Lowell Lecture

Facing Coups in America—Then and Now

Date & Time

April 12, 2024 at 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Suffolk University - Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street Boston, MA 02111
Driving Directions


Arlie Russell Hochschild, Adam Hochschild, and Paul Solman

Presenting Organization

Ford Hall Forum at Suffolk University


Current Affairs


Susan H. Spurlock (sspurlock@suffolk.edu, 617 504-7297)

Facing Coups in America—Then and Now Join us in conversation with two of the most influential scholars of their generation, sociologist and author, Arlie Russell Hochschild and Adam Hochschild, historian, author, and journalist. The afternoon’s moderator is award-winning PBS NewsHour journalist Paul Solman.

This Forum is in conjunction with the Suffolk University Theatre Department’s production of It Can’t Happen Here. A statement…a warning…a provocation…the ultimate denial of reality. In his talk, Adam Hochschild explains How It Can’t Happen Here Was Born. In the 1930s, the world was increasingly alarmed by the rise of fascism. In 1935, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel, It Can’t Happen Here, about a fascist coup in the United States, and in 1936, the novel was turned into a play, which opened simultaneously in 21 theatres across the country.

Arlie Hochschild ponders whether the events of the 1930s Germany could occur in a different form in the US in the 2020s. For the upcoming election, many arrows point to Donald Trump, a man who has long claimed that the 2020 election was stolen, criticizes the “deep state,” refuses to promise to obey the Constitution, and promises instead to deliver retribution and a “blood bath.” Focusing on globalization’s shake-up of status systems in red states, low trust in public institutions, and the play of pride and shame, she describes what circumstances have led us to this moment and asks how we might emerge with a democracy intact.