(New) Fascism: Contagion, Community, Myth

A wide ranging discussion with Dr. Nidesh Lawtoo based on his book, (New) Fascism: Contagion, Community, Myth.

In (New) Fascism, Dr. Lawtoo discusses the new forms of fascism haunting our contemporary political scene. He reads this new style of fascism and crowd psychology through the lens of mimetic theory and traces the genealogy of (new) fascism back to the three related mimetic concepts of contagion, community, and myth. These concepts were once central to the spread of fascism in Europe and are now proving central to the rise of new fascisms as well. As Dr. Lawtoo writes, “A protean figure ... is now occupying the leading role on the political stage, [one that] relies on ‘falseness,’ ‘simulation,’ ‘appearance,’ and ‘an excess of the capacity for all kinds of adaptations.’ In the process, [this (new) fascist] gives voice to hypernationalist, racist, and militaristic tendencies constitutive of the myth of greatness that is attainable for few, yet generates mass enthusiasm in the many as well.” 

Today we’re here to discuss the phenomenon of (new) fascism, what collision of narcissism and the madness of crowds brought us to this moment, and where we’re heading in the wake of an oppressive global pandemic. I’m excited to be joined for this discussion by Nidesh Lawtoo, who is Professor of English and Philosophy at KU Leuven in Belgium. Dr. Lawtoo received his PhD in Comparative Literature & Critical Theory from the University of Washington and his areas of specialization include modernism, postcolonial literature, film studies and Continental Philosophy with special focus on the theories of mimesis, imitation, and simulation. (New) Fascism: Contagion, Community, Myth is his most recent book with MSU Press, and it was published in our Breakthroughs in Mimetic Theory Series.

(New) Fascism Contagion, Community, Myth, is available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers. As Dr. Lawtoo stated, the book is part of a larger project funded by the European Research Council titled Homo Mimeticus. You can learn more about that project at homomimeticus.eu, @hom_project on twitter, and on facebook at homprojecterc, and Professor Lawtoo is on twitter @nidesh.lawtoo. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to Daniel Trego, Madiha Ghous, Donté Smith, Kylene Cave, and the team at MSU Press, especially Elise Jajuga and Julie Reaume, for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo. 
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