Lecture by Anthony Pagden

Cosmopolitanism, patriotism, nationalism and the future of Europe

by Professor Anthony Pagden, Berkeley.


The world today is still divided into nation states.  Yet they are increasingly linked together by what has come to be called loosely an “international system”.  The relationship between the two ways of understanding civil society is always, at best, unstable. Russia claims the Crimea in the name of the nation. The E.U. and the U.S. respond with sanctions in the defence of an international law which recognizes the right to self-determination.   International law, transnational justice, even “globalization”, are all part of a broader initiative called – even more loosely – “cosmopolitanism”.  On the face of it cosmopolitanism and nationalism would seem to be irreconcilable? But are they?  The liberal nationalism of the 18th and 19th centuries imagined a future in terms of a “cosmopolitanisms of nations”. In this lecture, I will explore the evolution of the vocabularies of attachment, “Patriotism” and “nationalism” and how, as the object of attachment shifted from the person of the ruler to a constitutional order, the idea of “belonging” and the political rights and obligations which that entails, became inseparable from some kind of “cosmopolitan ideal” and – finally what that might imply for the future of Europe.

About the speaker

Anthony Pagden is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and History at UCLA, having previously held positions at Oxford, Cambridge, the European University Institute, Harvard and Johns Hopkins. His main areas of research is international political and legal theory. He is the author of over a dozen books of which have been translated into a number of European and Asian languages. The most recent are Worlds at War. The 2,500 year Struggle between East and West and The Enlightenment and why it still matters He is currently working on ideas of nationalism and European unification.