The Origins of Today's Identity Politics - Yascha Mounk (part one)

Having skewered right-wing populism and its demagogues in his two previous best-selling books, politics professor, writer, and podcaster Yasha Mounk turns now to the threat posed to liberalism from those progressives who champion "woke" identity politics. We discuss his latest, "The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power In Our Time."

This episode— the first of two with Yasha Mounk — looks at the complex roots of a highly influential ideology based on personal identity— specifically race, gender and sexual orientation. These are said to determine a person's power, role in society, and how they see themselves. Mounk explains how the identity synthesis, which has become widely accepted in many universities, nonprofits and large corporations, had its origins in several intellectual traditions, including post-colonialism, postmodernism and critical race theory.

Our interview mentions ideas and concepts raised by Michel FoucaultDerrick BellKimberlé KrenshawEdward SaidGayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and others. We learn how these thinkers sharply criticized modern liberalism and the civil rights movement of the Sixties and beyond.

Yascha Mounk is a German-born American who teaches international affairs at Johns Hopkins University. His writing appears in The Atlantic and other publications. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of the Substack publication "Persuasion", and hosts the podcast, "The Good Fight".

Mounk's new book has won widespread critical praise. The Washington Post said that "Mounk has told the story of the Great Awokening better than any other writer who has attempted to make sense of it."

Recommendation: Jim is reading "UFO: The Inside Story of the US Government's Search for Alien Life Here— and Out There: by Garrett Graff.

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