Fenwick Fellow Peter Mandaville Encourages Thinking Outside Westernization Box

Posted: November 20, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Peter Mandaville, one of two Fenwick Fellows selected in 2001, will present the results of his research on non-Western alternatives to modern political practice. The lecture, “Alternative Worlds/Dissenting Visions: Globalization, Ethics, and Community,” is the University Libraries’ Fenwick Fellow fall lecture and part of the Libraries’ Millionth Volume yearlong celebration. The lecture begins at 3 p.m. tomorrow in the Johnson Center Library.

Mandaville, assistant professor of government and politics in Public and International Affairs, will addresses how to move our thinking about globalization beyond standard accounts of a world economy, the Internet, and Westernization. He observes that attempts to get beyond the nation-state usually produce supra-national associations such as the European Union, which, he says, is simply “rewriting the logic of the sovereign state at a higher level.

“I’m much more interested in resources and traditions that exist below and within the state. And this where I begin to explore alternative, non-statist, visions of community and social ethics, many of which have their origins outside the history of Western political modernity. A number of political theorists, most notable in India and the Islamic world, are trying today to reinterpret, recover, and deploy aspects of these traditions as solutions to some of the more alienating dimensions of neoliberal globalization,” Mandaville says.

Mandaville plans to explain how we might move towards a new spirit of cosmopolitanism without a universal, monolithic set of required morals and models, but instead, one that seeks to be comfortable with difference, pluralism, and ambiguity, and views these qualities as enriching.

An expert on non-Western themes, Mandaville wrote Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma, and co-edited two volumes of essays on non-Western and phenomenological approaches to international relations, The Zen of International Relations and Meaning and International Relations. He has provided briefings to government agencies and testified before Congress on Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda.

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