The Global Ideas Annual Lecture is a cooperation between the University Research Chair on Global Political Thought, Professor Michael C. Williams, and the Centre for International Policy Studies.

The guiding principle behind the Annual Lecture and the wider research program of the University Chair on Global Political Thought is that ideas matter, and that in today’s world they matter more than ever.  Contests and clashes over ideas about economics, politics, and the global order are at the heart of the tumult that marks our political life. Clashes of interests in international affairs are intimately entwined with contests of ideas.

With the Global Ideas Annual Lecture, CIPS and the University Chair seek to engage with some of the most challenging ideas and issues in contemporary world politics.


March 30th, 2023 – Against Decolonisation: On Africa’s Place in the Global Circuit of Ideas

Why doesn’t the world beat its path to Africa’s doors when it comes to intellectual engagement? To finding African insights into the human condition beyond those compelled by pity for the prostrate condition of poor Africans? To identifying, studying, and arguing with African answers to the perennial questions of philosophy? Why is Africa-inflected knowledge produced by African scholars, whether in Africa or its growing new Diaspora, not reckoned with, referenced, or engaged by others both in and outside of academia the world over? I have always been concerned by the erasure of African-produced knowledges in global discourses, even those concerning Africa.  In this lecture, I argue that some of the causes can be traced to some of the motivations behind the decolonization scholarship that I ask that we dispense with in my book, Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously.

Dr. Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò is Professor of African Political Thought and current Chair at the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, U.S.A.  His research interests include Philosophy of Law, Social and Political Philosophy, Marxism, and African and Africana Philosophy. Táíwò is the author of Legal Naturalism: A Marxist Theory of Law (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996; Paperback 2015), (Chinese Translation, 2013); How Colonialism Preempted Modernity in Africa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010); Africa Must Be Modern: A Manifesto (Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2012), (North American Edition, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014), Can a Liberal Be a Chief? Can a Chief Be a Liberal? On an Unfinished Business of Colonialism (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2021), and Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously (London: Hurst, 2022).   He was joint editor with Olutoyin Mejiuni and Patricia Cranton of Measuring and Analyzing Informal Learning in the Digital Age (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2015).  His writings have been translated into French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.  He has taught at universities in Canada, Nigeria, Germany, South Korea, and Jamaica. 

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November 1st, 2021 – Academic Freedom, Free Speech and Thinking for Yourself

Academic freedom is threatened from without—by authoritarian regimes in China, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, the list goes on—but it is also threatened from within. What does it take to actually think for yourself in the universities of the 21st century? And how do we strengthen academic freedom, at home and overseas?

Dr. Michael Igantieff is a writer, historian and former politician, author of the forthcoming On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. Formerly Edward R. Murrow Professor At Harvard’s Kennedy School and Rector of Central European University, he is now a professor of history at CEU, Vienna.



Read Michael Ignatieff’s entire lecture here.

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