WONAGO Lecture Series




16:15 Uhr (UTC)


18:00 Uhr (UTC)

WONAGO Lecture Series
© GIGA/Bertram Richter

  • About the WONAGO Lecture Series The decades since the late twentieth century have been marked by both the end of the bipolar world order and the rise of the countries and regions of the Global South. Most explanations of these major changes focus on political and economic power shifts and pay less attention to the ideas of order on which political and economic decisions are based. In particular, not much research has been done on how actors within the Global South understand and influence world order.

    World Order Narratives of the Global South (WONAGO) is a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and collectively led by Universität Hamburg (UHH) and the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA). The project explores how and why narratives of world order would be articulated and communicated in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East during the Cold War and then in the years since its end too. Our main interest is in highlighting the agency of actors from the Global South by examining their interactions with each other and comparing their narratives.

    As part of this project, the WONAGO lecture series aims to generate an interdisciplinary discussion around various components of these world order narratives and build a community of scholars and policymakers engaged with these issues. We therefore invite guests based in different parts of the world to present their understandings of how key Global South actors have been describing the world order, how they construct, disseminate, and renegotiate their narratives, and how this has affected political, cultural, and social developments more broadly. The lectures take place monthly in virtual or hybrid format, depending on the pandemic situation. Information on our activities is available here, and our project Twitter handle is @WONAGO_HH.

    Vergangene Veranstaltungen

    América Latina en los sesentas globales: cuando la periferia se hizo centro

    Monday, 10 July 2023 | 4:15–6:00 p.m. (CEST)

    Location: Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1 (room 118), 20146 Hamburg, and online

    La charla se preguntará acerca de cuál fue el lugar de América Latina en los sesenta globales. Se repasarán las trayectorias e influencias globales de ciertas ideas y proyectos políticos e intelectuales surgidos en América Latina. A través del estudio de los recorridos globales de ideas cómo la teología de la liberación, la teoría de la dependencia y la guerrilla urbana y rural, entre otras, se intentará mostrar cómo los sesentas globales también pueden ser leídos cómo una inversión del esquema centro periferia en el campo de la producción intelectual, cultural y política.

    Orador: Dr. Aldo Marchesi (Universidad de la República, Uruguay)

    Moderadora: Dr. Natália Ayo Schmiedecke (Universität Hamburg)

    Lengua: Español

    América Latina en los sesentas globales: cuando la periferia se hizo centro
    © GIGA / Universität Hamburg
    Video of the WONAGO lecture "América Latina en los sesentas globales: cuando la periferia se hizo centro"

    Radical Rights in the Global South: Comparisons  Monday, 26 June 2023 | 5:15–7:00 p.m. (CEST)

    Location: Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1 (room 118), Hamburg, and online Prof. Dr. Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos gives a lecture on a paper with findings of a systematic group effort undertaken by scholars from Turkey, Hungary, India, the Philippines and Brazil to compare radical right governments in those countries. Five cases are discussed: Turkey under Erdogan (assumed office in 2003), Hungary under Orbán (assumed office in 2010), India under Modi (assumed office in 2014); the Philippines under Duterte (2016-2022) and Brazil under Bolsonaro (2019-2022). Initial questions driving the comparison include: how did they come to power? What strategies of legitimation did they employ? What resistances did they face? Similarities and common threads are highlighted aiming to shed light on hatred politics as a global phenomenon but seen from the margins of global capital. It is argued that these regimes enact as cultural wars the dynamics of individualism and competition that preside daily social reproduction, while the policies they implement reinforce these same trends - that is to say, they reinforce the dissolution of social bonds that made the politicization of social resentment feasible in the first place. As the social and cultural dynamics that brought hatred politics to the limelight are reinforced, a dynamic comparable to an autoimmune disease unfolds, making it particularly hard to unseat these regimes once they are in power. Speaker: Prof. Dr. Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos (Universidade Federal de São Paulo)

    Moderator: Dr. Thiago Prates (Universität Hamburg)  Language: English

    Radical Rights in the Global South: Comparisons
    © GIGA / Universität Hamburg
    Video of the WONAGO lecture "Radical Rights in the Global South: Comparisons"

    Vergangene Veranstaltungen

    Counternarratives, Opposition, and the Politics of Global Order

    Wednesday, 24 May 2023 | 5:00–6:30 p.m. (CEST) Location: GIGA, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, room 550, and online Based on recent work on the polemical nature of the concept of peace, and the role of subaltern counterpublics in global politics, Professor Jaap de Wilde and Dr. Benjamin Herborth will discuss the limitations of prevalent concepts of global order and explore the potential of rethinking global order in terms of processes of ordering. 

    Speakers: Prof. Dr. Jaap de Wilde is Professor in International Relations & Security Studies at the University of Groningen.

    Dr. Benjamin Herborth is Assistant Professor in History and Theory of International Relations at the University of Groningen.

    Moderator: Dr. Mohammadbagher Forough (GIGA)

    Language: English

    Vergangene Veranstaltungen

    India and the Indo-Pacific: Between Thucydides and Kindleberger Trap

    Friday, 5 May 2023 | 3:00–5:00 p.m. (CEST) Location: GIGA, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, room 531, and online

    Ideological divisions (U.S.-led democracies versus China-patronized autocracies) have increasingly grown more prominent, especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Debates over Thucydides Trap to Kindleberger Trap are intensifying. The major-power competition—the predominant economic, technological, and political rivalries between the democratic and authoritarian powers - is increasingly sharpening the security and governance landscape in the Indo-Pacific. How is India positioned in this tightly contested environment? What is India’s current and future approaches to Indo-Pacific power politics?

    Speaker: Dr. Jagannath Panda is the Head of the Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs (SCSA-IPA) at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP), Sweden. He is also a Senior Fellow at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies, The Netherlands. As a senior expert on Indo-Pacific & China, Dr. Panda’s research focuses primarily on India’s relations with Indo-Pacific powers (China, Japan, Korea, USA); China-India Relations, India-Japan, and India-Korea relations. Dr. Panda has testified to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission at the US Congress on ‘China and South Asia’. He is the Series Editor for Routledge Studies on Think Asia, a Taylor and Francis publication series.

    Moderator: Dr. Mohammadbagher Forough (GIGA)

    Language: English

    Rebellion at the Agrarian Frontier: Peasant Political Sociability, Globalism and the Colombian State 

    Monday, 17 April 2023 | 5:00 p.m. (CEST) Location: GIGA, Neuer Jungfernstieg 21, 20354 Hamburg, room 550, and online

    In this lecture, part of the WONAGO Lecture Series, Professor Francisco Gutiérrez-Sanín presents his preliminary reflections on rebel peasant sociability, and its evolution in the last decades. The literature has long established that it was at the permanently expanding agrarian frontier that the Colombian guerrillas, and especially the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia by its acronym in Spanish), made their main inroads and were able to build relatively stable constituencies. But, on the other hand, rebellious peasants at that frontier were intimately linked to very dynamic and essentially deregulated global markets and involved in modest but tangible trajectories of social advancement. Why, how and under which conditions did they associate then to armed revolutionary projects? Prof. Dr. Francisco Gutiérrez-Sanín will revisit possible answers to the question linking state, markets and peasant sociabilities.

    Speaker: Prof. Dr. Francisco Gutiérrez-Sanín (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)

    Moderator: (GIGA)

    Language: English

    Jihad and Revolution in Syria: Political and Scientific Narratives and Counter-narratives

    Tuesday, 14 March 2023 | 4:15–6:00 p.m. (CET) Location: Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W 221, Flügel West, 20146 Hamburg, and online

    This presentation is based on an ethnographic study conducted between 2016 and 2017 with the Syrian revolutionaries of the "liberated zones” in Turkey, close to the Syrian borders, and with the populations that lived under the Islamic State government and fled to refugee camps in Iraq. What distinguishes liberated zones, held by revolutionary forces, from the areas that are controlled by the regime and by the Islamic State? This presentation compares the political institutions, both formal and informal, of the principal actors of the conflict in Syria between 2011 and 2017. Building on this comparison, an investigation of the dominant narratives produced about the Syrian revolutions by politicians and scholars is presented, both in Europe and in the MENA regions, highlighting the main narrative positions polarising the political, journalistic, and scientific fields.  A particular focus will be placed on their views of the Arab uprisings, the Syrian revolution, and the case of Europeans who joined the Jihad with various Syrian factions. The presentation will then conclude by analysing the narratives emerging within the Syrian Revolution itself. More specifically, it will highlight the obsolescence of some earlier narratives such as those associated with “anti-imperial struggle”, “political Islam and Secularism”, and “Panarabism”, leading to their overtaking by newer narratives that emerged through the revolutionary process and its dynamics.

    Speaker: Dr. Montassir Sakhi (KU Leuven)

    Moderator: Dr. Khalil Dahbi (GIGA)

    Language: English

    Recomposición de las relaciones internacionales de Cuba tras la caída del muro de Berlín (1989-2022)

    Miércoles, 21 de septiembre de 2022 | 16-17:30 (CET)

    Ubicación: Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W 221, Flügel West, 20146 Hamburg o en línea 

    Esta conferencia trata sobre los cambios en las relaciones internacionales y políticas a que se vio obligada Cuba a principios de los noventa del siglo pasado. La desaparición del socialismo en Europa Oriental (1989-1990) y la desintegración de la Unión Soviética (1991), junto con el reforzamiento del bloqueo económico por parte de Estados Unidos, con las leyes Torricelli y la Helms-Burton, puso a la Revolución Cubana en la coyuntura más difícil de toda su historia. La profunda e inesperada crisis económica estaba motivada por la pérdida simultánea de mercados, precios y créditos, así como aliados políticos y militares.  

    En menos de cuatro décadas, Cuba debió reorientar su economía y alianzas de golpe dos veces. Primero, como consecuencia de las transformaciones generadas después del triunfo de la Revolución Cubana en 1959, cuando fue necesario modificar toda la estructura económico-social del país y sus vínculos políticos y militares, ante la hostilidad de Estados Unidos. A fines de los noventa, al desaparecer abruptamente el entorno donde Cuba se había insertado desde los años sesenta, la Isla, en medio de una crisis económica sin paralelo, debió volver a variar drásticamente todos sus vínculos externos y, en gran medida también su sistema económico, ante el dramático dilema de conservar las conquistas sociales conseguidas por la Revolución o rendirse al asedio norteamericano, que aprovechando la coyuntura redobló el bloqueo. A favor de esta nueva orientación actuaron los amplios acuerdos de colaboración firmados primero con la República Popular China y más adelante con Rusia, aunque lo más significativo ha sido la estrecha colaboración con Venezuela, así como la fundación de la Alianza Bolivariana para las Américas (ALBA), un nuevo mecanismo de integración regional al que ingresaron Nicaragua, Bolivia y otros países latinoamericanos y caribeños, que ha sido la principal base de sustentación de la Revolución Cubana en el siglo XXI. En particular, el comercio entre Cuba y Venezuela llegaría a alcanzar entonces niveles sin precedentes. 

    Orador: Dr. Sergio Guerra Vilaboy (Universidad de La Habana) 

    Moderadora: Dr. Natália Ayo Schmiedecke (Universität Hamburg)

    Lengua: Español

    Hold Your Tongue: Towards a Comparative History of “Small Languages” in Southern Africa and South Asia, 1850s–1930s

    Wednesday, 18 January 2023 | 5:00–6:30 p.m. (CET)   Location: Research Centre “Hamburg's (post-)colonial Legacy”, Rothenbaumchausse 34, 20148 Hamburg (mezzanine level entry, on the left side next to Hamburg University Guest House) and online

    In postcolonial historiography of both Southern Africa and South Asia, the relationship between colonialism and language has predominantly come to be cast in a manner that privileges such African and Asian languages which command substantive constituencies running into millions. In putting together a comparative story of the often-overlooked “small languages” in these two locations over a period of almost ninety years, this lecture attempts to complicate the easy narrative of vernacularity in the Global South. It explores the political implications of the familial model in the European linguistic imagination, the unequal access to and the uneven imprints of print technology, and the halting histories of standardisation and institutionalisation in colonial frontiers. Attention is given not only to the varying textures of the discursive entwinement of the ethnological and the philological but also to the different ways in which the language question came to be bound up with the promise of representative government in late-colonial climates. Excavating the formation of “small languages” in this style, the lecture contends, allows us to rethink the possibilities of anticolonial histories outside the strictures of methodological nationalism.

    Speaker: Dr. Bodhisattva Kar (Department of Historical Studies at UCT University of Cape Town (UCT))

    Moderator: Dr. Diana M. Natermann (Universität Hamburg)

    Latin American Travels in the 19th Century: Gender, Narratives, and Projections on Europe and the United States

    Wednesday, 17 August 2022 | 6:15–7:45 p.m. (CET) Location: Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W 122, Flügel West, 20146 Hamburg, and online

    It has been said that the 19th century is the “golden age” of travel reports. To a large extent, European imperialism contributed to the fulfillment of many trips since knowledge of non-European areas of the globe could add advantages to a cultural, political, and, ultimately, economic power. So much so, that we consider it natural to call “travelers” only those who transited from Europe to Latin America and less likely those who traveled in the opposite direction.

    Despite the difference in scale, 19th century Latin America also produced its travelers – men and women. What can we say about the perceptions of these characters on trips to Europe and the United States? Would it be possible to understand their testimonies as a manifestation of what is currently called the Global South? And what about the reports of women? Would they represent a kind of “double counter direction” in a more general picture in which the hegemonic vision was male and European?

    The main objectives of this lecture are to analyse, through these narratives, Latin American projections on Europe and the United States in the 19th century and to understand how travel experiences may have collaborated to create and consolidate identities; besides how gender relations contributed to these visions.

    Speaker: Dr. Stella Franco (University of São Paulo)

    Moderation: Dr. Thiago Prates (Universität Hamburg)

    Narratives and Testimonies of Cuban Internationalists in Africa and the Middle East During the Cold War

    Thursday, 12 May 2022 | 6:308:00 p.m. (CET) Location: Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W 221, Flügelbau Westen, 20146 Hamburg, and online

    Cuba’s internationalism with Africa and the Middle East during the Cold War has gathered a lot of attention by Western scholars in the last two decades. Most well-known missions took place in Portuguese Guinea, Angola, Argelia, and Syria. However, there are no academic historical publications regarding these episodes written by Cuban scholars due to the difficulty of getting records from the different archives in Havana. In contrast, several testimonies of people who fought in these conflicts have been published in the island in the past years. During this presentation different narratives and testimonies of Cuban internationalists in Africa and the Middle East during the Cold War will be presented, contextualized and analyzed in order to find out their main characteristics and reflect on the uses of memory of which they are a part.

    Speaker: Dr. Fernando Camacho Padilla is a researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Moderation: Dr. Natália Ayo Schmiedecke is a researcher at the Universität Hamburg.

    Clandestine Transcripts of Revolutionary Globalization: The Shining Paths of Late Cultural Revolution Maoism

    Wednesday, 13 April 2022 | 6:00–7:30 p.m. (CET) Location: Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, ESA W221, Flügelbau Westen, 20146 Hamburg, and online

    In the growing literature on Global Maoism and its influence during the long and global 1960s, scholars have come to recognize the centrality of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) to Maoism’s spread. However, the focus in both sinological Cultural Revolution scholarship and in studies of Maoism’s influence during the 1960s has been on what could be called the ‘Right to Rebel’ years when Red Guards held massive demonstrations, warred with each other, and tore down the existing structure of Communist Party authority. While the broad influence of this destructive phase of the Cultural Revolution on the imagination of students and revolutionaries around the world is undeniable, the constructive phase of the Cultural Revolution which followed the early, chaotic years has been largely missed.

    The efforts of the radical Maoists Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and their collaborators to articulate a new political economy of socialism which broke with past Chinese and Soviet practice were silenced with the October 1976 coup. Zhang, Yao and others were arrested and their theoretical work, the product of a collective endeavor with members of the economics department of Fudan University, was seized from the presses where it had just been published (and has remained unavailable outside very restricted party circles ever since). Despite the official silencing and repudiation of this Maoist political economy in China, the unprecedented public and collective effort that went into articulating this theory during the years before the capitalist restoration that followed Mao’s death led to the globalization of these ideas. The partial articulation of this theory in public campaigns, propaganda materials, and in conversations and meetings that foreign communists (such as the Shining Path’s Antonio Díaz Martínez and Catalina Adrianzén, among many others) visiting or working in China held with members of the radical Maoist minority of the Chinese Communist Party led to these ideas forming an anchor which grounded post-Mao global Maoism after the repudiation of Maoism in China itself. In sites as diverse as Peru, the Philippines, Nepal, and India, large Maoist communist parties drew on this late Cultural Revolution Maoist political economy as a way of answering existential questions about the communist project (and even to grow and thrive) in the context of the reversal in China and then the global defeat of Soviet-aligned countries. This lecture will discuss the articulation of these ideas in late Cultural Revolution China and the process of their globalization, while also touching on the existing literature and issues related to further research on this topic.

    Speaker: Dr. Matthew Rothwell (Independent Scholar) Moderation: Dr. Thiago Prates (Universität Hamburg)

    Clandestine Transcripts of Revolutionary Globalization: The Shining Paths of Late Cultural Revolution Maoism
    Video Clandestine Transcripts of Revolutionary Globalization: The Shining Paths of Late Cultural Revolution Maoism

    Exploring Elites’ Use of Friendship Narratives through the Erdoğan–Obama Relationship

    Thursday, 17 March 2022 | 2:00 p.m. (CET)

    Barack Obama’s 2009 visit to Turkey resulted in an Obama-mania in the Turkish media, followed by a friendship between Obama and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which was widely reported in the media and emphasised in their rhetoric. In this lecture, the panellists explain the Erdoğan–Obama friendship narrative by interpreting the relationship through the five key components of political friendship: affect; grand project; altruistic reciprocity; moral obligations; and equality. Our guests argue that histories, leadership styles, and political goals diverged to such an extent that an actual political friendship never existed.

    Through sentimental utility theory (SUT), the researchers illuminate the function of friendship narratives and offer insights into how collective emotions produce in-group identities and generate stability for a state’s population. SUT reveals how Erdoğan utilised the Obama-mania in Turkey to create the idea of a personal bond between Obama and himself, and a link between Obama’s progressive politics and Erdoğan’s own policies. This example can be used to show how future research might deploy SUT to make sense of other narratives of friendship and special relationships between states and between state leaders.

    Speakers: Dr. Ryan O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer in Security Studies at the Birmingham City University. Dr. Yuri van Hoef is a Lecturer in the School of History, Culture and Communication at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Moderation: Dr. Alex Waterman is a Research Fellow at the GIGA.

    Video Exploring Elites’ Use of Friendship Narratives through the Erdoğan–Obama Relationship
    Video Exploring Elites’ Use of Friendship Narratives through the Erdoğan–Obama Relationship


    Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1 (room 118), Hamburg, and online

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    Forschungsprojekt | 01.04.2021 - 31.03.2024

    World Order Narratives of the Global South (WONAGO)

    The decades since the late twentieth century are marked by the end of the bipolar world order and the rise of countries of the Global South. Most explanations focus on political and economic power shifts and do not pay much attention to ideas of order, especially those prevalent in the Global South. To provide a more inclusive perspective, this project researches world order narratives in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its Area Studies strategy.
    BMBF, 2021-2024


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