Guest speaker discusses global communications in age of Trump, nationalism

Lauren Girgis

Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump are evidence of the recent resurgence of nationalism, said Terry Flew, creative industries and communication professor, at a talk Thursday.

Flew is a professor at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. His talk on new challenges for global communication was part of the Global Media Industries Speaker Series, hosted by the radio-television-film department. Flew discussed theories about the world’s growing global economy and culture but said nationalism is still very popular today.

“There is a fallacy of linearity, that you move from local to national to global,” Flew said. “The nation-state has not been shrinking.”

Flew said nationalism has been characterized by distrust of political elites, deprivation in the face of economic equality, destruction of national cultures and traditions and dealignment of citizens as voters from their political parties.

“It’s become commonplace to see the rise of nationalism as a backlash against the policy of the last couple decades,” Flew said. “Now, in Europe, 25 percent of the votes go to populist candidates, as opposed to 7 percent in 1998.”

Flew said politicians cannot return to strategies and policies they used before 2016. 

“We’re coming to a new age of empires … an era of competing populisms,” Flew said.

Flew is the author of 11 books and has published 11 books and 145 journal articles and book chapters. He is currently on a book tour, promoting the second edition of his book “Understanding Global Media.” 

“When you look at Professor Flew’s website, my advice is to just admire, not compare,” said Wenhong Chen, radio-television-film associate professor and organizer of the lecture series.


Radio-television-film graduate student Nabeeha Chaudhary attended the talk and said she values Flew’s global perspective on media. Chaudhary is the assistant instructor of an undergraduate class, Media and Society, and said she hopes to instill in her students a view of media that extends beyond the Western world.

“I think it’s really important to get out of this bubble, where when we think media we often only think Hollywood specifically,” Chaudhary said. “I think it’s just always good to hear from people working in other parts of the world, and in (Flew’s) case, he is … living and working in Australia. His take on the same topics is obviously going to be a little different.”