On world history, 1900-2020.

For our 200th episode special, we pose the question: "If you had to study the history of only one country from 1900-2020, and thereby understand the history of the whole world, which would you pick?"

We invited 10 contributors to each pitch one country, whose particularities capture the universal sweep of world history from the start of the 20th century till now.

Vote for which you think is best, and we'll have the top 3 back on to discuss in more depth: Link to voting page

Running order:

  • (18:20) Germany - Dominik Leusder
  • (23:02) Greece - Jonas Kyratzes
  • (27:57) India - David Adler
  • (33:46) Indonesia - Vincent Bevins
  • (38:25) Iraq - Liam Meissner
  • (44:03) Italy - David Broder
  • (49:19) Mexico - Roger Lancaster
  • (54:01) Taiwan - Nic Johnson
  • (59:44) Turkey - Arash Azizi
  • (01:04:32) Yugoslavia - Lily Lynch

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On this Aufhebonus Bonus, we discuss whether unions are still capable of fighting for their members; the Arab-Israeli conflict at the End of History; a lot more on the 'PMC debate'; plus: whether Phil is "reductionist in the service of his own prejudices".

On secularism, nationalism and identity politics. 

India is held up as a model developing country: liberal, democratic, multicultural. Renowned Indian writer and activist Achin Vanaik joins us to examine how India has turned away from universalism and secularism. 

How did Gandhi, Nehru and the Congress as a whole lay the seeds for today's Hindu chauvinism? What are the consequences of defining secularism as merely 'tolerance'? And how has caste come to function a bit like identity politics in relation to the state?

Readings:

In the lead-up to our 200th episode later this month, we're exceptionally re-releasing our 100th episode special this week.

On the 30 years since 1989.

For our 100th episode, we invited our favourite guests to reflect on the question: “What one event, personal or political, most captures for you the past thirty years, since 1989?” 

Are we still living in the death throes of the 20th century, or is something new emerging?

Guests:

  • (00:07:42) - Maren Thom
  • (00:14:14) - David Broder
  • (00:21:33) - Ashley Frawley
  • (00:26:11) - Catherine Liu
  • (00:33:05) - Angela Nagle
  • (00:40:49) - Benjamin Fogel
  • (00:46:25) - Alex Gourevitch 
  • (00:51:31) - BungaCast hosts
  • (00:59:22) - David Adler
  • (01:04:05) - Amber A’Lee Frost
  • (01:08:48) - James Heartfield
  • (01:16:17) - Anton Jaeger
  • (01:23:24) - Leigh Phillips
  • (01:30:25) - Lee Jones
  • (01:36:03) - Karl Sharro

We discuss the third and final in the series of Perry Anderson essays on the EU in the London Review of Books, "The Breakaway", and wonder if the EU can - despite its crises - just carry on indefinitely.

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On atrocity and sovereignty.

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The disasters of Iraq, Libya, Syria and beyond are there for all to see. Why hasn't an emphasis on Human Rights led to fewer atrocities? How has Western intervention made the world a less safe place?

We discuss Philip's book Cosmopolitan Dystopia: International Intervention and the Failure of the West and discover that no one really defends sovereignty today. What's behind the concept of 'Responsibility to Protect' (R2P)? And should we understand it as a form of "liberal imperialism"? 

On China, economic reform, and the future.

While Russia famously succumbed to destructive neoliberal "shock therapy", China managed to avoid it. How and why? Isabella Weber, author of How China Escaped Shock Therapy, tells us about China's opting for gradual reform instead. 

What did reform mean for understandings of socialism? Do communists make the best capitalists? And is the pursuit of growth and development at any cost China's own version of the End of History?

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