Prius or Pickup? Political Divides and Social Class
Department: Sociology
Professor Khaldoun Samman

Why should I take this class? Because it will allow you to become a constructive political actor by providing you with interesting academic tools to understand our weird political times. Often, too many of us give up on a large sector of the population thinking that they are lost to irrational forces. But what if we change our approach and begin to think of them and us as possible allies? What would that approach look like? These are political questions but they are also deeply academic and intellectual.

What will I study? We’ll observe the far right “theater of politics” to understand how liberals have left working class culture behind in ways that allowed the far right to fill the void (country music, religions, church…) and articulate a political voice that some working class folks, especially whites, may find appealing. We’ll look closely at how the far right was able to do this and, by creative means, search for ways in which a populist left may emerge.

Selected texts and films: 

  • People Like Us: Social Class in America, produced by iTVS
  • Selections from Fox Populism: Branding Conservatism as Working Class by Reece Peck
  • Selections from Rednecks, Queers and Country Music by Nadine Hubbs
  • President Trump’s “Hamberder” tweet is something we will discuss. 

Up next: Musical Fictions

September 15 2020

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