The rise of Donald Trump caught many off-guard. What happened? And what comes next? At least one thing is clear: stark divides are being exposed in social orders and common understandings of them. This Hot Spots series explores these divides and how they are put to use in order to suggest concrete ways forward for our democracy and our disciplines. To do so, it gathers a set of preliminary provocations, visceral responses, and experimental concept work that collectively pose important—and sometimes uncomfortable—questions about power today. Authored over a span of four weeks by scholars from a range of backgrounds, institutions, and perspectives, these essays take Trumpism seriously—not to lend further force to it, but to demystify its claims to legitimacy. To do so, they make startling connections between present and past inequities, even as they formulate novel insights about what makes this moment distinct. In these ways, the series offers a much-needed corrective to many conventional explanations of the contemporary. The result is an urgent call to think politics, people, and scholarly praxis anew: one that may help guide critical engagements with the present and orient wider commitments to come.
This series joins diverse efforts across the discipline to engage with this moment in various forms and formats, including conference panels, articles, op-eds, organizational initiatives, teach-ins, and innovative scholarship, including forthcoming issues of Anthropological Quarterly and American Ethnologist.