Kayla Preston, a fourth-year student in the honours in Sociology program, can add published researcher to her resumé.

Preston, along with professor Dr. Gul Çaliskan, wrote a paper titled “Tropes of Fear and the Crisis of the West: Trumpism as a Discourse of Post-Territorial Coloniality,” which has been published by the Postcolonial Studies Journal.

“It’s overwhelming to have my work published in an academic journal, especially in a journal that pertains to postcolonial studies—a field of study that really interests me,” Preston said.

“Working as a team with my professor and mentor Dr. Çaliskan was an amazing opportunity for me. I was able to learn the ropes of academic publishing and the process of peer-review, which will be invaluable to me as I progress throughout my studies.”

The inspiration behind the paper came from the Orientalism, Islamophobia and Postcolonial Transgressions seminar taught by Çaliskan. During the course, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, and through discussions and papers, Preston and Dr. Çaliskan found the topics covered in the seminar could be used to analyze Trump’s rhetoric.

“Kayla was preparing for her honours thesis proposal on the discourses of fear and hate in the Facebook posts of pro-White nationalist groups in Canadian society.” Çaliskan said. “So writing something on the emerging ‘Trumpism’ was a natural way to bridge her class work with her thesis.”

The paper found the election of Donald Trump to be part of a larger system of crisis in society—one that’s rooted in Western imperial tradition and has sparked a counterforce of ‘decolonality.’

“We found the election of Donald Trump, and the discourse he often uses, is part of a crisis of coloniality, colonial masculinity, nationalism, and rationality. In order to understand Donald Trump as a President and his discourses, we must understand the systems and institutions of the Western world are built on coloniality,” Preston said.

“We also witness that a political and cultural counterforce is being mobilized. We call this counterforce ‘decoloniality,’ which is a response to traditional forms of political, social, and cultural domination,” Çaliskan added.

“The rise of Trumpism shows us the urgency of cultivating new ways of relating, understanding, challenging, and resisting the tropes of fear and hatred that are prevalent in our times.”

Once she completes her Bachelor of Arts, Preston plans to pursue a master’s in Sociology.