Event Location

Adam Tooze is the Shelby Cullom Davis Chair of History at Columbia University and Director of the European Institute.

Read his full bio here.  

Preliminary Abstract for Professor Tooze’s lectures:

Topic: Crisis-Polycrisis

Professor Tooze explains that in a very general sense, the concept of crisis can be taken to designate a challenge that has reached such a pitch that it puts identity in question, thus engendering a turning-point. Polycrisis captures the way in which several such challenges can converge from diverse directions to create a particularly profound sense of disruption that defies easy resolution. The term polycrisis was first coined by French complexity theorist Edgar Morin in the late 1990s to describe the escalating combination of global challenges. It was taken up around 2015 by Jean Claude Juncker to capture the condition of the EU. Tooze used it in 2021 in his book Shutdown to anchor his narrative of the COVID crisis.

Tooze would like to use the Tanner Lectures to discuss the history of crisis-thinking since the 1970s and to reflect on the complexity of crises, and how we should think about overlapping, intersecting, and heterogeneous crises. In particular, he would like to bring into focus the different levels at which crisis discourses operate, from the most macroscopic to the most personal. He will ask, finally how different personal and political value systems shape our capacity to cope with complex and multi-layered polycrises.

Commentators (there will be a total of four):

Two commentators follow each lecture (all commentators are with us both days): Sir Angus Deaton, Senior Scholar and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Emeritus, at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Economics at Princeton University;  Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University and Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research; Peter A. Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies in the Department of Government, Harvard University and resident faculty at the Minda de Gunzberg Center for European Studies; 4th commentator (TBD).

Free and open to the public.