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Experts

Todd Gitlin
Writer and Professor of Journalism and Sociology at Columbia University

Research Interests
Todd Gitlin teaches Journalism and Sociology and is the chair of the PhD program in Communications at Columbia University. He is a writer, novelist, and public intellectual. He holds degrees from Harvard University (mathematics), the University of Michigan (political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (sociology). He has published widely in general periodicals (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, et al.), online magazines and scholarly journals. He is a columnist, a media commentator, and a member of the editorial board of Dissent. He is the author of Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street (2012) and The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals (2007).

On Populism
Todd Gitlin argues that if populism is the embrace of a passion strictly on the ground that it is popular, then it is automatically fodder for demagoguery and demonization.

Tara D. McGuinness
Senior Advisor to the Director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget

Research Interests
Tara McGuinness is a Senior Advisor to the Director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget and Executive Director of the Community Solutions Team. Her portfolio includes work on evidence-based policies to improve economic and social outcomes in rural and urban America. From 2013 to 2015 she served as a Senior Communications Advisor and a member of the White House team working to implement the Affordable Care Act. She worked to develop and helped execute the outreach effort that signed up millions of uninsured Americans for health care. She has been working at the nexus of public policy and citizen engagement for over a decade. Prior to joining the White House, she was the Executive Director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and a senior vice-president at the think tank, the Center for American Progress where she worked on a wide-range of issues from economic equity to climate and resilience policies. Tara also worked oversees for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs with postings in Nepal, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Tara is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in urban studies.

On Populism
Tara McGuiness sees the challenge of making public policies responsive to citizen voices as one of the defining questions of our time. She will discuss how the populist backlash against institutions, governments and political parties is directly tied to their ability to address the impacts of a changing economy on citizens and how new localism offers promising opportunities to restore community bonds.

Jan-Werner Müller
Professor of Politics at Princeton University

Research Interests
Jan-Werner Müller is a Professor of Politics at Princeton University and also a fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences, Vienna, during the academic year 2016-7. He works mostly on democratic theory and the history of European political thought.  Amongst others, he has been a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, the Center for European Studies, Harvard, and the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton. He is the author of Constitutional Patriotism (2007), Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe (2011) and What is Populism? (2016), among other books. His public affairs commentary has appeared in leading international newspapers and journals.

On Populism
Jan-Werner Müller sees at populism's core a rejection of democratic pluralism. He contests conventional wisdom according to which populists cannot actually govern.  He argues that populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people and their true interests. He proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists.

Martin Nonhoff
Professor of Political Theory at BIGSSS, University of Bremen

Research Interests
Martin Nonhoff teaches political theory at the University of Bremen and is one of the field chairs at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS). At the moment, he is a visiting scholar at Cornell University. His research interests are among others democratic theory, theories of power and hegemony, theories of discourse and economic and tax policies. His publications include Politischer Diskurs und Hegemonie (2006) and articles on radical democratic theory.

On Populism
Martin Nonhoff views populism as an unavoidable element of modern democracy, as a counterweight, able to question the results of pluralist interest politics as well as of the constitutional interplay of institutionalized powers. However, he also thinks that populisms can be potentially dangerous if they rest on absolute truth claims and if these claims are not sufficiently countered by representative politics.

Prof. Dr. Andie Tucher
Professor of Journalism at Columbia Journalism School

Research Interests
Andie Tucher, a historian, is Professor and Director of the Communications PhD Program at the Columbia Journalism School. Before coming to Columbia she worked as a television journalist, focusing on documentaries about politics and society, and as a campaign speechwriter for Clinton/Gore '92. Her current work centers on the evolution of conventions of truth-telling in journalism, photography, personal narrative, and other nonfiction forms. She is the author of Happily Sometimes After: Discovering Stories From Twelve Generations of an American Family (2014); Froth and Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America’s First Mass Medium (1994); and many articles in popular and scholarly publications.

On Populism
Andie Tucher thinks that populism is notoriously difficult to define, but most of the time the label is meant as a compliment only by those who apply it to themselves.

Michael Werz
Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

Research Interests
Michael Werz is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where he is member of the National Security Team. Previously, he has been a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund where his work focused on transatlantic foreign policy and the European Union. He is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s BMW Center for German and European Studies. Werz has published extensively on a wide range of scholarly and policy issues including race and ethnicity in the 20th century; Western social and intellectual history; minorities in Europe and the United States; ethnic conflicts, politics in Europe, and anti-Americanism.

On Populism
Michael Werz sees populism as a sociological miracle: The populist leader conveys to his supporters, that they are members of an elite, that is privy to the conspiracies that govern modern mass societies, and that they are — at the same time — members of the (silent) majority. Populist movements derive their longevity from establishing this contradictory dynamic of a conformist rebellion. Populisms drives traditional patterns of mobilization in a news cycle-democracy to the extreme: It relies on the personalization of ideas and arguments and offers magic political formula that seemingly reduces clashing interests to a common denominator.