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Since the election of Donald Trump, politicians, historians, intellectuals, and media pundits have been faced with a startling and urgent question: Are we threatened by fascism? Some see striking connections between our current moment and the tumultuous interwar period in Europe. But others question if these connections really reflect our current political moment or if they are another example of Eurocentrism and American provincialism speaking over a much more complex global political landscape. This discussion with Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins, editor of Did It Happen Here?, a volume of works on fascism in the United States, Michael Kazin (Georgetown University), and Thomas Zimmer (Georgetown University) explores whether it is fair to say that fascism is alive and well in America today, or whether the historical comparison faces significant limitations. Is fascism significantly influencing—even threatening to dominate—modern American politics? Is it happening here?




Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins is an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT). His training is in Modern European Intellectual History with a focus on Europe and the World since the 20th Century. He is the editor of the new volume, Did it Happen Here? Perspectives on Fascism and America, published by W.W. Norton. He is completing a book titled Impossible Peace, Improbable War: Raymond Aron and World Order.


Thomas Zimmer is a historian and DAAD Professor at Georgetown University. His work focuses on the recent history of U.S. democracy and its discontents—specifically on anti-democratic tendencies and impulses on the American Right since the 1930s. He is currently writing a book titled Trumpism: An American History in which he tries to situate Trumpism as a political, social, and cultural phenomenon in the longer-term context of U.S. history. He also writes the Democracy Americana newsletter on Substack and hosts the Is This Democracy podcast. Before coming to Georgetown in 2021, he was an Assistant Professor at Freiburg University in Germany.


Michael Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University and editor emeritus of Dissent magazine. He is the author of seven books and the editor of three. His latest book, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party, was published in March 2022. It was an Editor’s Choice of the New York Times and was named by Kirkus as one of the ten best books on U.S. history published in 2022. His other books include: War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 (2017) winner of the best book prize from the Peace History Society; American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation (2011); A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (2006); America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s; The Populist Persuasion: An American History; and Barons of Labor: The San Francisco Building Trades and Union Power in the Progressive Era (1987), which won the Herbert Gutman Prize. He is also editor-in-chief of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History (2010). He is currently writing What Labor Wants: Samuel Gompers and the Rise of American Unionism.




Laura Field is a writer and political theorist in Washington, DC. She has worked extensively on the right-wing (“New Right”) intellectuals who rose to prominence under the Trump administration and is currently writing a book on the subject for Princeton University Press.


The Elliott School can coordinate with the university to reasonably accommodate most disabilities. If you need specific accommodations, please contact the Illiberalism Studies Program at Requests should be made as soon as possible, but at least three days prior to the program to ensure accommodation.

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