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KHC/NEH 2019-2020 Colloquium

Authoritarianism on the Continuum:

Complicity, Opposition and Dissent


With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant, the Authoritarianism on the Continuum: Complicity, Opposition and Dissent colloquium will explore current manifestations of authoritarianism and public responses voicing both complicity and dissent. The series will identify the unique features of present authoritarianism that impact QCC’s students and other members of our community in order to better understand and to oppose fully formed and incipient symptoms of authoritarianism.

The past decade has seen the rise and increasing popularity of right-wing authoritarian movements, parties and regimes around the world. While many countries conduct democratic elections and their leaders govern through popular mandate, often times new and emerging leaders employ discursive, ideological, and political strategies and leadership styles that draw upon the authoritarian populism of the first half of the twentieth century. Echoing authoritarian leaders of the past, current strands of authoritarianism gain power and maintain legitimacy by drawing on the complicity, despair, and apathy of some portions of the populace alongside the enthusiastic support of others. At the same time, authoritarianism generates myriad forms of opposition and resistance, including artistic activity, public protest, covert subversion, and open rebellion.

The 2019-2020 colloquium includes a program of events drawing on the community of scholars at QCC whose work addresses themes pertaining to the psychological, ideological, political, and aesthetic conditions that undergird authoritarianism.

The colloquium is organized by Julia Rothenberg, Associate Professor of Sociology in the Social Sciences department at QCC-CUNY. Her pedagogy and publications focus on overlapping topics within urban sociology, the sociology of art, race, and ethnicity, as well as social and cultural theory.