The key ideas of the Enlightenment were always in a tense relationship with the realities of the European imperial projects of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During this imperial period, the world was an involuntary theater for European political, moral and philosophical debates. Today, this logic has been reversed and Europe has become the theater for the global challenges of climate, migration, economic inequality and failed states. In this lecture, Arjun Appadurai raises the question of whether the core values of the Enlightenment can continue to be useful in this globalized predicament.
Arjun Appadurai is a leading figure in Globalization Studies. A social-cultural anthropologist by training, he is currently the Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He has authored numerous books and scholarly articles, including Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (Duke 2006) and Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (Minnesota 1996; Oxford India 1997). His books have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Italian.