Centering the Global Periphery

Globe with people and flying paper planes circling. In text below Centering the Global Periphery Kickoff

Centering the Global Periphery

Theodora Dragostinova (History)
Eric Schoon (Sociology)

This thematic area prioritizes perspectives from allegedly peripheral state and non-state actors to foreground marginalized voices on the global security order. The initial focus of the cluster engages two topics: 1) populism, polarization, and democratic challenges; and 2) legacies of empire. Exploring political crises, violence against states and individuals, environmental challenges, migration dynamics, and polarized responses to current social issues and historical legacies, we center peripheral perspectives and their cutting-edge research interpretations.

Activities include working group meetings, a speaker series, graduate student opportunities, and a culminating symposium during 2023–2024. 


Fall 2023

September 21, 2023 at 3:45pm (Thompson Library, Room 165)
Jane Burbank and Fred Cooper: Post-imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia

After the dissolution of empires, was the nation-state the only way to unite people politically, culturally, and economically? In Post-Imperial Possibilities, historians Jane Burbank and Frederick Cooper examine three large-scale, transcontinental projects aimed at bringing together peoples of different regions to mitigate imperial legacies of inequality. Eurasia, Eurafrica, and Afroasia—in theory if not in practice—offered alternative routes out of empire.

The theory of Eurasianism was developed after the collapse of imperial Russia by exiled intellectuals alienated by both Western imperialism and communism. Eurafrica began as a design for collaborative European exploitation of Africa but was transformed in the 1940s and 1950s into a project to include France’s African territories in plans for European integration. The Afroasian movement wanted to replace the vertical relationship of colonizer and colonized with a horizontal relationship among former colonial territories that could challenge both the communist and capitalist worlds.

Both Eurafrica and Afroasia floundered, victims of old and new vested interests. But Eurasia revived in the 1990s, when Russian intellectuals turned the theory’s attack on Western hegemony into a recipe for the restoration of Russian imperial power. While both the system of purportedly sovereign states and the concentrated might of large economic and political institutions continue to frustrate projects to overcome inequities in welfare and power, Burbank and Cooper’s study of political imagination explores wide-ranging concepts of social affiliation and obligation that emerged after empire and the reasons for their unlike destinies.


October 19, 2023 at 3:45pm (Derby Hall 1039)
Charles Kurzman: Post-imperial Possibilities: Eurasia, Eurafrica, Afroasia

Why are citizens of some countries so much richer, on average, than citizens of other countries? This project explores the very concept of citizenship as one of the key explanations for why the world is such an unequal place. At the same time as new methods of extraction and productivity have generated vast wealth over the last two centuries, new systems of governance have hoarded this wealth through limits on political rights and economic claims. Discrimination against non-citizens has reshaped inequality on a global scale -- from a world in which most inequality was within countries to a world in which most inequality is between countries


Spring 2023

February 9, 2023 at 3:45pm (Derby 1039)
Zero Waste as White Space: Citizenship Discrimination and the Transformation of Global Inequality

Environmental sustainability initiatives implemented across Europe have reproduced and generated new practices of racialization. Although framed as progressive in the name of “greening” Europe, these initiatives often rely on unrecognized and racialized labor. In Bulgaria, where waste labor is performed predominantly by Romani women, waste management is critical to meeting European Union environmental targets. This talk offers a historical and ethnographic account of recycling in Sofia, Bulgaria, to explore how people engage with European sustainability regimes as well as the broader political landscapes of which they are a part. Sustainability in an expanding European Union, I argue, ends up sustaining an environment structured on white supremacy and racial capitalism.

Elana Resnick is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also leads the Infrastructural Inequalities Research Group. She writes about waste, race, environmentalism, labor, and humor. Her work has been published in American Anthropologist, Collaborative Anthropologies, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Anthropology of East Europe Review, Anthropological Journal of European Cultures and is forthcoming in Public Culture. Her research has been funded by the School for Advanced Research, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Council for European Studies, the Fulbright-Hays Program, and the Wilson Center.

March 2, 2023 at 3:45pm (Thompson Library 165)
Against the World: Anti-Globalism and Mass Politics Between the World Wars

Tara Zahra is Homer J. Livingston Professor of East European History and Roman Family Faculty Director of the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago. She is also a 2014 MacArthur Genius Award Fellow and an American Academy of Arts & Sciences member. The author of three monographs, her most recent book, Against the World: Anti-Globalism and Mass Politics Between the World Wars, will be published by W.W. Norton this January.


Autumn 2022 

Thursday, October 20 at 3:45pm (Derby 1039)
Zophia Edwards, Johns Hopkins University | Professor Edwards’ research examines the impacts of colonialism and multiracial labor movements on state institutions and ideas of development in resource-rich countries in the Global South, focusing on Trinidad and Tobago.

Co-Sponsored with the Center for Latin American Studies

Thursday, November 3, at 3:45pm (Derby 1039)
Serhun Al, Izmir University of Economics | “The International Origins of Turkish Authoritarianism."
Discussant: Yigit Akin, Ohio State

Co-sponsored with the Middle East Studies Center.

Monday, November 7, at 2pm (Derby 1039)
Roundtable discussion “What is the Global Periphery?” featuring Ohio State faculty Madhumita Dutta (Geography), Jennifer Eaglin (History), Ben McKean (Political Science), and Ila Nagar (NESA)

Monday, November 14, at 2pm - 3:30pm (Derby 1039)
Manuela Boatca, Freiburg University, Germany | “Unequal Europes: Coloniality, Interimperiality and Otherness”.
Discussant: Sunnie Rucker-Chang, Ohio State

Tuesday, November 15, at 12:30pm - 2pm (Derby 1039)
Graduate Student Luncheon with Manuela Boatca, Freiburg University, Germany | The project of creolization involves the rethinking, reframing, and creative recomposition of the received categories structuring our disciplines—from Europe to the Americas, from the modern to the global. The invention of Latin America as “New Romania” (Nouvelle Romania, a linguistic and cultural sphere of influence) was an ideological move. Through it, France, which had lost its most prized colonial possession in the Caribbean after the Haitian revolution of 1791–1804 and had been forced to sell Louisiana to the United States as a result, tried to maintain political control in the American colonies and thus partake of coloniality. In the process, Latinity was gradually displaced from the center of Christianity and increasingly equated with Catholicism. Yet modern nations in the European East claimed allegiance with classical empires - an attempt at trans-imperial negotiation in a world-system increasingly dominated by West European colonial powers. Creolizing knowledge is discussed here as a way of retrieving the claims of peripheral regions in both colonial and imperial situations to shaping the categories we employ - "Eastern" Europe, "Latin" America - and the legacies they bespeak .”

Book: Creolizing the Modern by Anca Parvulescu and Manuela Boatca
Co-sponsored with the Center for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Monday, November 28, at 12pm
Working group meeting