Continentalist Ideas in Modern and Contemporary History

The conference is devoted to one particular type of big-space vision, namely continentalism. We use the term to refer to the idea that the geographical space should be consolidated in order to create a single political entity, larger than a nation-state. Continentalism shares certain characteristics with other sorts of big-space projects and “enlarging the scale” thinking, such as pan-nationalisms and civilizational nationalisms, but it emphasizes that this is the quality of shared territory, which makes the integration processes meaningful. In our own day, big-space thinking – and continentalism in particular – exert a powerful influence. The end of the Cold War has stimulated new debates about multi-polarity and the world system of independent civilizations. As part of these, continentalist discourses, which emerged in the first half of the 20th century in the milieu of classical geopolitics, are fully back on the agenda. They play a significant role in the ideological legitimization of the construction of ‘global regions’ and ‘regional blocs’. The significance of continental identities today as a basis for political mobilization is immediately apparent in the examples of Pan-Europeanism, various versions of Eurasianism, pan-Africanism, or the idea of South America as a new geopolitical unit. The conference intends to discuss the political and ideological meaning of the “large space” geopolitical thinking, promises and dangers of the continentalist projects, and the relevance of these projects for various regions of the world.


09:00 Opening of the conference
Mark Bassin Continentalism project presentation
David Lewis Keynote speech
  • Mark Bassin
  • Peter Balogh (online)
  • Aliaksei Kazharski (online)
Panel 1

Beyond Nationalism and the Nation-State: Spatial Imaginaries of Europe on the Far Right

12:00 Lunch break
  • Rasmus Christian Elling (CCRS)
  • Frank Sejersen (CCRS)
  • Lars Eslev Andersen (DIIS): “Is China the Eurasian power of 21st century – perspectives on the BRI”
  • Igor Denisov (MGIMO, online)
  • Arab countries, Caucasus and Central Asia – TBC
Panel 2

Roundtable: Regional perspectives on continentalism

14:30 Coffee break
  • Anders Rivarola Puntigliano, Latin American perspective
  • Katharina Döring, Pan-African projects
Panel 3

The ‘Global South’ and big-space thinking

16:00 Coffee break
16:30 – 18:00
  • Mikhail Suslov: “Russia’s Greater Eurasia geopolitical thinking and isolationism”
  • Vladimir Kagansky: ”Big Little Space: Russian Paradoxes” (with translation)
  • Aleksandr Druzhinin: Greater Eurasia in focus (with translation)
Panel 4

Russia’s perspective on the Eurasian continental space