Critique in the Trump Era

Edited by Thomas Dolan and Daniel Murphy

Critique in the Trump Era

Thomas Dolan and Daniel Murphy

Trump’s Catastrophism, and the Left’s

Jonathon Catlin

The Statue and the Veil: Postcritique in the Age of Trump

Kathryn Fleishman

Hall of Presidents

Lee Konstantinou

Blunt Cinema in the Age of Trump

Chamara Moore

Print Culture and Technophilia in The Post

Daniel Murphy


Finola Prendergast


The presidency of Donald Trump has yielded a daily glut of information and misinformation. Alongside the undermining of truth itself and the devaluation of expertise, this glut challenges traditional forms of scholarship that rely on time and reflection. Meanwhile, media venues that set the terms of public debate are struggling to understand their role in combating the post-truth maelstrom.

We conceived of this cluster during Trump's first 100 days in office to assess the role of critique in Trump's America. The pieces we've gathered take varied approaches.

Jonathon Catlin considers the role of catastrophism on the left and the right, advocating a coalitional politics that critique might enable, toward a more just world.

Kathryn Fleishman proposes postcritique and the "postcritical" as reading practices that might better address the academic and popular inability to see with clarity now.

Lee Konstantinou envisages a post-apocalyptic future, in which today's descendants still struggle to comprehend Trump's appeal and his inhumanity.

Chamara Moore examines the political and artistic value of subtlety in the context of Trumpian bombast, focusing on Black feminist and intersectional alternatives to popular, masculine forms of protest.

Daniel Murphy assesses the representation and overdetermined role of journalism in the Trump era, offering a critical reading of print epistemology in Steven Spielberg's The Post.

Finola Prendergast dissects the current overreliance on Orwellian allusions, while highlighting the more enlightening possibilities dystopian fiction offers.

We hope that sustained, creative, and participatory critical inquiry, such as that offered by this cluster, might help us face the unfolding challenges of the Trump era.

Thomas Dolan is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Studies at George Washington University. An alumnus of NYU, the New School’s Institute for Critical Social Inquiry, and Yale University, Thomas was recently a visiting researcher at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, and will teach a course American Constructions of the Middle East this spring.

Daniel Murphy received his PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. His research covers American fiction, media theory, film and television, and the media industries. He teaches English and media studies at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, VA.

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