Rosario Forlenza: Populism and Religion in Contemporary European Politics

This lecture examines the role of religion in the recent trend towards right-wing European populist politics, in particular as manifested in public reaction to migration from Muslim countries. More specifically, it focuses on what has become a central trope of European right-wing populism: the defense of Europe Christian’s roots against Islam. It addresses questions such as: Why have right-wing populist parties and movements placed religion and religious identities at the centre of their political platform? Why have they have radicalized the religious discourse? Most importantly,  how has the religious discourse contributed to the appeal of right-wing populist politics?


Rosario Forlenza is a Research Fellow at the Remarque Institute, New York University, and a Fellow at Potsdam University's Center for Citizenship, Social Pluralism, and Religious Diversity. He is a historian of modern Europe with expertise in political anthropology, symbolic and cultural politics, politics and religion, authoritarianism and revolution, nationalism, cinema, memory studies, democracy and democratization. He has worked at the University of Cambridge, Princeton University, Columbia University, and the University of Padova.

He publishes in journals across history and the social sciences. He has co-authored with Bjørn Thomassen Italian Modernities: Competing Narratives of Nationhood (New York, 2016), and is working on a new book, A Passage to Democracy: Italy 1943-1948 (forthcoming with Oxford University Press).



Discourses of the Nation and the National
Published June 19, 2017 9:00 AM - Last modified June 30, 2017 1:51 PM