Samir Puri on how empires shaped the world

In this talk first delivered in July 2021, historian Samir Puri explores the history of empires and their impact on global events

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A recent surge of interest in the history of empires reflects the enduring hold of this subject on our sense of identity.

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Long-gone empires can still haunt us in all manner of ways, stalking our subconscious understanding of who we are and our place in the world. Empires have helped to construct national identities, while carving out geopolitical realities and mentalities that can be hard to escape.

Exploring these themes is a fair-minded way is never easy but always important. The Great Imperial Hangover considers how imperial legacies stoke tensions both within countries and between countries.

World order in the 21st century is a story of many intersecting post-imperial legacies. Countries across the world carry their own unique inheritances from the extinct age of formal empires, and the impact of imperial history is especially pertinent as global power shifts towards Asia.

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Samir Puri was raised in London in a family that had traversed three continents in three generations, from Asia to Africa to Europe. He later completed a PhD at Cambridge University and worked for the Foreign Office, where his assignments covered counter terrorism, followed by a year in east Ukraine monitoring the onset of war in 2014. After government service he became a university lecturer and in 2020 moved to Singapore to work for the International Institute for Strategic Studies covering security issues in Asia.