Interview: Prof. Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

Interview: Prof. Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

Course: Populism in Europe and the Americas
  • Professor Cristóbal Rovira KaltwasserProfessor Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser

Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser will teach the course “Populism in Europe and the Americas: Actors, Causes and Reactions” in the social sciences track of the University Programme.  He will join Sciences Po as a visiting professor for Summer 2017.

He is an Associate Professor of political science at Diego Portales University in Santiago de Chile. Before joining Diego Portales University, he was a Marie-Curie Research Fellow at the University of Sussex in the UK and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in Germany.  He holds a Ph.D. from Humboldt University of Berlin. He is the co-editor, with Cas Mudde, of Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy? (Cambridge University Press, 2012) as well as the co-editor, with Juan Pablo Luna, of The Resilience of the Latin American Right (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). His new book Populism: A Very Short Introduction, written together with Cas Mudde, will be published by Oxford University Press in February 2017.

This is your first year teaching at the Summer School.  What are you most looking forward to?

The Summer School is a great opportunity to work with international students who have different backgrounds and academic interests. Therefore, I really look forward to having discussions with students from different places of the world about the ways in which populist forces are affecting democratic systems.

What is the most important thing students will learn in your class?

Although the word “populism” is increasingly used by pundits and academics alike, there is little clarity about the meaning of this concept and how we should study the populist phenomenon. That said, students in my class will learn a conceptual approach that is becoming dominant in political science and that defines populism as a specific set of ideas. Moreover, students will see how this approach can be employed not only to distinguish populist forces but also to analyze the impact of populism on democracy.

What are you most looking forward to about spending the summer in Paris?

Given that I have lived in Europe for almost a decade and I am very interested in European politics, spending a summer in Paris is a great opportunity to talk with European colleagues about the current political situation and learn about the French presidential election that will take place in April and May this year.

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