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About the Project

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In the past two decades, there has been a world-wide resurgence of discourses that define the people in terms of their unique civilizational identity and call for states to refurbish their timeless civilizational glory. These discourses, or “new civilizationisms” as we call them, both draw on and react against an older, Enlightenment-inspired, and Eurocentric notion of civilization. We are part of an international research network setting out to map the overlapping ecosystems of new civilizationism. We ask: How has talking about civilization instead of nation made authoritarian populism respectable again? Who are the originators of new civilizationisms and what political and intellectual resources do they draw on? How have civilizationist ideas ricocheted across the globe through new media technologies and platforms? 

This ambitious, “big-picture” project will span multiple years and entail both scholarly and public-facing engagements. The former includes academic conferences, small working group discussions, and summer seminars. The centerpiece of our public humanities endeavor is “The Civilizationism Project” website, a clearinghouse for multimedia resources designed to inform and engage the scholarly community, educational professionals, and the broad public.