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March 19, 2024

Global Histories of Fascism

Pankaj Mishra in Conversation with Verónica Gago, Kohei Saito, and Naomi Klein

Event Series: Global Dialogues Webinars

Showing the Global Histories of Fascism Video

This was the final of three webinars in advance of the Georgetown Global Dialogues (GGD). In conversations with GGD fellows and other leading thinkers, Pankaj Mishra explored some of the questions we will be addressing on campus in April in their wider historical context.

The rise of autocracies around the world and threats to existing democracies—including the United States—raise fresh questions about the history of fascism and its relevance today. New variants of the toxic combination of authoritarianism and nationalism that flourished between the world wars could be poised for a broad comeback across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa—a hardly imaginable prospect only a decade ago.

What is the relationship between the global history of fascism and threats to democracy today? Is fascism inseparable from political and economic modernity, fears of underdevelopment and decline, and so doomed to perpetually return? What are the lessons to be drawn from its periodic outbreaks? Verónica Gago, Naomi Klein, and Kohei Saito reflected on these questions in an online conversation moderated by Pankaj Mishra.


Headshot of Verónica Gago.

Verónica Gago

Verónica Gago, a professor of social sciences at the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of San Martín, is a prominent political theorist and activist working on issues of feminism and the global political economy. Her most recent books include A Feminist Reading of Debt (2021, with Luci Cavallero), Feminist International (2020), and Neoliberalism from Below: Popular Pragmatics and Baroque Economies (2017). She is also a leader in Argentina’s #NiUnaMenos (Not One Women Less) movement as both a theorist and an activist.

Headshot of Kohei Saito.

Kohei Saito

Kohei Saito is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo and a leading contemporary Marxist thinker. His most recent book, Capital in the Anthropocene (2020), has sold more than half a million copies in Japan and was published in English as Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto in January 2024. Saito’s previous book, Karl Marx's Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017), which creatively explored the ecological dimension of Marx’s thought and its contemporary relevance, won the Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Headshot of Naomi Klein.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author. She is a columnist with The Guardian. In 2018 she was named the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair at Rutgers University and is now Honorary Professor of Media and Climate at Rutgers. In September 2021 she joined the University of British Columbia as UBC Professor of Climate Justice (tenured) and co-director of the Centre for Climate Justice.

Headshot of Pankaj Mishra.

Pankaj Mishra

Pankaj Mishra (moderator) is a renowned Indian author, essayist, and literary critic with a global readership. Two of his prize-winning books, From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals who Remade Asia (2012) and; Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), explore the history of colonialism and its enduring legacies in our contemporary global era. Mishra is also the author of two critically acclaimed novels: The Romantics (1999) and Run and Hide (2022). His columns and essays have appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, New Yorker, New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books, among other outlets. Mishra is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.