Asbestos populism in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest

Arthur Rose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


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
JournalSafundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 May 2020

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