"Globalist Scumbags": Composition's Global Turn in a Time of Fake News, Globalist Conspiracy, and Nationalist Literacy

Christopher Minnix


The past twenty years have witnessed a significant and sustained global turn in American higher education, with many US colleges and universities pursuing curricular and institutional programs that prepare students for lives of global engagement. Many institutions have redefined their civic and ethical institutional goals to foster not only national citizenship but global citizenship. While global education has consistently been attacked by the right for many years, the scope and virulence of attacks on global higher education have been amplified in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential campaign and following the election of Donald Trump. Portrayals of global education as a global conspiracy have circulated across a range of fake-news, alt-right, and hard right publications, as have calls for nationalist visions of civic education that instill an appreciation for American exceptionalism. This article maps out how global higher education is constructed in the populist rhetoric of the political right, both in accounts from fake news sources and hard right news sources and in the educational policy discourse of conservative organizations like the National Association of Scholars. It then explores the consequences of anti-global education rhetoric for the global turn in rhetoric and composition studies and maps out both a critical and political response.


global turn in rhetoric and composition studies; global education; populism; nationalism; civic literacy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21623%2F1.5.2.5

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