Edited volume: Western Hegemonies and their Contestations

Dr. Marie-Josée Lavallée, University of Montréal
Marie-Josée Lavallée

The present call of paper sollicits chapter proposals to complete a peer-reviewed collection of original research papers on the topic “Western Hegemonies and their Contestations”. This collection is inspired from the international and multidisciplinary conference “The End of Western Hegemonies ?” held in Jyväskylä, Finland, in June 2019, organized by The West Network. The proposed chapters must fall within one of the following categories:

1 – Analysis of a type of Western hegemony (political, economic, cultural, intellectual (see general description below)) in a non-Western setting (i.e., in the former Eastern bloc, USSR (or in post-Cold War Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia), Africa, Asia);

2 – Analysis of contestation(s) of a given type of Western hegemony in a non-Western setting (i.e., in the former Eastern bloc, USSR (or in post-Cold War Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia), Africa, Asia);

3 – Analysis of the challenges met by democratization in non-Western settings.

General description of the topic

The West is a political and civilizational compound which can be define along different lines. In respect to international politics, the West usually refers to the most powerful countries of the Western hemisphere as to military might and wealth, and whose orientations and behavior have the most decisive impact on the international climate. At the level of domestic politics, the modern nation-state, representative institutions, the rule of law, the culture of individual rights and civil liberties, and democracy, count among the characteristics of the so-called “Western model”.

The political frontiers of the West were shaped and reshaped through wars, contests between states, diplomacy, but also through colonization and imperialism, which also belong to the economic dimension of “the West”, with capitalism and industrialization. In recent history, decolonizations, the Cold War, the fall of the Eastern bloc, and September 11 were instances of political configurations or events which shook the prevailing conception of the West. They unleashed attempts at fixing new boundaries for the West and, whenever possible, at expanding them. The spreading of democracy and market economy in former Communist countries in the 1990s is a typical example of the latter.

The West also encompasses a wide set of scientific, cultural, educational, religious, and intellectual practices and beliefs also associated to the most influent countries of the Western part of the world. Colonization and imperialism (formal and informal) were crucial channels for the spreading of these practices, values, and knowledges, but intensified globalization and the rise of communication technologies have opened new possibilities. Although some scholars argue that the “hyperglobalized” culture which has imposed itself throughout the world in recent times is not culturally specific, the core of this hyperglobalized koinè is mainly made of American and Western elements.

In recent history, Western countries were not satisfied with imposing their political, economic and military hegemony over most of the world, they were also convinced of the superiority of their culture. The latter became the ultimate reference model for evaluating and judging other peoples and cultures. Western cultural imperialism threw discredit on non-Western ways of life, practices, values, and beliefs. The idea of development was based on the conviction that there is only one path to political, social, economic, and cultural well-being and fulfilment, the Western path, and that all countries had to try to “catch up with the West” if they wished to be successful. At the same time, however, Western domination has deprived them beforehand of the very resources they would need to do so.

Nonetheless, resistances to, and contestations of Western hegemonies are as old as these hegemonies themselves. In recent decades, the decolonization process was accompanied by efforts at decolonizing economy, culture and knowledge in non-Western settings. While these endeavors meet with new challenges in a highly globalized environment, they also tend to become increasingly self-conscious and self-assertive. In addition, new economic, military, and political center of powers have emerged on the world stage.

Strategies and forms of contestation have evolved in response to the changing physiognomy of Western hegemonies. Are the latter still strong, or rather stagnant, even already in decline? Will Western hegemonies endure? Will they be replaced by new hegemonies, or give way to more complex, plural, configurations?

Guidelines for chapter proposals

The planned chapters must develop original research and not have been previously published in English or another language.

Potential authors must be Ph.D. holders and affiliated to a university.

Submissions will be peer-reviewed (and full chapters thereafter). They must contain (please send all documents in Word format):

1) A short abstract of the planned chapter clearly stating the topic, hypothesis, main arguments, methodological approach and sources + a list of 5-6 keywords (1/2 page – ¾ page).

2) A detailed preview of the planned chapter (5-6 pages) including references and footnotes. (The full chapters will be 8000 words long.)

Please also include:

3) In a single file:

(page 1) Identification: Name, job title, affiliation, institutional address, work phone number, home address, home phone number, e-mail address

(page 2) Short biography mentioning professional information relevant to the publication (as previous publications, teaching/research experience)

4) A short cv (2-3 pages max.)

Please send all material by Monday, December 2nd, 2019 to the attention of Dr. Marie-Josée Lavallée at marie-josee.lavallee@umontreal.ca

No submissions will be considered afterwards.

Selected authors will be allowed six months for the preparation of their full chapter.


Dr. Marie-Josée Lavallée
University of Montréal, Canada
The West Network
Email: marie-josee.lavallee@umontreal.ca

Edited volume: Western Hegemonies and their Contestations, 01.06.2020 Montréal, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 01.11.2019, <www.connections.clio-online.net/event/id/termine-41681>.