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Trinity’s Centre for Resistance Studies to Launch with Keynote Lecture on Strongman Rule

3 March 2021 - A new Centre at Trinity College Dublin will respond to the growth of populism and authoritarianism across the world, providing a forum for academics, postgraduate researchers, intellectuals and activists to explore ‘resistance’ in all its forms, from dissent to protest.

On the 9th of March, Professor Juergen Barkhoff, Vice Provost of Trinity College will launch the Centre and introduce a keynote lecture from Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat of New York University, entitled ‘How to Resist a Strongman: Lessons from a Century of Authoritarian Rule.’ Professor Ben-Ghiat is the author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, the first study to place Donald Trump in the context of a century of authoritarian leaders.

A Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, Professor Ben-Ghiat writes frequently for CNN and other news and analysis sites on fascism, authoritarian leaders, propaganda, and threats to democracy around the world and how to counter them.

Her lecture will examine a century of resistance to ‘strongman’ rule, using examples from Italy, Chile, Russia, America, Libya, Turkey and elsewhere. The impact of changing media technologies on practices of dissent will be examined, as well as the continued use of mass non-violent protest or the body as a site of resistance.

The Centre for Resistance Studies at Trinity College Dublin will be led by Balázs Apor, Associate Professor in European Studies at Trinity College Dublin. Professor Apor’s own research is related to the history of resistance and opposition to communist rule in Eastern Europe. He was a principal investigator in the Horizon2020 project COURAGE (Cultural Opposition - Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the Former Socialist Countries) which explored the history of cultural opposition to communism from the perspective of the collections that were created by former oppositionists.

The disciplines that will be represented in the new Centre include history, cultural studies, the social sciences, language and literature, law, peace studies and the health sciences, and its geographical scope will stretch from Hong Kong to South America, through Europe (East and West), Ireland (North and South), the Near and Middle East and the United States.

In addition to organising conferences, panel discussions and podcast series on relevant themes, the Centre intends to establish a special ‘resistance collection’ of archival and contemporary sources that will be made available for prospective researchers.

Professor Balázs Apor said:  “It is difficult to think of a more timely initiative than the creation of a research centre that studies various forms of resistance ranging from non-conformism to protest. The motivation to establish the centre is in part academic and in part civic, and is inspired primarily by the need to provide an adequate response to the rising tide of authoritarianism across the globe.”

Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, Professor Eve Patten said: “We are looking forward to hosting the Centre for Resistance Studies and working with Balázs and others to help bring to light new research into the motivations behind resistance to authoritarianism and repression. This Centre will play a key role, not just academically but also in terms of civic society, in understanding dissent in all its forms.”

To register for the Centre launch and keynote lecture, click here.

In collaboration with the Centre for Resistance Studies, Scholars at Risk Ireland will hold an online seminar on 'Women and Academic Freedom' on the 8th March at 12.30pm. Register here.

Watch our recent online event 'Women and Resistance in Belarus and Poland'


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