ISSR Seminar | What is Political Correctness?

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
S331 Integrated Learning Center | UMass Amherst
Throughout an extraordinarily disorderly 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump remained clear about one thing: He was going to destroy "political correctness." Since taking office, he has continued to accuse many critics of political correctness in order to deflect their charges. The term appears everywhere in contemporary conversation--about education, media, politics, technology. But what does it mean? In this talk, Moira Weigel excavates a genealogy of "political correctness" -- returning to the roots of the term on the New Left and in the culture wars of the early 1990s, reflecting on its rising use in Europe and its relationship to other Trumpist rhetorical tics (such as the weaponization of irony via scare quotes about "tweets" or "wire tapping"). She finds that, if such a thing as political correctness exists, it has only ever been a shadow of its antagonists--but that anti political correctness is one of the strongest forces in contemporary global politics.

This talk is organized by ISSR and the Department of Linguistics, and is co-sponsored by the Departments of  Communications, English, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Political Science, and Sociology, and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.  Dr. Weigel's talk will be followed by a reception. For more information, contact Dr. Joe Pater (

RSVP | The Myth of Political Correctness