CfP: Trials and Tribulations of the Third Way in a Bipolar World: The Global South and Its Role in a World of Superpowers


Event: Global History Workshop Series

Title: Trials and Tribulations of the Third Way in a Bipolar World: The Global South and Its Role in a World of Superpowers

Dates: Saturdays 3 August – 21 September 2024

Venue: Online (ZOOM)

Assoc. Prof. Wasana Wongsurawat (Chulalongkorn University)
Dr. Pablo Ramirez (National Autonomous University of Mexico)


From the dawn of the Modern Era, world powers have emerged in competition with each other. From the competition in trade and navigation technology in 15th – 16th century,  the industrial revolution starting in the 18th century, leading up to the age of imperialism in the 19th century, to the World Wars and the Cold Wars of the 20th century, mainstream historical narratives have often focused on the world powers (usually in the west and more often than not also to the north) as the main protagonists—the discoverer, the colonizer, the liberator, the civilizing missions, etc. This was, in many ways, quite obviously history of the victors. Nonetheless, from the perspective of global history, this is a rather peculiar way of telling the story if we consider the fact that the history of the victors in most cases were also the history of the minority, not only in terms of population, but also from the geographical point of view. 

Would it be possible to turn to the world upside down and investigate history from stance of the Global South for a change? How was Latin America involved in the colonization of the Far East? What roles did the colonies and non-colonies of Asia and Africa play in the two World Wars? What was the agency of the Global South in the Cold War and what was the contribution of the Non-Aligned Movement? A crucial first step in ‘decolonizing history’ would be to reinvestigate the current narrative in search for a new history that allows agency for the colonies, new emerging nations, the Third World, the Global South, etc. There has always been a third way in every major competition in the history of the modern world. If we could take more time to better understand the historical contributions of the Global South in the world of superpowers, we could probably come to realize the significant role that the Third Way could play in the increasingly polarized world of the present. 

The Global History Workshop Series encourage participants to re-investigate the role of the Global South in the various historical struggles among world powers in the Modern Era. Submissions may or may not fall in the following chronological and thematic categories,

  • The Colonial Era (~ c.18 – 19)
    • Latin America in the colonization of Asia and Africa
    • Impacts of the coolie trade in Africa and Latin America
    • John Hay’s ‘Open Door Policy’ and the impact of the African experience in the colonization of the Far East
  • The World Wars
    • Asia and Africa in the First World War
    • Racial Equality Clause and Self Determination in the Paris Peace Conference
    • The Global South in the League of Nations and the United Nations
  • The Cold War
    • The 1955 Asia-Africa Conference at Bandung
    • The Non-Aligned Movement
    • The Global South and decolonization
  • The Post-Cold War
    • The Global South in the US-China geopolitical struggle
    • BRICS in the bipolar world of the 21st century

These are but a few examples of what could be considered as part of the ‘Trials and Tribulations of the Third Way in a Bipolar World: The Global South and Its Role in a World of Superpowers.’

Submission:  Please submit abstract. (>350 words) to by 1 April 2024.

Decisions:     Successful applicants would be notified by 1 May 2024.

Workshop:   A panel of three presentations will take place on an online forum each Saturday from 3 August to 21 September 2024. A full draft of the workshop paper is expected to be submitted for circulation among workshop participants and discussants by 1 July 2024)

Revisions:     Post-workshop revised articles should be submitted by 30 November 2024. A coherent collection of articles of high quality would be selected and submitted for the peer review process of a well-respected international journalwe fully expect to have a special issue on this subject published in 2026.