Abstract: Since Donald Trump’s first day in office, a large and energetic grassroots “Resistance” has taken to the streets to protest his administration’s plans for the United States. Millions marched in pussy hats on the day after the inauguration; outraged citizens flocked to airports to declare that America must be open to immigrants; masses of demonstrators circled the White House to demand action on climate change; and that was only the beginning. Who are the millions of people marching against the Trump administration, how are they connected to the Blue Wave that washed over the U.S. Congress in 2018—and what does it all mean for the future of American democracy?
American Resistance traces activists from the streets back to the communities and congressional districts around the country where they live, work, and vote. Using innovative data and interviews with key players, Dana R. Fisher analyzes how Resistance groups have channeled outrage into activism, using distributed organizing to make activism possible by anyone from anywhere, whenever and wherever it is needed most. Beginning with the Women’s March and following the movement through the 2018 midterms, Fisher demonstrates how the energy and enthusiasm of the Resistance paid off in a wave of Democratic victories. She reveals how the Left rebounded from the devastating 2016 election, the lessons for turning grassroots passion into electoral gains, and what comes next. American Resistance explains the organizing that is revitalizing democracy to counter Trump’s presidency.
Bio: Dana R. Fisher is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between environmentalism and democracy—most recently studying activism and American climate politics. Her research employs a mixed-methods approach that integrates data collected through open-ended semi-structured interviews and participant observation with various forms of survey data. Fisher is the author of National Governance and the Global Climate Change Regime (Rowman and Littlefield Press 2004), Activism, Inc. (Stanford University Press 2006), the Practice of Research (with Shamus Khan, Oxford University Press 2013), and Urban Environmental Stewardship and Civic Engagement (with Erika S. Svendsen and James Connolly, Routledge Press 2015). She is the editor, along with Stewart Lockie and David Sonnenfeld, of the Routledege International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change (2013). Her work has also been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. Her newest book, American Resistance is out November 2019 with Columbia University Press. She also serves as a Series Editor for the Series on Society and the Environment at Columbia University Press along with Lori Peek and Evan Schofer. Professor Fisher has appeared on CNN and MSNBC to discuss her work on activism and protest. She has also published a series of pieces on this topic in the Monkey Cage at the Washington Post. Her research has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Science Magazine, various programs on National Public Radio, and on numerous podcasts, including the Politics Guys podcast, the Pantsuit Politics Show, and the No Jargon podcast of the Scholars Strategy Network. Fisher’s research on protest was profiled in “The Collectors: Political Action,” a documentary short by FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films. She has presented her work to federal agencies, foundations, and other organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Let’s Move Campaign at the White House, the Brookings Institution, and to program members at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Fisher received her Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her undergraduate degree is in East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies from Princeton University.