Southeast Asia has historically been the land of spices and riches to Westerners. To Asians, it was the buffer zone of conflict where Indian Buddhism and Chinese Confucianism collided. A geographical area where highlands and rain forest create the ideal spot for huge, diverse societies to emerge. Today, Jessica will talk to us about how these factors contributed to molding specific land-ownership patterns in the region and their impact on gender relations.

Out of World War II, a socialist state was born under the leadership of Joseph Tito that united many of the several ethnicities into one polity: Yugoslavia. It has been described as an alternative type of socialism deviating from a firm conception of central planning.  Today Leonard Kukić will talk to us about how successful the experiment was in economic performance and its capability to unify the region.

In 17th century China, the Qing regime persecuted individuals for speech crimes against the state through literary inquisitions. The persecution targeted intellectuals, diminishing their reputation. It also affected the operation of charitable organizations. Through time, they amplified distrust of others and increased apathy towards local governance.  Today Melanie will talk to us about it

The process of establishing a functional State is neither simple nor easy. Historical episodes may
highlight the violent beginnings of current states, but they also help us recognize the inherent complexities in jumpstarting one. The building of the Mexican State was achieved by contingencies that arose out of the Conquest, by which Spanish and Native Conquistadores gained power and assured their right to self-governance vis a vis a central government. Emily talks to us about the challenges to build a State in this context.

The figure of the engineer as an embodiment of what’s productive and wealth-enhancing is a well-known story. But how
much of the story is true and how much is a myth? Are the engineers really such a powerful force conducive to long-term development? Felipe will talk about how the engineer has impacted economic growth of our societies. 

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