History Seminar Series, 30 August – ‘Under the Pump in the Age of Trump: Three Perspectives’

This week’s History Seminar Series is a panel discussion with Dr Carolyn Holbrook, Dr Filip Slaveski and Monash University’s Dr Matthew Laing: ‘Under the Pump in the Age of Trump: Three Perspectives’. Join us on Wednesday at 11am for this seminar.


‘Trump’s Challenge to Political Scientists, Pollsters and the Punditocracy’ – Dr Matthew Laing

The presidency of Donald Trump has arguably proved to be even more dramatic and disruptive than was foreseen after his shock election victory last November. That Trump’s ascension was unanticipated by most political scientists and political commentators, suggests that there are deficits in the methods we use to measure and understand popular sentiment. What effect has the rise of Trump, and most particularly the failure of the intellectual class to predict his ascension, had on the practice of political science? Has it led to the introspection and adjustment you might expect? Have we been too complacent about the strength and immutability of democratic structures in Western liberal nations? 

‘Donald Trump Makes History’ – Dr Carolyn Holbrook

The rise of Donald Trump to the presidency has shattered many of the assumptions held by historians about the nature of American society. From Trump’s historical ignorance and alleged misuse of history-did he really invent the phrase ‘priming the pump’-to his inconsistencies and obfuscations about the recent death of a protester at the hands of a white supremacist, the American president has put history at the forefront of public debate. This paper considers how Trump has sparked a renewed interest in American history, and how the recent controversy over confederate statues has brought new urgency to debates about the public representation of the past.

‘Donald Putin and Vladimir Trump: Star-crossed Lovers under Siege’ – Dr Filip Slaveski

Who would have thought that then prospect of positive US-Russia relations in the wake of the Cold War would have frightened and/or incensed so many people? My sense is that the source of this fright/incense runs deeper than the contemporary antagonism to both individuals and associate political-espionage scandals in the US. I’ll explore this deeper source in my short talk and discuss some of the possible political consequences of the vacillations in US-Russian relations for both countries and their regions.


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