Lecture: A Soviet Samuel Huntington? Lev Gumilev and the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ (prof. Mark Bassin)

Department of East European Studies, Faculty of Arts, Charles University


invite you to the public lecture


prof. Mark Bassin


A Soviet Samuel Huntington?

Lev Gumilev and the ‘Clash of Civilizations 


19th April 2022, 17.30–19.00

Main building of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, nám. Jana Palacha 2, Prague 1 (room n. 104)


Lecture and discussion will be presented in English.


The controversial “Clash of Civilizations” theory of the Harvard academic Samuel Huntington helped stimulate a revival of interest in the importance of civilizations in human history and social organization. This presentation of a paper compares Huntington’s ideas to those of the Soviet historian, ethnographer and geographer Lev Nikolaevich Gumilev.  From the 1960s through the 1980s,  Gumilev developed a theory of “superethnos” which, like Huntington, drew heavily on Spengler’s cyclical model of the emergence and decline of civilizations. The presentation focuses specifically on the different ways in which Huntington and Gumilev politicized their civilizational discourses and used them instrumentally, in order to articulate very different perspectives on national and global politics.

Mark Basin is affiliated professor with the Center for Baltic and East European Studies and the Department of the History of Ideas. Mark received his doctoral degree, in the fields of historical geography and Russian intellectual history, from the University of California-Berkeley. He has had permanent teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University College London, and the University of Birmingham. He has also had visiting appointments at UCLA, the University of Chicago, University of Copenhagen, University of Pau, and the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw. He has been awarded numerous research grants (Fulbright-Hays Foundation, the British Academy, DAAD, NEH, Baltic Sea Foundation) and has also received distinguished personal fellowships (Woodrow Wilson Center at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the Remarque Institute at New York University, the American Academy in Berlin, the Leverhulme Trust in the UK, and the Institut für europäische Geschichte in Mainz, Slavic Research Center in Hokkaido).

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