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Duncan Bell (Professor of Political Thought and International Relations, University of Cambridge), author of Dreamworlds of Race: Empire and the Utopian Destiny of Anglo-America
David Armitage (Professor of History, Harvard University; Honorary Professor of History, Queen’s University Belfast)
Adom Getachew (Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago)
Between the late nineteenth century and the First World War an ocean-spanning network of prominent individuals advocated the unification of Britain and the United States. They dreamt of the final consolidation of the Angloworld. Scholars, journalists, politicians, businessmen, and science fiction writers invested the “Anglo-Saxons” with extraordinary power. The most ambitious hailed them as a people destined to bring peace and justice to the earth. In his new book, Dreamworlds of Race (Princeton 2020), Duncan Bell, a leading historian of empire, explores this moment in the history of racial domination, political utopianism, and world order. This racial dreamworld was an object of competing claims and fantasies which Bell juxtaposes with pan-Africanist critiques of racial domination and late twentieth-century fictional narratives of Anglo-American empire.
At a time when racialised politics have again entered global discourses with force and urgency, Dreamworlds of Race analyses ideas of empire and world order that reverberate to this day. This event will provide a forum to debate and discuss the wider themes of race and empire which the book provokes. Professor Bell will discuss his book, after which Professors Armitage and Getachew will respond to the book while drawing on insights from their respective areas of research.
Duncan Bell is Professor of Political Thought and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, and Co-Director of the Cambridge Centre for Political Thought. He works mainly on the history of modern British and American political thought, with a particular focus on ideologies of empire and international politics. He is the author of The Idea of Greater Britain (2007), Reordering the World (2016), and Dreamworlds of Race (2020), as well as several edited volumes, including Empire, Race, and Global Justice (2019). Please click further information on Professor Bell.
David Armitage is one of the world’s foremost historians and the author or editor of eighteen books, most recently Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (2017). He is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and former Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University, where he teaches intellectual history and international history. He is also an Honorary Professor of History at Queen's University Belfast, an Honorary Professor of History at the University of Sydney and an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge. Please click further information on Professor Armitage.
Adom Getachew is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is a political theorist with research interests in the history of political thought, theories of race and empire, and postcolonial political theory. Her work focuses on the intellectual and political histories of Africa and the Caribbean. Her first book, Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton 2019), reconstructs an account of self-determination offered in the political thought of Black Atlantic anticolonial nationalists during the height of decolonization in the twentieth century. Please click further information on Professor Getachew.
Series Convenor: Dr Zaheer Kazmi