Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Geographical Imaginations




Join the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring Barney Warf, a professor of geography at the University of Kansas.

This seminar is based on a paper by Warf that sets nationalism and cosmopolitanism into sharp contrast with one another, as inherently incompatible geographical imaginations. It begins by briefly denaturalizing nationalism and the nation state. It then turns to the philosophy and political agenda of cosmopolitanism, an ideology simultaneously very old and new, which offers a more inclusive and empathetic alternative to nationalist xenophobia. The third section argues that contemporary globalization has laid the ontological foundations of a cosmopolitan world order. Next, it explicates nationalism’s and cosmopolitanism’s competing visions of the definition and meaning of community. It summarizes major objections to cosmopolitanism, and offers a defense. The following section focuses on the implications of cosmopolitanism for contemporary geography, including relational spatialities of empathy and caring. Finally, it suggests that contemporary globalization is gradually putting into place the legal and institutional apparatus for cosmopolitan global governance and democracy.


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