What do celebrities have against Trump

May 12, 2021 Not over: Prominent voices on the state of US democracy after Donald Trump

Prominent voices shed light on the state of US democracy after Donald Trump in a special issue of the magazine "Amerikastudien / American Studies"

The special issue "Common Grounds? American Democracy after Trump" of the magazine "Amerikastudien / American Studies" undertakes a polyphonic transatlantic diagnosis of the state of American democracy in the spring of 2021. A few weeks after the new President Joe Biden took office, scientists and artists try their hand at it and artists from various subjects and fields in an answer to a historical epoch that has changed the political style through populism, conspiracy ideologies, "alternative facts" and social media.

The 44 short articles from Europe and the USA in the 300-page booklet clearly show that the current crisis neither began with Trump nor should be considered over when he was voted out, because given the 74 million voters who supported him and his politics November 2020, the tensions and cracks in the social framework of the United States are clearly not a passing phenomenon. On the contrary, it is above all the historical legacy of oppression and inequality that shapes the USA as a colonial power on “stolen land” and in the shadow of slavery and racism, as the award-winning writers Diane Glancy and Melba Joyce Boyd emphasize in their opening articles. The title formula of "common ground" is therefore often questioned and renegotiated. Can a nation so marked by social and economic inequality and divided into seemingly irreconcilable political camps find common ground? For this to happen, the political situation would have to change significantly, as the American sociologist Craig Calhoun puts it in the special issue: “We cannot have the solidarity we need without drastically reducing inequality, for example, or without increasing employment and improving working conditions. Without ending racist police violence. Without universal healthcare and greater educational opportunity. "

Other prominent voices, such as Diane Glancy, Siri Hustvedt, Saskia Sassen, Melba Boyd, Donald Pease, Elisabeth Bronfen and Richard Sennett, have their say in the issue
other racism (Boyd), the role of civil war memorials (Hustvedt), the "predatory economy" (Sassen), the legacy of feminism (Bronfen), the attempted coup on January 6th (Pease) or the climate crisis (Julie Sze; Rosemary Wakeman ) in view. Writing on the issue of educational equity Matt Brim or kihana miraya ross; Christoph Raetzsch sheds light on the role of social media.

The special issue was curated on behalf of the Editorial Board by Cedric Essi and Heike Paul (both American studies) and the political scientist Boris Vormann. “The special issue comes at the right time,” explains editor Birgit Däwes. “Obviously, the challenges of the American present cannot be reduced to Trump and the storm on the Capitol in January. The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis also clearly show that a national path does not lead any further. We are very pleased that, in addition to the transatlantic dialogue, with this Open Access booklet we can offer a forum for larger contexts and also a controversial exchange on the question of 'common grounds'. The contributions are also ideal for use in seminar rooms and schools ”.

Editor Carmen Birkle adds: “The polyphony of the special issue makes the complexity of social developments in the USA clear and underlines them
The urgency of an international exchange on racism, discrimination, radicalization of language and the strengthening of an increasingly polarizing populism. In a modification of the title of a novel by the American author Sinclair Lewis, 'It Can't Happen Here' (1935), the magazine shows us which phenomena are exacerbating current social problems and promoting Trumpism that is not limited to the USA . "

Carmen Birkle (Philipps University of Marburg) and Birgit Däwes (European University of Flensburg) are general editors of the journal Amerikastudien / American Studies on behalf of the German Society for American Studies. The magazine has been publicly and freely available in open access format at https://amst.winterverlag.de in cooperation with the University Press Winter in Heidelberg since 2020.