Populism is back, and the small-town, white working class has played a major role in the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. But what are the political attitudes and ideologies that drive so-called Main Street USA? And why has populism reared its head here at this particular political conjuncture? The course will explore the politics of Main Street through readings in political theory, political economy and American political development. Topics that we will consider, include: how neoliberal economic restructuring has impacted life on Main Street; why particular attitudes toward the state – e.g. cynicism, distrust, hostility – characterize the ideologies of Main Street more than elsewhere; and to what extent the socially constructed institution of whiteness has factored into the resurgence of populism on Main Street.
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