CARP 2019: Character Assassination and Populism: Challenges and Responses

Arlington, VA, USA, 15.-17. March 2019

George Mason University’s Character Assassination and Reputation Politics (CARP) Research Lab <>hosts its second international conference “Character Assassination and Populism: Challenges and Responses” on March 15-17, 2019*.

The three-day conference will feature over 40 presentations on C.A. theory and research by scholars and professionals from 20 countries. The full schedule is available online <>...

One primary characteristic of today’s global society is the growing public distrust in many traditional authorities. In the context of this institutional legitimacy crisis, there is a great demand for new voices to trust. These changes provide opportunities for populists and charismatic opinion leaders of all kinds to promote their agendas and influence public opinion. Populist politicians often become primary newsmakers for clickbait content in the media that proliferates personal opinions, falsehoods, and unwarranted ad hominem attacks. Their belligerent rhetoric also normalizes the culture of incivility which has negative consequences for civil debate in a well-functioning democracy.

The keynote address and two professional panels will address the phenomenon of character assassination and populism across a crowded and diverse media “spectrum” – including social media and strategic communication campaigns – to explore the impacts of populism, how and when it occurs, governance, and safeguards.

Please remember to dress business professionally.

Register here:


The CARP Research Lab includes scholars with disciplinary homes in psychology, history, communication and public relations. With investigators from both George Mason University and the University of Amsterdam, the CARP team focuses efforts along three main dimensions:  research on historical and contemporary examples of character assassination; education for academic and public audiences about character assassination causes, impacts and prevention; and risk assessment to determine vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies for public figures concerned about their reputations.    


Conference Schedule: