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Collapse of Civilizations Topic of Lecture

Collapse of Civilizations Topic of First “Imagining The Future” Lecture, Part of New Series

Distinguished Professor of Sociology Christopher Chase-Dunn to discuss what pushes civilizations to the brink of collapse

(January 18, 2006)

Palm Desert, Calif. — — UCR Palm Desert is launching a new lecture series aimed at showcasing the rich expertise of the University of California, Riverside on a wide variety of important, contemporary topics. The series, titled “Imagining The Future,” begins Wednesday, Jan. 25 with a presentation by Sociologist Christopher Chase-Dunn. Dr. Chase-Dunn’s talk will focus on the factors that push civilizations to the brink of collapse.

His presentation, titled "Semiperipheral development: transformational action in the rise and fall of world orders" is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25 in the main auditorium of the educational center building. An informal reception will follow. “Imagining The Future” talks will be held every other Wednesday through April. The lectures are free and open to the public.

"Societies out on the edge have often been the agents of institutional change in world history because they do not have huge investments in the old ways of doing things and are willing to take risks in implementing new ideas,” Prof. Chase-Dunn said.

“Semiperipheral development has played an important role in human social evolution at least since the emergence of chiefdoms and it promises to be an important factor in the emergence of a future global state."

UCR Palm Desert is located at 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive at Cook Street in Palm Desert. Reservations for planning purposes are appreciated and may be made by calling Marilyn Doucette at 760-834-0592 or by e-mail at

“We are very pleased to be bringing distinguished scholars to UCR Palm Desert,” said UCR Palm Desert Executive Director Ken Walters. “Prof. Chase-Dunn’s talk will illuminate and add deep context to global societal issues. He is the ideal authority to set the stage for our “Imagining the Future” series.”

Chase-Dunn is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology. He is currently organizing an institute for Research on World-Systems. Chase-Dunn’s recent research focuses on intersocietal systems, including both the modern global political economy and earlier regional world-systems.

His study of economic and political globalization in the modern world-system over the past 200 years is supported by the National Science Foundation. Chase-Dunn is the founder and co-editor of the electronic Journal of World-Systems Research.

UCR Palm Desert is a satellite campus of the University of California, Riverside. UCR Palm Desert sits at the heart of the Coachella Valley offering a Master’s of Business Administration program in Entrepreneurial Management through its Richard J. Heckmann International Center for Entrepreneurial Management. The Educational Center offers a Master’s of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts. Visit or call 760-834-0800 for more information.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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