University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

United States in Decline?

Conference at UCR Asks “Is The United States in Decline?”

(May 3, 2002)

The United States is currently the world’s only military and economic superpower. But the September 11th terrorist attacks, unhappiness with U.S. policies among both allies and challengers, and growing discontent with U.S.-led corporate globalization may be signs that the nation’s superpower status may not last.

The place of the United States in the global system of power is one of the main problems to be examined Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, by sociologists, political scientists, historians, anthropologists, economists and geographers coming from all over the world to the University of California, Riverside.

The Political Economy of World-Systems 2002 Conference, sponsored by UCR’s Institute for Research on World Systems, will open at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 3, with a keynote address in the University Theatre by Yale University’s Immanuel Wallerstein called “The United States in Decline?”

Wallerstein is considered by many to be the most influential social scientist of his generation. “His conceptual approach to world history has informed the scholarly debate about globalization,” said Christopher Chase-Dunn, organizer of the conference and a distinguished professor of sociology at UCR. “No other sociologist in the late 20th- early 21st centuries has had such a wide and deep impact in both social sciences and the humanities.”

Wallerstein is the co-founder, with Terence Hopkins, of the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University, and is now a senior research scholar at Yale. He is also past president of the International Sociological Association and has published more than 30 books and over 200 articles and book chapters.

The conference has been organized by Chase-Dunn, director of the Institute for Research on World Systems at UCR; Eugene Anderson, professor of Anthropology at UCR; and Jonathan Friedman, professor of Anthropology at the University of Lund, in Sweden. It will address the rise and decline of great powers in the modern world-system, especially comparing the current era with the earlier Dutch and British influence. Several sessions will be devoted to the study of world power in the premodern world-systems, as well as discussions on global elites, indigenous people, the environment, globalization of labor, terrorism and East/West issues.

A list of papers to be given at the conference is available at

For more information contact Shante Morton at 909 787-2062.

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.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links