The Institute for Freedom & Community at St. Olaf College to Host Author Justin Gest in a Forum on White Working Class Politics

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Lecture and discussion to be held on January 18.

The Institute for Freedom and Community

The Institute for Freedom & Community at St. Olaf College announced today that it will host a lecture and discussion on January 18 with Justin Gest, author of the newly released book The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality.

The Institute was created to encourage free inquiry and open dialogue on important political and social topics. The lecture and discussion will be held at St. Olaf College and is free and open to the public. It will also be live streamed online at

“Trump and the White Working Class: The Politics of a New Minority?”
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sun and Gold Ballrooms, Buntrock Commons
St. Olaf College, 1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, Minn.

On the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump, political scientist and ethnographer Justin Gest will offer a fresh look at the white working class constituency that helped propel Trump to victory. Gest will draw from his recent book, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality, in which he examines once-thriving white working class communities that have fallen on hard times. Gest offers a new and potentially controversial perspective on the driving forces shaping the political activity of white working class people, and his work bears directly on questions of race, racism, and marginality in the context of Trump's victory. 

The format of the event will be a traditional lecture followed immediately by small group discussions in partnership with leaders from the Institute-supported Sustained Dialogue Program at St. Olaf College. The event will conclude with a Q&A session motivated by the discussions in these small groups.

Gest, an assistant professor of public policy at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, has also published Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West. The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality is his most recent work, published by Oxford University Press in October 2016.

To learn more about the event or The Institute, visit

About The Institute

The Institute for Freedom & Community was established at St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts college, in 2015 to encourage free inquiry and meaningful debate of important political and social issues. The Institute programs, including coursework, the Public Affairs Conversation, public affairs internships, and public lectures, aim to challenge assumptions, question easy answers, and foster constructive, respectful dialogue among those with differing values and contending points of view.

About St. Olaf College

One of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges, St. Olaf College offers a distinctive education grounded in academic rigor, residential learning, global engagement, and a vibrant Lutheran faith tradition. By cultivating the habits of mind and heart that enable graduates to lead lives of financial independence, professional accomplishment, personal fulfillment, and community engagement, St. Olaf College provides an uncommon educational experience that fully prepares students to make a meaningful difference in a changing world.

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Rachel Enerson
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