Anti-Globalism, Then and Now

Dec 01, 2023  | 5:30pm ET

37th Annual Lecture at GHI Washington | Speaker: Tara Zahra (University of Chicago), Comment: Madeleine Herren-Oesch (University of Basel)

Watch video recording of the lecture

At the turn of the twentieth century, many Europeans believed that globalization and internationalism were irreversible, and that they would guarantee greater peace and prosperity for everyone. Those illusions were shattered by the First World War, which ushered in two decades of anti-global retrenchment. While trade, migration, and international cooperation recovered briefly during the late 1920s, the Great Depression dealt a decisive blow.

This talk explores the many consequences and legacies of that anti-global revolution. In democracies, dictatorships, empires and colonies, governments, experts, and ordinary people sought to untether themselves from the global economy. The revolt against globalization in the 1920s and 30s ignited political movements, remade the global economy and international institutions, and transformed the way millions of people traveled, ate, and lived. It also produced new models of globalization and internationalism. While the global economy ultimately recovered, many of the legacies of the first era of anti-globalism remain with us today, offering both a warning and a guide for our own anti-Global moment.

The lecture will be followed by a dinner reception.