Ronald Wright on why America is "archaic"
22 September 2008
Leading Canadian author Ronald Wright will argue that the world's number one superpower is "archaic" with ideals based on its colonial past rather than the future in a Sydney Ideas lecture this week.
In the lecture to be held on Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 at the University of Sydney's Seymour Theatre Centre, Wright will discuss his research into America's past as "a tiny outpost of Britain" to unravel the modern makings of the United States. He will also look at why America 's greatest achievements - in democracy, prosperity and civil rights - are often at risk from sinister forces from within.
Wright, a captivating speaker and commentator on history, is the author of the award-winning A Short History ofProgress. His Sydney Ideas lecture, titled "What is America?" will be based on his latest book - What Is America ? A Short History of the New World Order (Text Publishing).
According to the British-born Wright, the beginnings of white American settlement, the "frontier" society of individualism and the appropriation of native land have all significantly contributed to the America of today. "American culture is a deeply colonial culture," argues Wright. "These are all colonial attitudes, of endless expansion, oppression of the weak defined and justified in different ways….
" America has always thought of itself as the country of the future, the most modern country on earth, the most progressive country on earth," Wright says. "But it seems to have become stuck in an archaic attitude."
Wright says today America is a stronghold of religious extremism, militarism, and "so-called modern beliefs" of limitless growth, endless progress and unfettered capitalism. In what promises to be a provocative lecture, Wright will discuss the impact this "modern" America will have on the rest of the world in the 21st century.
Ronald Wright will be introduced to the Sydney Ideas stage by Dr Bob Howard, Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney 's Department of Government and International Relations.
Ronald Wright is an award-winning novelist, historian and essayist. He is the author of nine books, including the best-sellers Time Among theMaya and Stolen Continents. His 2004 book A Short History of Progress, based on his Massey Lectures, won the CBA Libris Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year. He is a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and his books have been published in more than a dozen languages. Ronald Wright will also be appearing at the Brisbane Writers Festival.
What: What is America? Ronald Wright at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series
When: 6.30pm on Wednesday, 24 September, 2008
Where: The Seymour Theatre Centre, Cnr of City Road and Cleveland Street, University of Sydney
Cost: $20/$15 concession. Free tickets are available for University of Sydney staff and students at the Seymour box office. Please bring photo ID.
Bookings: (02) 9351 7940 or online at Seymour online
NEXT AT SYDNEY IDEAS
Former Australian of the Year and leading environmentalist Tim Flannery will discuss three possible solutions to climate change when he speaks at Sydney Ideas on Monday, 29 September, 2008.
Contact: Katrina O'Brien
Phone: 02 9036 7842