Discussing Protest Movements, Avoiding Trump

On November 30, 2016, I had the pleasure to hold a talk at the University of Leipzig, delivered to a group of MA-students in American Lit and Cultural Studies, and I have to say: It was a real pleasure to discuss my ideas and concepts in such a concentrated and critical atmosphere.

I was invited by Gabriele Pisarz-Ramírez to present in her seminar “Constructing Deviance” and happily agreed to talk about “Masked Deviance? Transnational Memes and Affective Politics in Contemporary U.S. Cultures of Dissent.” Once again, one of those long, off-putting titles of mine.

The students were really great interlocutors and I had the impression that they were genuinely interested in the new forms of protest and democratic (or not so democratic?) deliberation and participation that answers to calls of deviance in late modern societies.

The discussion was prepared before Donald Trumps’s electoral victory some 20 days prior, and although this decision loomed large in the back of our heads, we avoided concentrating too much on it, and went for more general social phenomena instead.

It was an extremely enjoyable experience to have 90 minutes to discuss my observations with the participants of the class, and I hope that their positive reaction towards the topic means not only that they liked the talk, but that they intend to think through the conditions we as scholars, citizens and (maybe) activists face nowadays.


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