Understanding the imperialism of today

In the latest episode of Penn Today’s ‘Understand This ...’ podcast series, assistant professor of political science Dorothy Kronick and assistant professor of history Alex Chase-Levinson discuss the past and present of imperialism.

U.S. map and chess piece

Welcome to the sixth episode of the “Understand This ...” series, a Penn Today podcast. This podcast series is designed as a journey to understand how to solve problems of the day—and of our time—by uniting minds from different disciplines. This episode explores the legacy of imperialism and the more elusive forms it can take in a modern context. 

Joining for the conversation is Dorothy Kronick, assistant professor of political science in the School of Arts & Sciences, and Alex Chase-Levinson, assistant professor of history in the School of Arts & Sciences. Kronick has an expertise in Latin American politics, and Chase-Levinson focuses his research on modern Britain and Europe. Together, they tease out ways to interpret imperialism today, the legacy of imperial influence, and what new frontiers might be on the horizon. 

5:20: Kronick discusses imperialism in Latin America and begins to define the term. 

6:40: Chase-Levinson describes how the concept of a “nation state” has organized the world.

10:12: Kronick on “economic imperialism” in Latin America. 

12:30: A conversation about the U.S. policy of regime change in Venezuela and its influence on exports and access to financial markets. “I think people might call that ‘imperial’ in that broader definition of exerting undue influence in some way,” says Kronick.

15:40: Comparing the UK and U.S. as global superpowers. 

20:00: Discussion about how “implicated citizens” are simply by being part of an empire.

25:25: A look at the role of imperial powers to help address problems they may have created.

27:00: An examination of the lingering effects of colonial imperialism. “All of this is part of the long-term knock-on effect of empires, and you can’t separate anything that's going on now in parts of the former imperial world from develops that the British are, at least in large part, responsible for ... and that’s true of the Americans as well in a whole lot of ways,” says Chase-Levinson.

27:16: “Quote Break”

33:56: Kronick and Chase-Levinson speculate what modern “new frontiers” could loom on the horizon.

36:00: Levinson and Kronick talk about the “precarious stature of democracy” in the world today. 

Follow the “Understand This ...” podcast on Apple Music.