Insurgent Temporalities: Fascism as a Global Anti-Universalist Project

Research seminar with Dr. Raul Cârstocea, Maynooth University.

Fascist movements and regimes are typically portrayed as the ultra-nationalist enemies of cosmopolitan, liberal modernity, opposed to all forms of international cooperation. Nevertheless, the emphasis on fascists’ rejection of some international ideologies (notably liberalism and socialism) obscures the extent to which fascists put forth their own international visions of an illiberal European or world order, establishing transnational networks with a global reach.

This presentation is based on my ongoing research project, which proposes the first systematic and interdisciplinary investigation of fascist imaginaries of the global. Showing how fascist notions of time and political power were co-constitutive, I argue that distinct temporal visions underpinned the drive of fascist movements and regimes to simultaneously transform their respective societies and the international state system. Fascist temporalities and their insurgency against the universal time regime are consequently used as an entry point for elucidating fascism’s restructuring of space – social space internally and geopolitical space internationally – and its complex engagement with both capitalism and colonialism.

The focus on temporality allows the project to operate across spatial scales of analysis, from the local through the national to the global, while also enabling diachronic analysis of historical fascism and the contemporary authoritarian right, a term which I use to denote the distinct but related phenomena of right-wing populism and neo-fascism. Understanding the history of these interconnected fascist visions of a global world order, I argue, is crucial for responding to contemporary challenges posed by an increased connectivity between neo-fascist activists and organisations, and between self-proclaimed illiberal regimes and right-wing populist parties today.