Grant TypeWorkshop Grant
Institutional AffiliationCornell U.
Grant numberGr. CONF-936
Approve DateSeptember 3, 2023
Project TitleKessler, Chloe (Cornell U.) "The Everyday Life of Fascism: Theory, Method, Ethics"
Fascism looms large in our political present: as a re-emergent governing formation; a glaring threat to minority lifeways; a crisis of liberal norms; an incendiary charge to lob at one’s opponents; and, perhaps most often, as a question. Questions like the oft-invoked “Is this fascism, yet?” pose fascism as a destination and, so, as that which cannot be named until it is too late. Historically, conceptually, and politically, we hold this position is untenable. This workshop therefore brings together anthropologists, historians, political theorists, and antifascist organizers who are not content to consign fascism to the extreme. We study fascism that calls itself by many names—mundane violences that emerge in liberal institutions, structure school curricula, shape relationships with nature, identify as “critical” and “feminist.” Turning from book burnings toward blockbuster films, dictators toward PTAs, we consider fascism not as an ideal type but instead as it is lived and permeates the everyday. Goals include workshopping papers, practicing skill-sharing with antifascist activists, preparing public-facing resources, and envisioning the possibilities of an anthropology of fascism, all with an eye toward grasping fash-ish moods before they snowball into full-fledged fascist projects. Why? Because it is much harder to ask questions after.