The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination will host a book project discussion with Uriel Abulof, Associate Professor of Politics at Tel-Aviv University and a non-resident associate of LISD, who will be discussing his current book project, "Abyss and Horizon: Political Existentialism and Humanity’s Midlife Crisis," on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in 1-N-5 Green Hall. To attend the discussion, RSVP to Angella Matheney.
Objectively, humanity has never fared better. We live longer, we fight less, and we produce much more. At the same time, fear and anxiety pervade. Abyss & Horizon, an existential investigation into this paradox, suggests that it has become the defining feature of our age, amounting to humanity’s “midlife crisis.” Why the paradox and what are its implications? I identify four factors: (1) peace and prosperity have been unequally distributed; (2) globalization has diffused disinformation, frustration and fears; (3) securing tangible assets has fostered the seeking of intangible causes, including moral meaning; (4) politics, a long-time hub of socio-moral orders, have become to many increasingly meaningless. Abyss & Horizon traces how we have arrived at this existential crisis of legitimacy, and dissects the reactive implications: The “tribe’s return” and populism, God’s resurrection and the resort to scientific legitimation, the poverty of pragmatism, the descent into warlike politics, and the escape to post-political nihilism.
Uriel Abulof is an associate professor of Politics at Tel-Aviv University and a non-resident associate with LISD. He received his PhD in International Relations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was subsequently a Fulbright Scholar and a lecturer at NYU and Princeton University. Abulof studies political legitimation and violence, focusing on nationalism, democratization, revolutions and ethnic conflicts in, and beyond, the Middle East. His first book Living on the Edge: The Existential Uncertainty of Zionism (Haifa University Press) received Israel’s best academic book award (Bahat Prize), and his second book, The Mortality and Morality of Nations was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. Abulof is also the co-editor of Self-Determintion in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2016), and author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.
At LISD, Abulof is involved in the projects on State, Sovereignty, and Self-Determination, and Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations (PORDIR). He aids the work on the Princeton Encyclopedia of Self-Determination. While a visiting fellow at LISD in 2014-2015, he organized several international workshops, including “Public Justification in World Politics” (March 2014), “The Perils and Promises of Self-Determination in the Twenty-First Century” (April 2014), and "Whither Self-Determination?" (April 2015).