Fractured States in the History of Political Thought

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Date / time: 29 June - 30 June, All day

Chandler House, University College London

Fractured States in the History of Political Thought

Fractured States in the History of Political Thought

8th Annual London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought

29-30 June 2017

Keynote: Annabel Brett (Cambridge)

The imminent centenaries of the Russian Revolution and the enactment of the Mexican Revolutionary Constitution, the quincentenary of the Reformation, as well as the heightened sensitivity in contemporary political discourse towards the politics of inclusion and exclusion, remind us of the extent to which division has been an enduring characteristic of political life. The motif of fractured territories, commonwealths, and states of being has been a feature of political writing since ancient times, with authors both warning against sliding into tyranny and anarchy, and theorising the conditions necessary to mend the many fault lines along which mankind has been divided. Political thinkers have long probed the question of which divisions have been the most challenging to overcome and reckon with, reflecting on the possible socio-economic, environmental, cultural, and psychological barriers that drive wedges between citizens and subjects of, or participants in various political spaces and institutions. Indeed, under what circumstances do states fracture, and what features are symptomatic of their fracturing? Why do members of various polities and lands experience such vastly divergent states of being? How have cracks within and between societies been healed or exploited by various historical actors?

In light of these considerations and their resonance with contemporary complexities of globalisation, new nationalist politics, and the movement, rejection, and demonisation of peoples, our conference therefore reflects on Fractured States in the History of Political Thought.

The conference features a keynote address from Annabel Brett (Cambridge), opening remarks from Richard Bourke (QMUL) as well as a closing roundtable discussion with Valentina Arena (UCL), Quentin Skinner (QMUL), Richard Bourke (QMUL), and Nicola Miller (UCL).

Attendance is free but registration is essential. For registration:

The full conference programme is available here: