How Might Roland Barthes Have Explained Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign

ACADEME BLOG

When I read the headline, “This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain The Donald Trump Phenomenon” and then realized that the “French philosopher” was Roland Barthes, I exclaimed, Wow!?! Or maybe it was, Wo!?!

And this item did not even appear in some sort of academic newsletter or other publication focused on academia such as the Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Education.

It was published, instead, by ThinkProgress. The author, Judd Legum, connects Barthes and Trump in this manner:

“You won’t find Roland Barthes on the Sunday morning roundtables dissecting the presidential race. Barthes is a French philosopher who died in 1980. But his work may hold the key to understanding Trump’s popularity and his staying power.

“Barthes is best known for his work in semiotics, the study of signs and symbols. But he wasn’t limited to lengthy, esoteric treatises. Rather, Barthes published…

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About martinkich

I am a Professor of English at Wright State University's Lake Campus, where I have been a faculty member for more than 25 years. I have now served multiple terms as the President of the WSU chapter of AAUP, which now includes all full-time instructional faculty, and as the Vice-President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP. I have also served several terms as an at-large member of the Executive Committee of AAUP's Collective Bargaining Congress. In addition to serving as co-editor of the Academe blog, I am also a member of the editorial board of Academe and have been a guest editor for an issue of the magazine on collective bargaining strategies. As co-chair of the Ohio Conference's Communication Committee, I began to do much more overtly political writing during the campaign to repeal Ohio's Senate Bill 5, which would have eliminated the right of faculty to be unionized. I have sustained that activism, and at the risk of stating the obvious, I have very much enjoyed contributing to the Academe Blog and to our chapter blog. I also maintain several other blogs to which I have re-posted, by topic, my posts to the Academe blog, as well as some other items.

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