how the demise of the liberal consensus in the United States and the subsequent fragmentation of the mediascape has been reflected in the proliferation of Captain Americas over the last several decades, each articulating a different strand of Americanism. Collectively, these two stories help us to understand the election of Trump as the apotheosis of long-running narratives and processes at the heart of what it means to be an American.
This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1 hour parking vouchers to guests.