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Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the New Asian Age

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Date and time
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In the late 18th century, political economist Adam Smith predicted there would eventually be equalization of power between the conquering West and the conquered non-West. He described the possibility that China would become a non-capitalist market economy. Giovanni Arrighi, professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University discusses his most recent book, Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century,which focuses on Adam Smith’s vision of the economy compares to today’s actual economy. Following the lecture is a discussion with New School faculty Duncan Foley, moderated by Janet Abu-Lughod, a professor at The New School for Social Research. This event was held by The New School.

Giovanni Arrighi, the George Armstrong Kelly Professor of Sociology and renowned authority in the fields of world systems analysis and historical sociology, has died after a year-long battle with cancer. Arrighi began his career teaching in Zimbabwe (1963-1966) and Tanzania (1967-1969), where he wrote landmark works on the political economy of Africa—works that set the terms of the scholarly debates in the field for decades. Giovanni, who was born in Milan in 1937 and received his doctorate in economics from the Universitá Bocconi in 1960, came to Johns Hopkins in 1998 to anchor the Sociology Department’s comparative-historical group. He served as director of the Institute for Global Studies in Culture, Power and History from 1999 to 2002 and as department chair from 2003 to 2006.
Janet L. Abu-Lughod, née Lippman (born 1928) is an American sociologist with major contributions to World-systems theory and Urban sociology. Janet Abu-Lughod holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Massachusetts. Her teaching career began at the University of Illinois, took her to the American University in Cairo, Smith College, and Northwestern University, where she taught for twenty years and directed several urban studies programmes. In 1987 she accepted a professorship in sociology and historical studies at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, from which she retired as professor emerita in 1998. She has published over a hundred articles and thirteen books dealing with urban sociology, the history and dynamics of the World System, and Middle Eastern cities, including an urban history of Cairo that is still considered one of the classic works on that city: Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious.