In his 1989 essay The End of History? American thinker Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy was the endpoint of our political evolution, the best and final system to emerge after thousands of years of trial and error. Fukuyama seems to have been wrong: our recent history -- filled with terrorism and war, rising inequity and the mass flight of populations -- suggests that we've failed to create any sort of global formula for lasting peace and social equity. In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, Jennifer Welsh explores how pronouncements about the "end of history" may have been premature.
The Return of History is published by House of Anansi Press.
The 2016 CBC Massey Lectures will be broadcast on IDEAS October 31 - November 4.
Lecture 1: The Return of History - Monday, October 31
Lecture 2: The Return of Barbarism - Tuesday, November 1
Lecture 3: The Return of Mass Flight - Wednesday, November 2
Lecture 4: The Return of the Cold War - Thursday, November 3
Lecture 5: The Return of Inequality - Friday, November 4
Listen to excerpts or purchase all lectures on
Jennifer Welsh is Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) and a Fellow of Somerville College, University of Oxford. From 2013 until 2016, she was the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect. She co-founded the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, and has taught international relations at the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the Central European University (Prague). Welsh is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on international relations, the changing character of war, and Canadian foreign policy. She was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, and is of Metis descent. She now lives in Italy, with her husband and two children.
The CBC Massey Lectures is a partnership between CBC, House of Anansi Press and Massey College in the University of Toronto. Named in honour of Vincent Massey, former governor general of Canada, since their creation in 1961 by the CBC, the Massey Lectures have established their place as a Canadian institution and become an annual highlight of our cultural life. The lectures provide a forum on radio where contemporary Canadian thinkers can explore crucial issues of our time. Former lecturers include Martin Luther King Jr., Margaret Atwood and Stephen Lewis.