Prof. Maxim Khomyakov

Prof. Maxim Khomyakov

CACS Visiting Research Fellow

Programmes: Economic Relations/People-to-People Relations

Brief Professional Bio

Prof. Maxim Khomyakov is a vice-director of St. Peterburg Campus of Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg, Russia) and a director of the BRICS Studies Centre at Ural Federal University (Ekaterinburg, Russia). He was a vice-president (international affairs) at Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia from 2009 up to 2017. Prof. Khomyakov was a visiting scholar in a number of universities, including Texas A&M University (2002; USA) and European University Institute (2007-2008; Florence, Italy). Between 2002 and 2013, he organized a number of transnational research and teaching projects in political philosophy and religious studies. Since 2015, Prof. Khomyakov has been actively involved in establishing university collaboration in BRICS countries, and especially in establishing the BRICS Network University. Prof. Khomyakov is a head of Russian National Coordinating Committee and a member of International Governing Board of the BRICS Network University. His research interests include theory of modernity, theory of toleration, Russian philosophy of nineteenth century and higher education theory.

His works include several books and more than 60 scholarly articles.



Project Rationale

BRICS grouping today is living through a period of challenge and, inevitably, of intensive transformations. The reasons are numerous. For one thing, almost all BRICS economies are experiencing serious slow downs in their economies and therefore lose their status of being the main drivers of the world economy. Recent worries of China’s growth rates aggravated by the US-China trade wars are good indicators of this uneasy state of affairs. Another reason for the well-grounded worries is fast and sometimes unexpected political changes in the BRICS countries, such as, for example, recent election of the President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. All these changes do lead to the question of whether BRICS is sustainable. Tied with this is the question of the nature of measures and policies that are still needed to enhance its sustainability.

The search for the answer to this question is inseparable from definition of the mission of the BRICS grouping, which, in its turn, requires better understanding of the relations between BRICS countries and Global South in general. Finally, better understanding of the new standing of the Global South is impossible without re-thinking of interconnected (perhaps colonial) ideas of modernization and development. To make sense of the BRICS and Global South, we probably need to substitute the idea of modernization with a ‘plural modernities’ concept, and the old understanding of the development with a new one, more suitable to the description of the complex processes in independent countries of the Global South. In particular, Since Africa and China play pivotal roles in Global South, the concepts of plural modernity and new development will be essentially flawed if they do not take into consideration complex experiences of these two most important actors.

Research Objectives

On a theoretical level, the project is devoted to the development of a  new understanding of the positioning of the BRICS countries and Global South. It will be done through theoretical framework of the plural modernities theory as it has been developed by Johan Arnason, Smuel Eisenshtandt and Peter Wagner. It will also require rethinking the very concept of the development.

These considerations define three main theoretical objectives of the proposed research:

  1. to apply plural modernities theory to Global South, BRICS, and in particular, to Africa and China;
  2. to work out a critical theory of the development in its application to the countries of Africa and China;
  3. to describe the role and mission of the BRICS countries in the world-making in the context of plural modernities and different development patterns of the Global South countries.

As far as empirical research is concerned, the project will take new trends in development of higher education in Global South, BRICS countries and, in particular, in African continent and China, as one of the important means of establishing new understanding of the world in the frameworks of the plural modernities theory and of a new conception of the development. In other words, since education plays important role in the identity development, collaboration in education between countries of the Global South seems to be of paramount importance. Thus, the following points are also important goals of the project:

  1. to study policies of internationalisation of higher education in the countries of Global South (in particular South Africa and China) in terms of representation of South-South and South-North educational cooperation;
  2. to investigate main collaborative educational projects inside Global South (especially in Africa and China) in terms of their goals, their effectiveness, and their influence upon establishing shared vision of the place of Global South in the world;
  3. to develop policy recommendations for the Global South countries in the area of the internationalization of higher education.

The main research outputs in 2019 will be:

  1.  at least two articles in the peer-reviewed journals,
  2. participation in at least three international conferences on the topic of the project,  and
  3. a policy brief on the status of the higher education collaboration in BRICS countries to be published under the auspices of the Centre for Africa-China Studies.