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People who do or analyse politics usually think they know what they are dealing with, assuming they work in a world of stable objects – states and nations, national and local governments, fixed political hierarchies. In his inaugural lecture, Professor Jon Wilson shows how modern politics is always a murky business, in which the basic units of political life are poorly defined, and their identity up for grabs. Travelling from the birth of Pakistan to the debate about the UK’s constitution now, Prof Wilson argues that we cannot understand the history of the world over the last hundred years – and its most important category, the nation state - unless we take the essential ambiguity of modern politics seriously.

The lecture will be followed by comments from Humeira Iqtidar, Professor of Politics at King's and Michael Kenny, Director of the Bennett Institute of Public Policy (Cambridge University), a discussion, and reception.

Jon Wilson is Professor of Modern History at King’s. His first two books, The Domination of Strangers and India Conquered focused on the practical of government in British-ruled India; he is currently writing a global history of the nation state during the twentieth century, Out of Chaos. Prof Wilson has combined teaching and research with political and administrative practice, as a local councillor and policy analyst, and in a range of leadership roles at King’s. He is currently Head of the History Department.

At this event

Jon Wilson

Professor in Modern History

Humeira Iqtidar

Professor of Politics

Event details

Great Hall
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS