The last quarter century of war and economic crisis has revealed many of the limitations of international institutions, ending the era of liberal triumphalism which succeeded the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The period since 2008, characterized by acute economic crisis, the return of apparent great power rivalries, a threat of wider war between nuclear powers, is also accompanied by the historic acceleration of inflation and low growth globally. These developments, alongside a weakening of the liberal democratic order in general, suggest that the process of globalization itself – however illusory its promises for sustained economic dynamism once were – is also now being reversed.
What are the underlying causes of the contemporary breakdown of globalization, flagging growth of the world economy, and the rise in militarism, including the militarization of much of civil society? Do such developments in turn mean that the neoliberal paradigm which informed globalization is likewise undergoing a fundamental change, or that it is itself being superseded? If the latter, by what, and driven by which political forces, deciding among which alternatives?
The present era of historic transformation and crisis raises questions about how nearly all extant international and national institutions, official and civil, will respond and attempt to resolve the many contradictions now besieging them. A semester-long seminar series, one component of a project studying the world beyond neoliberalism, will be a venue for discussions among analysts of recent and contemporary history. The seminar will address a wide range of topics: from the state of international law, economic history, political theory, geopolitics and the interstate balance of power, to transformations in media and the arts.