The Telos Conference
Telos in Europe:
The L'Aquila Conference
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The West: Its Legacy and Future
September 7–9, 2012
Recent developments appear to end the "end of history" and foreshadow instead the end of the West. After 1989, many expected a gradual convergence toward Western models of liberal market democracy. But Western responses to 9/11 and the 2007–8 transatlantic "credit crunch" have exposed the limits of U.S. international primacy and accelerated the global shift of power from West to East and North to South—as evinced by the rise of China, India, and other emerging markets.
Politically and economically, that shift seems to portend the emergence of a post-American and perhaps even a post-Western world. Yet the United States is still the default superpower whose military might and economic energy ensure its pre-eminence for the foreseeable future. Likewise, Europe's institutions, culture, and way of life remain attractive across the globe. Even the near meltdown of Wall Street and the mishandling of the sovereign debt crisis have so far not led to a decoupling of the rest from the West.
Historically, the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world order appears to restore a more "natural" global balance that had prevailed before China's isolationist withdrawal beginning with the Ming dynasty in 1433 and the West's growing domination following the discovery of the New World in 1492. At the same time, contemporary global multipolarity seems to coincide with the crisis of the modern centralized state and the modern free market that were instituted by the West. That crisis might mark the end of the Westphalian settlement, which is coextensive with Western global hegemony. However, non-Western powers are wedded to Western principles (e.g., national sovereignty and territorial integrity) and to the international system of nation-states instituted by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.
In terms of present and future trends, there is some evidence to suggest that the dominant mode of globalization is synonymous with the demise of Western-style nation-states and the resurgence of non-Western empires—imperial spheres of influence and colonialist powers. Examples seem to abound: Turkey and Iran in the Middle East; Russia in the Caucasus and Central Asia; China in East Asia and Africa; India and Brazil in parts of the southern hemisphere. Or is globalization promoting a shift toward global cities and the institutions of civil society that are a distinct legacy of the West?
Philosophically, it is not clear whether the global shift in power confirms or refutes the utopia of linear, boundless progress that characterizes the dominant Western ideologies of liberalism and Marxism. What about cyclical conceptions of history that have been popular since the work of Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Oswald Spengler, and Arnold Toynbee on the twilight and demise of the West? Perhaps the rise of China and other emerging markets in Asia is evidence in support of certain Hegelian or Marxist accounts such as world system analysis or cycles of hegemony. In what way do these ideas reflect Western "historicism," which portrays the West's peculiar and contingent history as universal, necessary, and even normative? Which Western and non-Western alternatives to historicism are available to us?
Theologically, ideas of the West are closely connected with the three Abrahamic faiths in general and the Christian fusion of Greco-Roman Antiquity and the biblical legacy in particular. Just as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment have their origins in medieval Christendom, so too late (or post-)modernity is inextricably intertwined with theological categories and the greater visibility of religion in public political life. That, coupled with the growing presence of Islam, raises questions about the distinctly Judeo-Christian identity of the West—including notions of the secular and the modern.
Speakers include: Russell Berman, Phillip Blond, Christopher Coker, Leonidas Donskis, Jens-Martin Eriksen, Simon Glendinning, Jay Gupta, Michael Ledeen, Tim Luke, Giacomo Marramao, John Milbank, Adrian Pabst, Marcia Pally, David Pan, Luciano Pellicani, Nicholas Rengger, Fred Siegel, Frederik Stjernfelt, and Gianni Vattimo.
Download the conference program (PDF) here.
Please register for the conference by July 1, 2012. Registration includes meals (coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner), three excursions, and conference materials. If you require an invoice for institutional reimbursement, please contact Mary Piccone at firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration fees are as follows:
• Standard rate: 399 euros (includes lunch and dinner)
• Graduate student rate: 275 euros (includes lunch and dinner)
• One-day rate (standard): 150 euros (includes lunch and dinner)
• One-day rate (graduate student): 99 euros (includes lunch and dinner)
• Spousal rate: 150 euros (includes conference dinners)
If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Mary Piccone at email@example.com. To
In order to receive the block room rates, please book your reservation no later than July 1. Reference the Telos Conference when you make your reservation.
Hotel San Michele
Via dei Giardini, 6 - 67100 L'Aquila (AQ)
Telephone: +39 (0)862 420260
Fax: +39 (0)862 27060
Piazza Battaglione Alpini
Tel: +39 0862 419147
Fax: +39 0862 419140
Hotel Federico II
67100 L'Aquila, Italy
Tel: +39 0862 22060
L'Aquila is about 100 km (62 miles) east of Rome and 100 km west of Pescara. The nearest international airport is the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome. If you are traveling in Europe, you can also fly to the Abruzzo International Airport in Pescara.
Bus Transportation from the Airports
From the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport: A local train (train direction FARA S.) brings to Stazione Tiburtina, where buses leave to L'Aquila. The trains leave from the Airport every 15 minutes from 5:57 to 23:27 (Monday-Saturday) and every 30 minutes from 5:57 to 23:27 (Sundays and holidays). The ticket cost is €8.50, and the journey takes about 45 minutes. From Stazione Tiburtina (Rome) catch a coach of The Bus Company (ARPA) to downtown L'Aquila. The bus ticket from Rome to L'Aquila must be purchased before you get on the bus, at the "Autolinee ARPA" ticket office (map and bus timetable), located in the back of the building facing the bus parking of Stazione Tiburtina (ticket cost is about €9.50). The trip takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes, but it is strongly dependent on local traffic. L'Aquila (last stop) in Bus Terminal-Collemaggio. Take a cab (5 minutes to your hotel).
A direct coach from Fiumicino (with a bus stop in Ciampino Terminal 2 too) is available in front of Terminal 3. The name of the company providing this service is Gasparitours, but there are only four coaches/day. A single ticket is €15.40 and can be purchased online at www.gaspariairport.it or on the bus. Bus stop in L'Aquila near the railway exit, in front of Motel Amiternum, 4 km far from the city center. Take a cab (10 minutes to your hotel).
From the Abruzzo International Airport, Pescara: Catch the local bus No. 38 (every 10 minutes, from 5:30 to 23:30; the journey takes about 15 minutes) from Pescara Airport Terminal to downtown Pescara (Piazza della Repubblica, where ARPA coaches leave to reach L'Aquila). The bus No. 38 starts just in front of the arrival terminal of the airport and the ticket must be purchased before you get on it, at the SAGA ticket office inside the airport. In Piazza della Repubblica, Pescara ARPA buses connect Pescara with L'Aquila; ticket must be purchased before you get on the bus, at the "Autolinee ARPA" ticket office located in Piazza della Repubblica, beside the bus stop (departs on the hour). The ticket cost is about €8.00 and the trip takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes, ending downtown L'Aquila in Bus Terminal-Collemaggio. Cabs are available at the bus terminal to arrive at your hotel (5 minutes from the terminal).
Directions from the Airports by Car
Rent-a-car service is available at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and at the Abruzzo International Airport, Pescara.
From the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport: Take the highway (toll-free) to the Rome Beltway (called GRA) in the direction of L'AQUILA. After 30 km of GRA, take the exit no. 24 to L'AQUILA-PESCARA A24 highway (Autostrada). Highway A24 to L'Aquila is about 90 km. Take exit L'AQUILA OVEST. After the pay-toll barrier, at the first stop road sign, take left to downtown L'Aquila (L'Aquila Centro).
From the Abruzzo International Airport, Pescara: Take freeway direction "AUTOSTRADA," then the toll highway A25-E80, direction Rome, and exit at BUSSI-L'AQUILA, then follow the freeway SS17 to L'Aquila.