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CIRR-IRSS Colloquium Special - Infraglob Lecture: Karen Smith (University of Cape Town/Leiden University): 'The New World Order with and beyond ‘Emerging Powers’: An African Perspective'

Wanneer:wo 16-05-2018 16:00 - 18:00
Waar:Room A900, Broerstraat 9

The new world order with and beyond ‘emerging powers’: An African perspective

Karen Smith

Reflection about the current or imminent transformation of world order has become the latest fixation of scholars of international relations. In the burgeoning literature about changing and future world order, most conceptions and discussions of the changing order are pre-occupied with two things: anxiety about the future role of the United States and the unpredictability of China’s agenda. While some attention is also paid to Europe, India and Brazil, the rest of the world is largely overlooked, and Africa in particular is either ignored entirely or treated as a footnote. This paper aims to provide some views on the role Africa plays in the process of global reordering, and also how Africa will be affected by it. Coxian critical theory provides a useful entry point into helping us think about different aspects of world order. The triangular model, consisting of material forces, institutions and ideas enables us to explore the nature of the existing world order, its origin, and the possibilities for transformation.

The INFRAGLOB Project: what is it about?

From 2018 - 2023, this new five-year research project will study how newly emerging powers from the Global South are introducing and shaping new practices of governing conflict and business-society relations. The INFRAGLOB team will research the ideas and models driving Chinese and Brazilian management of large-scale port and mining projects in Tanzania and Mozambique, and how they are negotiated by Africans. Conceptualizing sites of infrastructure as laboratories, it ultimately asks how new actors, and practices emerging from South-South relations, change the governance of economic hubs as well as their global governance. To what extent do new models, experiences and practices circulate across China, Brazil and Africa and shape global politics? In pursuing these objectives, the INFRAGLOB team will conduct multi-sited ethnographic research in Mozambique, Tanzania, Brazil and China, within international organizations and transnational practitioner communities. See more here.