British Library Lecture Series 2018 - Francis Fukuyama: Exploring Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition

PSA - British Library Lecture Series 2018

Francis Fukuyama: Exploring Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition

Against the recent rise in populist and economic nationalism, historian and bestselling author Francis Fukuyama traces the development of the idea of identity. He draws on this history to deliver a sharp warning: that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we are doomed to endure continual conflict.

Francis Fukuyama saw our current crisis coming. In 2014 he wrote that American and global institutions were in disarray and too weak to withstand the capture of the state by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions are being borne out with the rise of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarianism is destabilising the international order. These populist nationalists claim a direct connection with ‘the people’, a group usually defined in narrow and exclusionary terms. It seems that the demands of identity define world politics today. Anti-immigrant populism, the upsurge of politicised Islam, the fractious environment of many college campuses, and the re-emergence of white nationalism – all these are rooted in challenges to the universal recognition that is the basis of liberal democracy. Too many now gravitate towards restrictive forms of recognition based on nation, religion, sect, race, or ethnicity. 

Francis Fukuyama is a Professor at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies and Director of the Institute’s Centre on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is the author of Political Order and Political DecayThe Origins of Political OrderThe Great DisruptionOur Posthuman Future and State Building, among others. He is known for his influential 1989 essay, The End of History? which announced the triumph of liberal democracy and was a timely and influential thesis that chimed with the ending of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union and is still highly relevant in current ideological debates. 

This event will be chaired by Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Humanities and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham. 

HOW TO REGISTER (PSA MEMBERS ONLY): There are a limited number of complimentary places for PSA Members only. To reserve a place please email Susy Ajayi at the PSA, quoting your membership number. It is appreciated if you only request a place if you genuinely plan on attending. Please do not ask on behalf of non-PSA members - tickets can be purchased via the British Library here

Venue directions are available here.