It was my interest in politics and the political that once brought me to the rhetoric department as a young student, and it was the many different ways in which we can understand the connection between the two that also sparked my desire to continue into a career of research and teaching. Hence, already in my first thesis on undergraduate level, my work has constantly focused on questions surrounding politics and the political and how it can be thought within the intersection between rhetoric and other disciplines, most notably political philosophy, psychoanalysis, and political science. Here, the rhetorical history, and the way in which it coincides with the political history of, in particular, the West, has been central to most of my investigations. I believe that rhetoric as a discipline, because of its history, holds a position that makes it ideal for thinking the relationship between language and politics, highlighting that while our ability to make use of logos might be the presupposition for humans as political beings, it is also what makes politics, as the organization of a peaceful and harmonious society, impossible. In my research, I have therefore tried to understand the rhetorical functioning of certain political concepts such as diplomacy, the people, and war, as well as questions concerning the sophist’s role as the shadow figure of democracy. The topic of the political is also actualized in my work on rhetoric’s relationship to philosophy as well as that treating the history and future of rhetorical criticism.
Starting in January 2022, I will be working with a three-year postdoctoral project funded by the Swedish Research Foundation’s International postdoc-programme. The project is entitled The Return of the Sophists?: Democracy, Rhetoric, and Post-Truth in the Populist Moment and aims to develop an understanding of the state of contemporary democracy focusing on the threat that the eloquent speaker poses to the people as sovereign. By tracing how political thought has approached the figures of the populist and the sophist since the 60s, the project will develop an understanding of our populist moment and what it can tell us of the state of democracy in the post-truth era.