University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Deborah Baker Fall 2020 Seminar: “Narrative in the Age of Political Extremism” (Part I)

October 26, 2020

Register HERE

IHGC Fall Seminar with Deborah Baker

Narrative in the Age of Political Extremism”


Mondays, 3.00-5.00pm



October 26

November 2

November 9

November 16



We are living in a time of rising extremism and increasing polarization around the world.  This trend has been accompanied by acts of millenarian terror, generally committed by men who believe themselves and their identities and beliefs to be facing an existential threat.  What narrative strategies can be used to dramatize the conflict between those who want to destroy civil society, replacing civic norms with ones in which they are the unquestioned arbiters, and those who seek to protect the status quo? In this seminar we will look at works of fiction and narrative non-fiction that have captured this struggle in all its moral, political, and historical dimensions.


Reading list:

The Convert by Deborah Baker (narrative non-fiction)

One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway by Asne Sierstad  (narrative non-fiction)

American War by Omar el Akkad (futurist fiction)

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (speculative fiction)

Defying Hitler by Sebastien Haffner (posthumous memoir)

Homer Statue
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm