Prof. Michael Butter Gives a Lecture on the Transnational Heroization of Donald Trump

On November 13, Prof. Michael Butter gave a lecture titled “'This Beast in the Shape of a Man': Right-wing Populism, White Masculinity, and the Transnational Heroization of Donald Trump” at Villa Tillmanns in Leipzig. In his talk, Prof. Butter, who is the Professor for American Literary and Cultural History at the University of Tübingen, analyzed the way in which Donald Trump is stylized as a hero both in the United States and in Europe. To illustrate this, Prof. Butter presented the various ways in which Trump is likened to figures both from current popular culture and, especially in Europe, figures from Nordic myths in memes, online videos and texts. His talk explored how this heroization of Trump, while ultimately stemming from a general admiration for him and his politics, seems to be based in different interpretations of his persona on each side of the Atlantic. Specifically, Trump's 'America First' message is often reconfigured in European heroizations of Trump as a nationalist anti-immigrant message that is then translated into the European context, thus neutralizing the potential implications of severing ties between the US and Europe. Prof. Butter showed a wide array of memes and videos produced by Trump's followers and analyzed both their origins and their textual elements.

After his talk, which was attended by about 50 people, Prof. Butter answered questions from the audience concerning his methodology, theoretical framework and the possibility of engaging those who create and disseminate such heroizing texts in a productive way. 

This lecture was jointly hosted by American Studies Leipzig and the Collaborative Research Centre on “Invectivity”. For some impressions from the lecture, please see the pictures below. 

Images tagged: ButterTrump