Back to All Events

Populism and Religion: Religious Populisms, Right and Left, in Europe and the Americas

This event will take place in room 707 of Columbia's International Affairs Building, the Lindsay Rogers Room. Registration required here. Dr. Jose Casanova, a professor of sociology and theology at Georgetown University, will be speaking.

We are witnessing a global emergence of populist movements throughout the world, reacting diversely to discontents connected with ongoing processes of globalization and with the crisis of representation of liberal democracy. Most of the populisms are not per se “religious” but there are some intriguing religious dimensions to many of them. In Europe, one can discern various combinations of anti-EU and anti-globalist nationalist populisms, anti-immigrant nativist populisms, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic Christian and secularist populisms, and paradoxically the formation of transnational alliances of right-wing anti-liberal, anti-feminist and anti-gay religious populisms sponsored by Putin’s Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate. In the US, a country with an old historical tradition of WASP nativist populism, we witnessed diverse forms of right-wing religious and not-religious populism coalescing in the election of Trump. A comparison with the left-wing populism of Bernie Sanders, with transnational popular movements such as the 3 T’s (Tierra, Techo y Trabajo) or the pan-Amazonian indigenous movements sponsored by Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in Latin America, or the anti-liberal and anti-parliamentarian populism of the Italian Five Star movement, Spanish Podemosor the Catalan CUP( Candidatura d’Unitat Popular) points to the global crisis of legitimation of liberal democracy.