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18:00 - 20:00 27 May 2016

The clash of civilisations and of ignorance


Cruciform B404 Lecture Theatre 2 | Cruciform Building (link Map)
Gower Street | London | WC1E 6BT | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Alumni | Public | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Open

This panel is an ambitious and timely attempt to reformulate a challenge to the popular thesis that we have entered an era of clashing civilisations, in which the globe’s primary source of conflict is between cultural and religious identities. The ‘Clash’ of our title refers to the thesis that was first formulated by Samuel Huntington some 20 years ago and has reemerged very recently as a favoured catchphrase of popular political debate. ‘Ignorance’ invokes Edward Said’s rejoinder that such a thesis is dangerously oblivious to different humanisms that have not been the exclusive property of Western liberalism. The renewed use of ‘the clash of civilisations’ is built upon a fantasy of return to 19th century certainties about the value of Western universalism and to a belief in the civilising effects of a Western imperium. Our keynote speaker Pankaj Mishra will suggest, 'The thin sound of cracking is heard from many more parts of the world as exhausted authority surrenders to nihilism'.


David Alabaster
+44 (0)20 7679 5576 | d.alabaster@ucl.ac.uk


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