Francis Fukuyama to Speak on Political Order Through the History of Mankind

March 17, 2013

Free lectures at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3

TACOMA, Wash. – Francis Fukuyama, one of the major public intellectuals of our time, will give two lectures at University of Puget Sound examining the development of political order from the days of man’s early evolution to modern times.

The series, “The Origins of Political Order,” will include two free public lectures. The first will be an overview of the Stanford University scholar’s recent, thought-provoking book The Origins of Political Order. The second will look at his current work on the second volume. Together the talks will trace human history from the time of tribal societies to the emergence of the modern state.

The first lecture will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, in Schneebeck Concert Hall and will cover the centuries leading up to the French Revolution. It will be followed by a reception and book signing in the Susan Resneck Pierce Atrium in Wyatt Hall.

The second lecture will start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3 in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Fukuyama will speak about his ongoing work on the evolution of political institutions from the French Revolution to the present. The talks are presented by the Brown and Haley Lecture series. Admission to both events is complimentary and tickets are not required.

The author of nine influential books and dozens of important articles and essays, Fukuyama is a prolific and provocative political scientist and public intellectual. He first became internationally known 20 years ago for his essay “The End of History?” and subsequent, bestselling book, The End of History and the Last Man (1992). In these works Fukuyama proposed that the historical struggle among ideologies may have culminated in the victory of liberal capitalist democracy.

Subsequent books qualified and elaborated on this thesis. Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (1995) and The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order (1999) proposed a role for culture in our social and economic orders. Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution (2002) considered a potentially threatening role for biotechnology in the future of liberal democracy. Further books have addressed the building of nation-states, neoconservatism, and, most recently, The Origins of Political Order (2011), the commanding first volume of his series on the development of the modern state.

The Wall Street Journal described The Origins of Political Order as “a sweeping survey that tries to explain why human beings act as they do in the political sphere . . . magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition.”

Speaking about the book, Fukuyama told The New York Times, “It is impossible to develop any meaningful theory of political development without treating ideas as fundamental causes of why societies differ and follow distinct development paths.”

Francis Fukuyama is currently the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spoglie Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He previously held distinguished chairs at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and at George Mason University of Virginia. He was a member of the U.S. Department of State Policy Planning Staff on two separate occasions in the 1980s, specializing in Middle East and European affairs. Fukuyama is an avid photographer, collector and maker of early-American style furniture, and an enthusiast of digital sound recording and reproduction.

The Brown and Haley Lecture series aims to contribute to the understanding of urgent problems confronting society, emphasizing perspectives in the social sciences or humanities.  

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