The overall thesis of this project is that the importance of place for inequality thinking tended to shrink during the period from 1960 to 2015. The aim is to contribute with a new transnational knowledge about the intellectual history of inequality in different geographical and cultural contexts. We will turn the map of the world upside down: what does international inequality look like if you come from Ghana or Argentina compared to the US? The project will investigate links, differences and similarities between different intellectual traditions, as well as the circulation of inequality concepts and knowledge across countries. In collaboration with international colleagues, it aspires to create a unique transcultural and multi-linguistic knowledge about inequality concepts, contributing the fields of global conceptual and intellectual history, as well as to inequality studies more broadly.
Today, global inequality is one of the major challenges facing the world community. In 2015, the United Nations adopted a new set of world goals, including bringing down inequality (both within and between nations). By looking more deeply into the cultural and intellectual historical background, we as researches hope to deliver important inputs to these debates. For example, the project can help shed light on the cultural and ideological aspects of how relatively poor countries deal with high national inequality. At bottom, our interest springs from a relatively common and deep concern of the age we live in: why are our life opportunities so unequal in the (global) world we live in?
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Christian is the principal investigator of ‘An Intellectual History of Global Inequality, 1960-2015’. His primary country of study will be the United States. He is an intellectual historian who focuses mainly on historicizing issues of pressing contemporary concern, such as ideas about the role of business in society, human rights, poverty alleviation at the United Nations, and global inequality. In the last years, his research focus has generally shifted from an American to an international history of ideas, becoming interested in the intellectual history of international poverty politics, and – increasingly – with the relationship between geographical anchorage and peoples’ views upon international inequality.
Christians book publications include the monograph Progressive Business: An Intellectual History of the Role of Business in Society (Oxford University Press 2015), the co-written Pengene og Livet (Informations Forlag 2015), and the co-edited books Amerikanske tænkere (Informations Forlag 2016), History of Economic Rationalities (Springer 2017), and Histories of Global Inequality: New Perspectives (Palgrave 2019). He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Sociology, Management & Organizational History, European Journal of Social Theory and Ideas in History, edited or co-edited journal special issues in Distinktion and Slagmark, besides contributing with numerous book chapters to various anthologies, as well as with online publications and appearances in public radio and in other media. Christian has twice been awarded a Sapere Aude grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research.
Priyanka is a Post-Doctoral fellow in the research project 'An Intellectual History of Global Inequality, 1960-2015'. Her primary country of study is India. Priyanka will be engaging with some of the key thinkers from India from the 1940s to 2015 and their positionalities on economic inequality, mapping the intellectual history of inequality in post-independent Modern India. Tracing indigenous thinking and native conceptions of inequality, she is also keen to examine the unique characteristics of post-colonial thinking, which contributes to the pursuit of a new global intellectual history. The axis of caste, class and gender becomes defining tropes in understanding inequality in her project. Priyanka will base the mapping of the intellectual history of inequality in India on the works and writings of key thinkers like Kamla Devi Chattopadhyay, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Ch. Charan Singh, Amartya Sen and Devaki Jain.
Trained as a Political Scientist, Priyanka has worked in the domain of Indian Political and Social Thought. She is interested in tracing the ways and manners in which ideas came to be shaped in Indian thinking. She has her doctoral degree from the Centre from Political Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and worked on the Politics of Culture and Religion in the shaping of normativity in India and other post-colonial South Asian nations. She has her Masters and M.Phil from the same university. She is highly interested in the quests of gendering intellectual history in South Asia, and engages with women thinkers and their contributions in the domain of ideas. Prior to joining the project, she taught at University of Delhi and Ambedkar University, Delhi, India. She has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants. She also has many publications in the form of articles in peer reviewed journals and contributed book chapters to several anthologies. Presently she is also working on her manuscript 'Thinking and Ideas in Modern India'.
Mélanie is a PhD student in the research project ‘An Intellectual History of Global Inequality, 1960-2015’. Her primary country of study will be Ghana in relation to the African continent in general. Mélanie has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a master’s degree in International Studies, both from Aarhus University. During her studies in Anthropology she became interested in the significance of positionality – we are all situated beings with specific perspectives and outlooks on life. This has left her passionate about people’s different ways of understanding and perceiving the world we all live in. Her master’s degree in International Studies has given her a global perspective on top of her anthropological knowledge and made her familiar with working in an international and interdisciplinary environment. In July 2019, Mélanie handed in her Master Thesis “Artistic Greenland – the Artist’s Point of View”, which focused on artists, art, and art production in a Greenlandic, postcolonial setting. Moreover, throughout her education Mélanie has developed an interest in topics such as: global inequality, globalisation, postcolonialism, minorities, vulnerable/disadvantaged groups, and indigeneity.
Mélanie’s fields of interest are united in her PhD project, which focuses on Ghana, Ghanaian/African intellectuals, and their conceptualisations of global economic inequality. Her project is one of four subprojects, which, as part of the overarching research project, seeks to generate an intellectual history of global inequality from 1960 to 2015. As a component of her project Mélanie plans to conduct field and interview-based research in Ghana. With this PhD project Mélanie also sees the opportunity to contribute to the field of African Intellectual History.
Oliver is a student assistant in the research project 'An intellectual History of Global Inequality, 1960-2015'. He has a background in Philosophy and Cultural Analysis of Society and Economy and has recently completed a Masters in Globalisation and Development from SOAS University of London. Throughout his studies, Oliver has taken particular interest in the economic and political dynamics that drives inequality, and this is why he wanted to be part of our research team. He will be assisting with basic research tasks and helping with many other activities associated with our research project.