Northwestern Events Calendar


2021-2022 Critical Theory in Critical Times Reading Group

When: Wednesday, March 30, 2022
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM CT

Where: Harris Hall, 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: $0

Contact: Philip Hoskins   (847) 491-3864

Group: Critical Theory

Category: Academic


We invite faculty and graduate students to participate in a reading group on Wednesday March 30th, in advance of the April 1, 2022 workshop. A copy of the book will be available to participants. If you would like to participate, please contact Critical Theory Graduate Assistant Usdin Martinez (

Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy

READING GROUP (ahead of the Workshop) is on Wednesday, March 30, 2022
6:00pm - 8:00pm CST
Location: Harris Hall-108, Northwestern University, 1881 Sheridan Rd., Evanston IL


WORKSHOP INFORMATION (Friday, April 1, 2022)

The 2022 Critical Theory in Critical Times annual series workshop will focus around the work of Nadia Urbinati (Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory at Columbia University) and, in particular, her newest book Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy (Harvard University Press). Nadia Urbinati will discuss this work with four commentators: Dilip Gaonkar (Northwestern University), William T. S. Mazzarella (University of Chicago), Axel Mueller (Northwestern University), and Paulina Ochoa Espejo (Haverford College). 

In Me the People, Urbinati argues that populism should be regarded as a new form of representative government, one based on a direct relationship between the leader and those the leader defines as the “good” or “right” people. Populist leaders claim to speak to and for the people without the need for intermediaries―in particular, political parties and independent media―whom they blame for betraying the interests of the ordinary many. Urbinati shows that, while populist governments remain importantly distinct from dictatorial or fascist regimes, their dependence on the will of the leader, along with their willingness to exclude the interests of those deemed outside the bounds of the “good” or “right” people, stretches constitutional democracy to its limits and opens a pathway to authoritarianism. Weaving together theoretical analysis, the history of political thought, and current affairs, Urbinati presents an original and illuminating account of populism and its relation to democracy.

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