TELOS in Europe: The L’Aquila Conference

The West: Its Legacy and Future

September 7–9, 2012 
L’Aquila, Italy

New confirmed speakers include Phillip Blond, Michael Ledeen and Gianni Vattimo

Places still available (including the chance to present a paper):

Please register at

Conference Theme:

Recent developments appear to end the “end of history” and foreshadow instead the end of the West. After 1989, many expected a gradual convergence toward Western models of liberal market democracy. But Western responses to 9/11 and the 2007–8 transatlantic “credit crunch” have exposed the limits of U.S. international primacy and accelerated the global shift of power from West to East and North to South—as evinced by the rise of China, India, and other emerging markets.

Philosophically, it is not clear whether the global shift in power confirms or refutes the utopia of linear, boundless progress that characterizes the dominant Western ideologies of liberalism and Marxism. What about cyclical conceptions of history that have been popular since the work of Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Oswald Spengler, and Arnold Toynbee on the twilight and demise of the West? Perhaps the rise of China and other emerging markets in Asia is evidence in support of certain Hegelian or Marxist accounts such as world system analysis or cycles of hegemony. In what way do these ideas reflect Western “historicism,” which portrays the West’s peculiar and contingent history as universal, necessary, and even normative? Which Western and non-Western alternatives to historicism are available to us?

Theologically, ideas of the West are closely connected with the three Abrahamic faiths in general and the Christian fusion of Greco-Roman Antiquity and the biblical legacy in particular. Just as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment have their origins in medieval Christendom, so too late (or post-)modernity is inextricably intertwined with theological categories and the greater visibility of religion in public political life. That, coupled with the growing presence of Islam, raises questions about the distinctly Judeo-Christian identity of the West—including notions of the secular and the modern.

Confirmed speakers include: Russell Berman, Phillip Blond, Alessandro Campi, Christopher Coker, Alexis Crow, Robert D’Amico, Leonidas Donskis, Simon Glendinning, Jay Gupta, Michael Ledeen, Tim Luke, Giacomo Marramao, John Milbank, Adrian Pabst, Marcia Pally, David Pan, Carla Pasquinelli, Luciano Pellicani, Nicholas Rengger, and Gianni Vattimo.

Download the event flyer here [PDF].



Comments are turned off.

Comments are closed.

(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

Follow the Department of Theology & Religious Studies on Facebook & Youtube, and the CoTP on Twitter:

Recent Publications

Loading publications ... | |