Celebrity, Politics, Power: The Fan Future of the Electorate 

Headshot of white woman with dark hair and a dark shirt
October 19, 2022 at 4:30 PM

In her talk, Kathryn Lofton, Professor of Religious Studies, American Studies, and History and Dean of the Humanities at Yale University, uses celebrity to think about political power. It explains how any analysts of American politics need to understand, among many other politically consequential facts, what Kanye West is saying and why Madison Cawthorn’s divorce mattered. Thinking about celebrity allows us to consider how individuals may deploy their stories to purposes bigger than mere ratings, how popularity is a resource to be molded as much as it is chased. Popularity can alter the social situation where it transpires; studying celebrity culture can help us to see how the world may be influenced within and beyond elections.  

Dr. Lofton is a 2023 Hildegarde and Elbert Baker Visiting Scholar in the Humanities.