SubjectsSubjects(version: 920)
Course, academic year 2022/2023
   Login via CAS
Populism in the U.S. - JMMZ339
Title: Populism in the U.S.
Guaranteed by: Department of North American Studies (23-KAS)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2019
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 6
Examination process: winter s.:
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:1/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unknown / unknown (15)
Min. number of students: 5
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: not taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: Tomáš Klvaňa, M.A., Ph.D.
Examination dates   Schedule   Noticeboard   
Files Comments Added by
download Syllabus Populism WINTER.docx Course Syllabus Tomáš Klvaňa, M.A., Ph.D.
Last update: Tomáš Klvaňa, M.A., Ph.D. (02.10.2018)

IMS FSV UK – Katedra severoamerických studií

Winter Semester




Tomáš Klvaňa, Ph D, MA


Populism in the United States

Class Description

Populism in politics is among most mentioned words today. The course sets it in the context of U.S. history and Western political thought. It explores the question of how we got here and why. Students will read short texts and excerpts from political philosophy and political science. They will watch key political speeches. They are required to participate actively in class discussions, analyze and evaluate the ideas introduced in class lectures, texts and videos.

Desired Outcomes

Students will understand the phenomenon of populism in the U.S. politics from political, historic and philosophical perspectives. They will demonstrate an ability to explain current wave of populism, which threatens liberal democracy, in its various contexts.

Assessment Components

10%   -- Class Attendance

25%   -- Class Activity (discussion moderated by professor based on course reading, films and lectures; possible short quizzes based on readings)

25%   -- Midterm Presentations (students present in teams on selected topics from U.S. political history: Anti-Federalist Movement in opposition to the constitution in 1787; the Jacksonian Democracy of the 1820s and 1830s; the Populist Movement of the late 19th century; Father Charles Coughlin; Huey Long; George Wallace)

40%  -- Final Examination (three hand-written essays in class; comprehensive; open notes and books: students are allowed to use the course resources)

A failure to submit or fulfill any of the above would result in the F grade for the course.

Assessment Expectations

Grade A: Excellent work demonstrating a critical and observant approach to the subject, sound research and an ability to express thoughts cogently and persuasively. Grade B: Very good work. Grade C: Satisfactory work. Grade F: Failure to achieve a passable standard.


A = 91-100, B = 81-90, C = 71-80, F = 70 and below

Required Text(s)

Book (excerpts)/Papers

·       Publius Decius Mus – The Flight 93 Election. The Claremont Institute, Sept. 5, 2016

·       Richard Hofstadter – The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Harvard University Press, 1965, 3-40

·       Plato – Apology

·       Plato – The Republic, Book VIII

·       Harvey Mansfield – Machiavelli’s Enterprise. The New Criterion, October 2013

·       Thomas Hobbes – De Cive (excerpts),%20Thomas%20-%20De%20Cive.pdf

·       Mark D. Brewer – Populism in American Politics. De Gruyter, The Forum 2016; 14(3): 249-264

·       Robert R. Barr – Populists, Outsiders and Anti-Establishment Politics. Party Politics 2009, vol. 15, 29-48

·       Benjamin Moffit, Simon Tormey. Rethinking Populism: Politics, Mediatisation and Political Style. Political Studies: 2014 vol. 62, 381-397

·       Bart Bonikowski – Three Lessons of Contemporary Populism in Europe and the United States. The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall/Winter 2016, vol. XXIII, Issue I, 9-24

·       Isaiah Berlin – To Define Populism, The Isaiah Berlin Virtual Library (transcript of an LSE Conference, London, 1967), 1-19

·       William F. Buckley Jr. – On Experiencing Gore Vidal: Can there be any justification in calling a man a queer before ten million people on television? Esquire, August 1969, 108-129


Speeches (transcripts). Videos of the speeches will be analyzed in class.

·       Donald J. Trump’s 2016 RNC Acceptance Speech

·       Donald J. Trump’s 2017 Inaugural Address

·       Ronald W. Reagan’s 1964 A Time for Choosing TV Address

·       Barry M. Goldwater’s 1964 RNC Acceptance Speech

·       Bernie Sanders’s speech on the state of the political revolution at the People’s Summit 2017



·       Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal. (2015) Documentary film by Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville.

·       Video interviews with Harvey Mansfield and Mark Blitz





Week 1


Introduction. Donald J. Trump: “I Alone Can Fix It”. How Did We Get Here?

In-class videos: Donald Trump (excerpts)


Week 2



The Flight 93 Election

In-class videos: Donald J. Trump’s Inaugural Address

Required reading: The Flight 93 Election & The DJT Inaugural Address transcript


Week 3


The Paranoid Style in American Politics

Required reading: Hofstadter


Week 4


Plato & Democracy

In-class videos: Harvey Mansfield, Mark Blitz on Plato (excerpts)

Required reading: Plato’s Apology & Republic, Book VIII on five regimes


Week 5



The Birth of the Modern in Political Thought: Machiavelli

In-class videos: Mansfield on Machiavelli (excerpts)

Required reading: Mansfield


Week 6



Midterm Presentations

Hobbes and the State of Nature

In-class videos: Mansfield on Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (excerpts)

Required reading: Brewer; Barr



Week 7



NOVEMBER 13 -- The Marketplace of Ideas: How will Brexit Change Central Europe (A combined class session with New York University students at the NYU building, at 15-16.20h, Malé náměstí 11, Praha 1, Mucha Classroom, 1st floor)

Required reading: Hobbes’s De Cive (excerpts TBD)



Week 8

Midterm Presentations

Defining Populism

Required reading: Moffitt and Tormey; Isaiah Berlin


Week 9


Midterm Presentations

The Rise of New Conservatism

In-class videos: Reagan

Required reading: Bonikowski; Ronald W. Reagan’s A Time for Choosing address transcript


Week 10



The Rise of New Conservatism

In-class videos: Goldwater

Required reading: Barry M. Goldwater’s 1964 RNC Acceptance Speech transcript


Week 11

The Role of the Media

In-class film: Best of Enemies

Required reading: Buckley – On Experiencing Gore Vidal


Week 12


On the Left: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

In-class videos: Sanders

Course Review




January -- TBD




Charles University | Information system of Charles University |