A new project called “Trumplandia,” launched by a Princeton University professor, seeks to learn about today’s political landscape without the filter of the main stream media.
Carolyn Rouse is attempting to collect firsthand accounts of how Donald Trump’s presidency is affecting people around the world. She’s encouraging people to submit stories along with photos and videos. She’s also seeking published works, according to the college’s website.
The website says the Anthropology Professor began the project two-days after the 2016 presidential election.
“I have pledged to not watch any television or cable news, or read or listen to any news online or on the radio, for four years,” she explains on the web page. “Therefore I am asking people to upload field notes and/or visual evidence to this virtual space. Trumplandia will be a virtual space for documenting the impact of Trump’s presidency on the world. Your field notes will become my news source.”
Rouse says there are “a few exceptions” to the rule. For instance, she says she will listen to the radio show On the Media and read the weekend paper edition of The New York Times, including “exceptional investigative journalism.” She also says that if she happens to see a CNN report, for example while she’s at the airport, she won’t shy away from watching it.
Those who submit information to her project are asked to include their name, age, location and a 250-500-word “field note,” explaining why they are submitting the information. Rouse also hopes people provide their race and/or ethnicity, where they grew up, political sensibilities, profession, income bracket, and/or family status, though that information is not required to submit field notes.
“Rather than wait another four years only to be put through another fact-free election year, this collection will be my news source,” Rouse said.
“Given that there would be no funding for his [Donald Trump’s] projects, and that the working class whites who voted for him would see their wages stagnate and possibly drop, I thought it would be important to document the inevitable disenchantment with a conspiracy-theorist turned president,” Rouse writes on the website.
Rouse told Campus Reform she would “absolutely want submissions by Trump supporters or conservatives who are not Trump supporters,” as long as they are “respectful, honest, and ethnographic.”
Princeton also provides a freshman seminar course called “Trumpland.” Students in the course will contribute to the “Trumplandia” project, dissect information provided to Rouse, and discuss the reasons and factors behind Trump’s victory.
“We will examine conspiracy theory, rural atomization, truth claims, and racial identity politics in light of ‘Trump-ist’ politics, and seek to chart its path forward in an increasingly destabilized political terrain,” the course description reads. “The course will introduce students to critical theory on race (especially whiteness), conspiracy, authoritarianism, and democracy.”
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