Nan Enstad is the Buttel-Sewell Professor of Community and Environmental Sociology and the Director of the Food Studies Network at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also affiliated with the departments of History, Gender and Women's Studies, Afro-American Studies, and with the Program in Public Humanities. She teaches courses on gender history, cultural history, and the history of capitalism. Enstad's work examines global capitalism through a cultural history approach that locates value in the daily innovations of ordinary people. She is the author of Cigarettes, Inc.: An Intimate History of Corporate Imperialism (2018) and Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Popular Culture and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (1999.)
We hear a great deal about populism since November 8, 2017 and the way that rural and small town people across the US felt left behind by the Democratic Party. In such discussions, the figure of the populist is typically figured as white and male, but is there such a thing as female populism? This talk explores how the media- and fashion-savvy figures of Ivanka Trump and Michelle Obama have variously captured the imaginations of white and black female voters who may not identify with “feminism” or the image of Hillary Clinton. It connects these identifications with populist women’s issues, especially the lack of federal childcare and family leave provisions. President Trump campaigned on the promise of a federal childcare program, developed by Ivanka, and Ivanka has begun to issue information on its shape. How do we read female populism’s import as a volatile political force and why do political commentators so often miss it?