Location: Bradbury Building
Political theorist Lea Ypi’s memoir Free is a mordantly witty and profound story of her childhood growing up in communist Albania and her teenage years witnessing the collapse of the entire ideological and political order of the Hoxha dictatorship.
Ypi, in dialogue with Berggruen Institute Senior Vice President Nils Gilman and Berggruen Fellow & Political Economist Isabella Weber, will discuss how these experiences helped form her ideas as a political theorist, and how the rapid political changes she witnessed as a child have shaped her own views of the roles of language and imagination in politics.
About the Speakers:
Lea Ypi is a Professor of Political Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an Honorary Professor in Philosophy at the Australian National University. A native of Albania, she has degrees in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Rome La Sapienza, a PhD from the European University Institute, and was a Post-Doctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford University.
She is the author of Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency, The Meaning of Partisanship (with Jonathan White), and The Architectonic of Reason, all published by Oxford University Press. Her latest book, a philosophical memoir entitled Free: Coming of Age at the End of History, published by Penguin Press in the UK and W.W. Norton & Company in North America, won the 2022 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize and is being translated into more than twenty languages. Her academic work has been recognized with the British Academy Prize for Excellence in Political Science and the Leverhulme Prize for Outstanding Research Achievement. She coedits The Journal of Political Philosophy and occasionally writes for The Guardian.
Dr. Nils Gilman is Senior Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute, in which capacity he oversees the Institute’s research programs, heads its resident fellowship program, and serves as Deputy Editor of Noema Magazine. He has previously worked as Associate Chancellor at the University of California Berkeley, as Research Director at the Monitor Group and Global Business Network, and at various enterprise software companies including Salesforce.com. Gilman has won the Sidney Award (for long-form journalism) from the New York Times and an Albie Award (for international political economy) from The Washington Post.
He is the author of Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (2004), Deviant Globalization: Black Market Economy in the 21st Century (2011), Children of a Modest Star: Governing in a Planetary Age (forthcoming), as well as numerous articles on intellectual history and political economy. He holds a B.A. M.A. and Ph.D. in History from U.C. Berkeley.
Isabella M. Weber
Isabella M. Weber is a political economist working on China, global trade and the history of economic thought. She is an Assistant Professor of Economics and the Research Leader for China of the Asian Political Economy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Her first book How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate is the winner of the Joan Robinson Prize 2021 and the International Studies Association Best Interdisciplinary Book Award and has been recommended on the best book of 2021 lists by the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Project Syndicate, ProMarket and Folha de S.Paulo among others. For her work on the rise of economics in China’s recent history she has won the International Convention of Asia Scholars’ Ground-breaking Subject Matter Accolade and the Warren Samuels Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in History of Economic Thought and Methodology. Previously she was a Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has been the principal investigator of the ESRC-funded Rebuilding Macroeconomics project What Drives Specialization? A Century of Global Export Patterns.
Isabella holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the New School for Social Research, New York, and a Ph.D. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. As a Berggruen fellow she will work on her next book project which will re-conceptualize the ways in which we think about monetary stability from a comparative historical and institutional perspective foregrounding the role of essential goods and economic activities.