Asbestos populism in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

Arthur Rose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This essay considers the changing relationship between asbestos and populism, as both terms travel across different semantic contexts. It argues that this dynamic relationship can help to outline a populist ecology, through which resource actors such as asbestos play a more significant role than either populist leaders or their people anticipate. Drawing on David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest as a site for examining the implications of this asbestos-inflected populist ecology, the essay suggests new ways of linking the recent populism of Donald Trump to an older, more articulate populism, exemplified by Pierre Trudeau.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages17
JournalSafundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2020


  • Infinite Jest
  • asbestos
  • populism
  • Donald Trump
  • Pierre Trudeau


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