the fire these times

67/ Cultural Dementia: How the West Lost Its History and Risks Losing Everything Else (with David Andress)

This is a conversation with David Andress. He is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Portsmouth and is the author of the book “Cultural Dementia: How the West has Lost its History and Risks Losing Everything Else

He is also a historian of the French Revolution, and of the social and cultural history of conflicts in Europe and the Atlantic world more generally in the period between the 1760s and 1840s.

Topics Discussed

  • What is Cultural Dementia? And why use that term instead of Amnesia?
  • Why focus on France, the UK and the US?
  • The current crises in the three countries
  • George Orwell’s reflection on the relationship between imperialism/colonialism, the UK’s welfare state and the white working class
  • France’s Trente Glorieuses
  • Prospects of Le Pen and the far right winning in France
  • The ‘Brexit spirit’
  • Impact of Trumpism on US politics and what might come next
  • What is neoliberalism and how is that term (mis)used?
  • What is populism and how is that term (mis)used?
  • Berlusconi, the five star movement and racist politics in Italy
  • Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s specific contexts with regards to immigration and racism
  • Cambridge Analytica
  • The delusion of ‘socialism in one country’
  • The realities and delusions of Brexit (including example of CANZUK proposals and how India is excluded)
  • Ladybird libertarians (term by Otto English)
  • Isolationism within the British Labour Party
  • Weaknesses within Left parties, especially Labour (Attlee, Wilson, Blair)
  • The specificity of France and republicanism there
  • How Melenchon and Le Pen agree on Vichy’s status as ‘not France’
  • Chauvinism on the Left in France
  • The metaphor of the mansion
  • The Rhodes Must Fall protests in the UK
  • The ‘race question’ and white supremacy in the US
  • The specificity of the US constitution (and how it is outdated and embeds conservatism)
  • How history is taught (I gave the example of Lebanon)

Recommended Books

  • Priya Satia, Time’s Monster; History, Conscience and Britain’s Empire (Penguin/Allen Lane, 2020)
  • Priyamvada Gopal, Insurgent Empire; Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent (Verso, 2019)
  • Olivette Otele, African Europeans (Hurst, 2020)

I also added:

  • The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla
  • Afropean: Notes from Black Europe by Johny Pitts

If you like what I do, please consider supporting this project with only 1$ a month on Patreon or on BuyMeACoffee.com. You can also do so directly on PayPal if you prefer.

Patreon is for monthly, PayPal is for one-offs and BuyMeACoffee has both options.

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Music by Tarabeat.


Oh and this is the ridiculous tweet on the British empire and the Olympics that I mentioned.

You can also listen to his interview on the History Hit podcast which was great.

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