Rethinking the Contemporary: The World since the Cold War


This network is designed to provide a forum for examining the main forces that have transformed the world since the end of the Cold War, bringing together people from a number of disciplines who are studying them from different perspectives. The focus is very broad, and is not confined to geopolitics: we are interested in a number of issues, including the renewed importance of religion in global politics; the rise of global markets and the increased power of consumerism; the effects of environmental change and of developments in global communications; the extent to which ‘post-modern’ cultures have superseded the modernizing projects and modernist cultures of the early and mid-20th century.

Our approach will be interdisciplinary, and while the backgrounds of the founders of the network are in History and Literary/Cultural Studies we are keen to use a number of disciplinary approaches. We therefore hope that a wide variety of scholars will participate, including political scientists, cultural and literary scholars, anthropologists, philosophers, students of religion, sociologists, economists and specialists in technology, as well as historians. We also hope to involve those in the worlds of the arts and culture, many of whom are also addressing these issues through their own art forms.

We would plan to develop an interdisciplinary network, while inviting scholars from outside to speak who have developed, or are currently developing, new ways of thinking about the post-cold war era, uniting the detailed and empirical with the comparative and thematic. This would include both well-known and younger speakers.

The network will convene from the autumn of 2016, and one of our first events will be a talk by Professor Arjun Appadurai of New York University, on his recent work on Cultures of Finance.

We very much welcome the participation of anybody interested, whatever stage they are in their career in academia or the arts.


For further information, please contact:

David Priestland


The network conveners are:

Faisal Devji (History)

Marilyn Booth (Oriental Studies)

David Priestland (History)

Past Events