Defining Terms – Populism Versus Fascism

The readings from this week all center around a similar topic and that is defining populism versus fascism. All the authors from this week seem to have their own definitions, which are similar in some points, but they are clearly different definitions and none in my opinion are one hundred percent concrete.

Looking back at the reading, I found it fascinating the similarities between fascism and populism. With them both being ran by confident, charismatic leaders. But also, the enormous differences, with fascism being against democracy often creating a dictatorship (Finchelstein, 2017). While populist leaders would often work in a democratic state. Before doing the readings, I have heard very little about the term populism but after going over them I had a better understanding. Especially the Finchelstein one that was rather descriptive on the subject. He goes into depth on how many people may have mixed ideas on what populism actually is and how people can use the terms of fascism and populism interchangeably especially people who may have very little knowledge on either subject.

One thing that especially stood out to me was how both Mudde and Finchelstein made a point in saying that Populism is neither left nor right and it is highly dependant on the populist actor and their own personal ideals. I feel as that would be very important as this shows that populist ideals can vary in their ways and as Mudde states often a populist leader has a larger ideology in mind with populism being a secondary note. So being the fact that this is one of the first times I have actually read about this word populism, I am left still a little confused and in need of further research on the subject.


Federico Finchelstein, “Introduction: Thinking Fascism and Populism in terms of the Past” in Federico Finkelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017).

Cas Mudde, “Populism in Europe: An Illiberal Democratic Response to Undemocratic Liberalism” (The Government and Opposition/Leonard Schapiro Lecture 2019). Government and Opposition, (2021): 1-21.


Hi everybody my name is Blaise, I’m a fourth your student in BGINS with a specialization in global politics. A lot of my interest stems from the interaction between economic, development, and security policy and how interactions within these spheres of policies can have much larger rippling effects over all of society.

On a personal level I love just being outside whether that’s playing sports or just existing in the outdoors, it just brings me loads of happiness. I find that nature just puts everything into greater perspective as our (human) problems are only temporary to the Earth. It gives me a little solace when discussing some of the heavier topics we will be discussing in class.

I look forward to getting to know everybody this semester!

This is me stuck in a snow drift after hiking 10km up a mountain near Banff

“Deus Vult!” A phrase with many meanings

I am choosing to write on last week’s readings for now, but I see everyone is writing on this week’s readings. Worst comes to worst I do two reflections this week…

The phrase “Deus Vult!” or “God wills it”, is a phrase I have heard a few times before, but I had never known what the term really meant or why it was being used.

It seems that shouting the phrase could be very innocent, but in a decade of Trump supporters, Islamophobia and other issues, the term has almost a new meaning. In the reading by Sal Hagen on this phrase, we learn that it is a historical catchphrase that was intended to align people into recapturing the Holy Land. Therefore, it has become a more far-right catchphrase that is slightly problematic.

Although it was interesting to learn that it was not just Americans who began to use this phrase in a more extreme right way, it also fueled Israel’s far-right and the Brazilian far-right as well. However, in either case, it is used to promote a more white and Christian perspective and to extend cases of Islamophobia.

Something that I continue to struggle with is that Christians claim to be loving and accepting of all people, but then you have these cases in multiple areas where the far-right of these groups are hating on others. Which you would believe to be the opposite going off of what they tell others. Alas, that is more on the side of my opinion, so I will stop there.

I think using the phrase as a meme can be funny and innocent in a particular context with friends. However, to use a catchphrase in terms of hate is a bit ridiculous. However, it seems that everyone needs to hate someone. In the reading of the Brazilian far-right, it is interesting that the government used another phrase, “Brazil above everything, God above all,” which is a religious twist on a slogan from the Nazi Party.

There’s much I could talk about on this phrase but I will leave it here for now.

Introduction :)

Me and my trusty hat

Hi new faces and old alike! My name is Hannah and I am in my fourth year of History, concentrating in Public History (to sound a little fancy). My relationship with history has always been a very present part of my life, as I have been fascinated with history on a global scale since I was very young. I can attribute this to my immigration to Canada and relatives back in the UK who would give me history books as presents and take me to historic sites on my visits back.

Recently over the summer I was fortunate enough to volunteer with archeologists on a Roman Villa and was able to expand my insight into how history is viewed and treated in different countries. I really enjoy seeing the variety of jobs available in this field and how different they all are from each other!

See you all in class!


Hey everyone! My name is Nicole and I’m in my fourth year of Journalism here at Carleton, minoring in history. History, especially European history and the history of WW2, is a subject that my parents engraved into my head as being both important and interesting since I was a kid.

I have always had an interest in European history, more so in England as my great grandparents came from there after the Second World War. Before everything that has been occurring in the news lately, I have also always been fascinated by the Royal family as a topic of history going back to King Henry VIII.

I am excited to see what this semester brings, and I look forward to getting to know all of you a little bit better.


Intro Post

Hi everyone,

My name is Jacob- I’m a fourth year student in the BGINS program here at Carleton, specializing in European and Russian studies. I very much enjoy analyzing the course of historical events and how they’ve shaped relations between the West and Russia, mainly since the inception of the USSR and beyond. I’ve recently returned from an internship in Florence, Italy for my IER and I’m very excited to finally be back in the classroom again. It was a pleasure meeting you all last week, and I’m sure this semester will mark a great return to campus!


Hey everyone,

We may have already met briefly in class but he goes a brief intro about me. I am currently a fourth year history student minoring in Geography. I have plans on attending teachers education next year and becoming a highschool teacher in my future. One of my favorite things to do is cook and learn new recipes while trying different foods that I may have never seen before. I am looking forward to this class and the semester as well as learning more about you guys and working together over the next few months.

Adam Paquin