UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

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Tertulia with Federico Finchelstein: The History and Politics of Wannabe Fascism

May 10 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

LAIS is pleased to invite the campus community to a tertulia with Professor Federico Finchelstein. In this talk, Professor Finchelstein will discuss his latest book,  The Wannabe Fascists: A Guide to Understanding the Greatest Threat to Democracy  (University of California Press, 2024), where he maintains that Trumpism and similar movements across the world belong to a new political breed, the “wannabe fascists”. This new type of populist politician is typically a legally elected leader who, unlike previous populists who were eager to distance themselves from fascism, turns to totalitarian lies, racism, and illegal means to destroy democracy from within. The author lays out what he calls the “four pillars of fascism”—xenophobia, propaganda, political violence, and ultimately dictatorship. He explains how and why wannabe fascists like Trump, Bolsonaro, and Modi embrace the first three pillars but don’t quite succeed in dictatorship and a total suppression of the popular vote.

Federico Finchelstein is an Argentinean historian and Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City, and Director of the Janey Program in Latin American Studies. A world-renowned scholar of fascism, populism, and dictatorship, his most recent books include Fascist Mythologies. The History and Politics of Unreason in Borges, Freud, and Schmitt (Columbia University Press, 2022), A Brief History of Fascist Lies (University of California Press, 2020),  and  From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017 & 2019 ).  His books have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Hungarian, Korean and Turkish. For more information, check his website.

This event will  take place on May 10th from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in HSSB 1174.  After his lecture, Professor Finschelstein will hold an informal conversation in HSSB 4020 from 1:45  to 2: 30 pm, with students, faculty, and any other members of the campus community who may be interested in learning more about his work. Please fill out this form if you would like to join the conversation–  it will help us very much with the logistics!

This event is organized by The Program in Latin American & Iberian Studies and co-sponsored by the Department of History. ** Free and open to the public.



May 10
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


HSSB 4020