Public lecture with Dr. Simon Reid-Henry, Queen Mary, University of London
Inequality is the defining issue of our time. Yet in part because it has become so central to contemporary politics, exactly what inequality "is" often gets assumed rather than asked. The end result sometimes generates more heat than light. This is a serious problem in an era when some of the most pressing challenges before us, be it climate change or international migration, will only be solved to the extent we are also able to reckon effectively with the inequality in which they are set. In this lecture, rather than ask how political thought can illuminate inequality, I shall therefore take the opposite approach, and explore some of the ways in which inequality illuminates the history of political thought. To do this I will examine how global inequality has been understood in different times and different places, and end with the question: whose inequality gets to count?
Simon Reid-Henry is an historical and political geographer at Queen Mary, University of London, where he also directs the Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has written widely on the history of political and international thought, with a particular focus on science, humanitarianism, global health, security, and development. Simon is the author of four books, including The Political Origins of Inequality (University of Chicago Press) and most recently Empire of Democracy: the Remaking of the West since the Cold War (Simon & Schuster). He can be contacted at simonreidhenry.com.
This public lecture marks the opening of the research project 'An Intellectual History of Global Inequality, 1960-2015'. After the lecture, the research project will be the host of a small reception. All are welcome!