One unfortunate characteristic of modernism was the way it reified its categories, treating the terms of humanistic or social-scientific inquiry as beyond challenge. Such categories, once reified, were inflated into forces or actors on the world stage. Liberalism, socialism, conservatism, capitalism, and democracy were pictured as being locked in a Darwinian struggle for survival. These categories were then arranged into an interlocking, mutually reinforcing model, and international relations came to be portrayed as a stark conflict between the East and the West. But ‘‘the West’’ is a historical conceptualization, and one that is subject to the same changes to which all such formations are subject.