The Academy 2022: The Old Roots of New Normal

JULY 2022
IN PERSON
Full details coming soon

Time and again, we hear we are on the verge of a new world. If the victory of liberal democracy in 1989 was pronounced the ‘end of history’ and the dawn of a new post-political world, the populist upswells of recent years were said to be history’s return. Likewise, America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and increasing tensions with Russia and China are said to be the beginning of a new era of superpower competition. The ‘New Normal’ of the period of the coronavirus pandemic is no exception to this idea that there has been some kind of break from the recent past. We seem to be living in a new era of changed expectations, changed individuals and changed societies. How, then, can we understand the New Normal we seem to be hurtling towards? Are we to resign ourselves to trends that are presented as out of our control?

The Academy 2022 is a unique chance to explore the contours of our changed political landscape by examining the historical development of these contemporary trends. Returning to the traditional format of in-person discussions, this event will delve into history and literature to examine major moments of crisis and change, the fall and rise again of geopolitical confrontation and the fatalistic outlook that guides many in society. The discussions will also probe the future of the changing political and economic landscape.

This is an opportunity to critically examine – and challenge – our New Normal, and an occasion to discuss the intellectual history of the present with people from all walks of life. The Academy 2022 will revolve around big ideas, historic books, engaging lectures and great discussions. Together, in person, we will explore the history, philosophy, literature and sociology of our current moment, through a series of lectures and discussions on a range of foundational themes. If we live in a time where nothing can be taken for granted, The Academy 2022: The Old Roots of New Normal is a chance to return to the key building blocks of social and intellectual life.

THEMES WILL INCLUDE:
• Fatalism and the challenge to autonomy
• International disorder – its history and future
• The rise of technocracy and the new elite
• Crisis and change in literature and history, such as the fall of Rome, fin de siècle Europe, and the collapse of the Soviet Union

SUGGESTED INITIAL READING
• Roy Porter, Edward Gibbon: Making History (1988)
• Branco Milanovic, Capitalism Alone (2019)
• Richard Lachmann, First-Class Passengers on a Sinking Ship: Elite Politics and the Decline of Great Powers (2020)

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For further information contact Jacob Reynolds jacob@theboi.co.uk or Geoff Kidder geoff@theboi.co.uk