Radical Cultural Studies: CCSR at Open School East

About Radical Cultural Studies

CCSR commissions the Radical Cultural Studies book series published by Rowman & Littlefield International. The aim of the series is to encourage a return to the core project of Cultural Studies: to examine the culturopolitical, sociopolitical, aesthetic and ethical implications of international cultures. We commission work that engages with the lived reality of politics and cultures and is alert to possibilities for social change – to ‘understand … the present in the service of the future’ (Grossberg, 2010: 1). We are interested in writing that analyses cultures as sites of power, which explicitly engages with the materiality and variety of cultural forms, and looks at new, emerging and radical cultures. We would welcome approaches from prospective authors.  CCSR representatives will be present at all seminars.

About Rowman & Littlefield International

Rowman & Littlefield International is a new independent academic publisher in the disciplines of Philosophy, Politics & International Relations, Cultural Studies and Economics. They are particularly intrigued by the interdisciplinary nature of these subject areas. They are committed to bringing incisive modern scholarship to a global readership, insisting on high quality at every point in the publishing process. They firmly believe in the value of publishing cutting-edge research for a scholarly audience.

About OSE

Located in a former library and community centre in De Beauvoir Town, East London, Open School East is a unique space that brings together:

  • A free study programme for emerging artists;
  • A multifaceted programme of public projects and events which facilitate interactions between artists, local residents and audiences from further afield.

Central to Open School East’s approach is a commitment to foster cultural, intellectual and social exchanges between artists and the broader public. They do this by opening their study programme outwards, responding to our locality and providing an informal environment for the sharing of knowledge and skills across various communities – artistic, local and otherwise.

Programme 2016

All lectures and seminars are 6.30 – 8.30pm. There is no charge and no booking is required

January 28

*BOOK LAUNCH*

Maria Tamboukou, University of East London

Sewing, Fighting and Writing: Radical Practices in Work, Politics and Culture

Seamstresses were central figures in the socio-political and cultural events of nineteenth and early twentieth century France but their stories and political writings have remained marginalized and obscured. Drawing on a wide range of published and unpublished documents from the industrial revolution, ‘Sewing, Fighting and Writing’ is a foucauldian genealogy of the Parisian seamstress.

February 18

Lucy Finchett-Maddock, University of Sussex & Matt Fish, SOAS

February 18

Lucy Finchett-Maddock, University of Sussex & Matt Fish, SOAS

Making Home: Reflections on Squatting, Protest, and Private Property

Focusing on the alternative property narratives of ‘social centres’, or political squats, Lucy will suggest that these spaces and their communities create their own – resistant – form of law. Matt will discuss his ethnographic research in squatted spaces around London and his experiences as a squatter and academic. He will talk about the questions that squatting as a spatial practice raises in terms of place, place-making and ethical relationships to space in London. Is there any academically useful approach to squatting, or can it only ever be understood when practiced?

March 10

*BOOK LAUNCH*

Stevphen Shukiatis, University of Essex

The Composition of Movements to Come: Aesthetics & Cultural Labor After the Avant-Garde

How does the avant-garde create spaces in everyday life that subvert regimes of economic and political control? How do art, aesthetics and activism inform one another? And how do strategic spaces of creativity become the basis for new forms of production and governance?

April 28

*BOOK LAUNCH*

Debra Benita Shaw & Maggie Humm, University of East London with Kat Deerfield, Cardiff University

Radical Space: Exploring Politics and Practice 

The spatial turn in the Humanities and Social Sciences has produced a considerable body of work which re-assesses space beyond the fixed Cartesian co-ordinates of Modernity and the nation state.  Radical Space reveals how activists and artists have deployed these theoretical tools to examine and contest spatial practice. Special guest Kat Deerfield will discuss her research into the gendered dimensions of extraterrestrial space.

May 5th

Dan Hassler-Forest, Utrecht University, Netherlands & Julia Dane, University of East London

The Walking Dead: Undead Capitalism, Morality & Affect.

In a late capitalist world that no longer offers any alternatives, the zombie genre has offered potent tools to critique a system that is both unsustainable and –ultimately– apocalyptic. Dan Hassler-Forest will suggest that critical posthumanism offers a way out of the deadlock between capitalism and the apocalyptic imaginary and Julia Dane will argue that The Walking Dead forces the audience to contemplate new frameworks of social value and the moral choices that might be made in an apocalyptic world.

June 9th

Kirsten Forkert, Birmingham City University

Authoritarian populism and austerity Britain

Kirsten will examine how ‘authoritarian populism’ can be applied to present-day Austerity Britain. There are obvious parallels with rhetoric used in the 1980s and that used today, particularly around ‘scroungers’, ‘benefit’ or ‘health tourists’, ‘swarms’ of refugees, etc. However, in other ways the situation is very different in terms of the parameters of socially acceptable speech, who is seen as belonging to British society and who does not, as well as the conditions facing those of us who want to challenge this and the strategies and tactics we can use.

June 30

Stephen Maddison, University of East London

Comradeship of Cock? Gay porn and the entrepreneurial voyeur

Thirty years of academic and critical scholarship on the subject of gay porn have produced one striking consensus, which is that gay cultures are especially ‘pornified’: porn has arguably offered gay men not only homoerotic visibility, but a heritage culture and a radical aesthetic. At the level of politics and cultural dissent, what’s ‘gay’ about gay porn now? This paper will explore whether processes of legal and social liberalization, and the emergence of networked and digital cultures, have foreclosed or expanded the apparently liberationary opportunities of gay porn.

Free Course! – Introduction to Cultural Studies: Culture, Technology and Power

Who has power in our cultures and how does it work? How do the ideas we have about what is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ influence our decisions? What exactly is technology and how does it affect social change? Cultural Studies makes use of techniques from philosophy, history, sociology, human geography, anthropology, radical economics and political and critical theory to examine these questions in the context of contemporary popular cultures.

This course is an introduction to the subject taught by senior academics moonlighting from their day jobs at the University of East London. The course is free because we believe not only that education should be free but that knowledge is a crucial weapon in the war against all forms of inequality.

If you’ve never been to university, have been but miss the critical debates or are curious about who decides what counts as knowledge in the first place, we’d like to meet you.

There is no set reading (although we’ll recommend some if you’re interested) and no essay assignments, exams or deadlines (although we’ll set some if you want to challenge yourself). All the classes are interactive and give you the chance to think about everyday life in the context of the history of ideas. We’ll provide the learning environment. The rest is up to you.

The first part of the course was written and delivered by Dr Debra Benita Shaw and Dr Stephen Maddison.  You can see the outline of that course and find links to all the slides below.

The second part of the course is open to anyone, whether or not they attended the first part (it won’t be assumed that you necessarily did), and is written and delivered by Professor Jeremy Gilbert and Dr Stephen Maddison. Professor Tim Lawrence might pop in. 

Stephen, Debra,  Jeremy and Tim are co-directors of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. For more information on the Centre and the University of East London click here

Jeremy is also the main organiser and main teacher of the Culture, Power and Politics series of seminars, which are another set of free open seminars, on very similar themes, hosted by the New Economics Foundation. Because there is so much overlap between the two sets of seminars, there won’t be any separate Culture, Power and Politics seminars this term. Attendees of the Culture, Power and Politics  seminars are encouraged to attend this course, and attendees of this course are encouraged to check out the recordings on the Culture, Power Politics website. Clear enough? Don’t worry – just turn up and you will be bound to learn something interesting. 

Here are the topics for part two of the course: 

Tuesday February 23 2016

We are all migrants

‘Some bunch of migrants’ is what David Cameron called the refugee inhabitants of the Calais ‘jungle’ when Jeremy Corbyn went to visit them. But migration and movement of people has shaped every aspect of our lives and culture, from the forced migrations of the slave trade to the take-away menus on our high street. With the EU referendum just around the corner, and anti-immigration feeling running high in the UK, what hope is there for a progressive cosmopolitan politics today? 

Tuesday March 8th 

Computer World  

‘Computer World’ is the title of Kraftwerk’s best album (yes it is). At just around the time they recorded it, economists, philosophers and social theorists were predicting that the ‘computerisation’ of society would change everything, creating a world of infinite information, without stable values, in which the very idea of being ‘modern’ would come to seem out of date.  Were they right? The technological changes of the past few decades have radically changed how capitalism works – but is it still fundamentally the same old system?

Tuesday March 15th  (NB this is only one week after the last session)

No Such Thing As ‘Society’

“There’s no such thing as society: only individuals (and their families)”. This was perhaps Margaret Thatcher’s most notorious public pronouncement. It was also one of the few moments when she made explicit her commitment to the ideals and assumptions of ‘neoliberalism’: the individualistic political philosophy that has come to dominate our politics, our culture and our lives. 

After the 2008 crash, and the rise of Corbynism, we’re hearing a lot of discussion these days about the problems with neoliberal economics, which basically wants to privatise everything, drive down wages and cut taxes for the rich. We don’t hear so much about neoliberalism as a cultural ideology, promoting individualism, competition and greed in every area of life, from the nursery to the hospice. But without understanding this, we can’t understand how  ruling elites have got away with imposing such an unpopular programme for so long. 

We’ll have a think about this here – and take the opportunity to revise a bit of Marx, Gramsci and Foucault. 

Easter break 

Tuesday April 5th 

This is what a feminist looks like 

If historians of the future remember our era for anything, it is probably going to be the unprecedented revolution in the social status of women that we have lived through, and are living through.  But the movement which made that change possible is still derided and feared, often seemingly unpopular with the very generations of young women who have benefited from it. At the same time it has raised a question which cultural and social theory is still struggling to answer – what is gender? Is it a social construct or a biological fact, or both, or neither? What does it mean to be a feminist today? Where does masculinity fit into all this? What are ‘performativity’ and ‘intersectionality’ when they’re at home? We will sort all this out in time to get to the pub before 9, honest…

Tuesday April 19th

Queer as Folk

Another huge cultural and political change of recent years has been the transformation in social attitudes towards same-sex relationships. It’s hard to believe now that both advocates and opponents of ‘gay liberation’ once thought that capitalism itself simply could not tolerate open same-sex relationships, and would be fatally undermined by any attempt to validate them. At the same time sexuality remains a highly charged political issue in many complex ways, and the broad field of ‘queer theory’ has been one of the most productive and contentious areas of cultural studies. 

Tuesday May 3rd

The Multitude, the Metropolis (and the Mayor)

Since around 2000, there’s been growing interest in the English-speaking world in a particular strain of radical Italian thought. This ‘autonomist’ tradition believes in the creative, dynamic capacities of workers of all kinds, from factory workers to software engineers, and wants to liberate the creative power of ‘the multitude’ from capitalist control. Thinkers such as Hardt & Negri and Lazzarato offer very interesting ways of thinking about the rise of the ‘creative economy’, about how social media platforms generate profits from our everyday communications, and about why cities are so often hotbeds of radicalism and innovation. Two days before the London Mayoral election, we’ll also think about what potential there might be for Londoners to take back our own city from the clutches of the oligarchs and the Corporation of London.

Tuesday May 17th  

Can you Feel it?

 Once upon a time, Cultural Studies was basically about looking at everything as if it were a language: fashion, advertising, music and journalism were understood as different ways in which people ‘make meanings’. A lot of cultural studies still is like that – it’s a very useful and productive way of looking at things. But what about those aspects of our lives which are not easy to translate into ‘meanings’?  What about feelings? What about the sounds of music, the colours of paintings, the physical thrill of watching a movie? These issues aren’t just important for thinking about art and music – they’re also crucial to understanding what motivates people politically and socially. We’ll  explore these issues and try to get inside one of the most difficult but rewarding bodies of 20th century theory: the ‘schizoanalysis’ of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.

Tuesday May 31st 

How did we get here?  

How did we get into this mess? Rising inequality, climate catastrophe, miserable youth and a culture which can’t innovate: it’s hard to believe that until some time in the 80s, people actually believed the world was getting better.  Can Cultural Studies help us to understand how we got here? It can and it will.

In this session we’ll bring together many of the ideas from the previous weeks, and the previous term, to see how they can help answer this questions. We’ll be looking at some classic Cultural Studies text such as Sturt Hall et. al’s Policing the Crisis published in 1978 (which starts off analysing newspaper reports about muggings, and ends up basically predicting Thatcherism before anyone else could see it coming), and asking if culture in 2016 is still stuck in ‘the long 1990s’. 

Tuesday June 14th 

Where are we going?

What kind of world are we heading into, and who gets to decide? Will artificially-intelligent robots be our masters? Will we be cyborgs ourselves? Are we already? What will happen to us once Chinese workers start demanding decent wages for making all the stuff we buy? Can the planet tolerate the levels of consumption we’ve got used to? Will technology save us or destroy us.? Are we already experiencing ‘post-capitalism’?  Are we already ‘post-human’? All this and more will be revealed. 

Below is the course outline from part one of the Introduction to Cultural Studies course, including links to slides:

Course outline 2015

Session 1: Tuesday 29 September
‘Making Meaning: Introduction to Semiotics’

We make meaning from everything we see around us every day, but what informs our decisions about what ‘things’ mean? This session will introduce you to the work of the French Philologist Ferdinand de Saussure who gave us the tools to understand the role of ideology in how we make sense of everyday life.

Slides from this session – OSE Semiotics

Session 2: Tuesday 13 October
‘Workers of the World Unite: Marx for Beginners’

Karl Marx is famous for predicting a workers’ revolution in Britain and, as some politicians will gleefully tell you, for being wrong. But Marx wrote a lot of books and said a lot of things that are still startlingly relevant to how we think about the organisation of social life and the role of economics in determining how we think about ourselves. In this session, we’ll develop our understanding of ideology and think about the relationship between bodies, machines and going shopping (with a little help from Johnny Cash).

Slides from this session – OSE Marx

Session 3: Tuesday 27 October
‘Culture Consuming Itself?’

Why has consumption become so central to the cultures of capitalism? This session will apply key concepts from Marxism to a discussion of ideas of identity, taste and cultural meaning. Why do we define ourselves through our shopping choices? Can we ever achieve individuality? How does semiotics help us to understand culture as representation?

Slides from this session – OSE Consuming Culture

Session 4: Tuesday 3 November
‘Sometimes it’s Just a Cigar: The Surreal World of Sigmund Freud’

Sigmund Freud is another towering figure of the twentieth century who gets a bad press. But, like it or not, he gave us the language that we use when we speak about our personalities, early childhood development and mental health (he also provided PR and ad agencies with effective strategies for persuading us to, yes, go shopping). In this session, we’ll look at psychoanalysis as cultural theory; as a way of thinking about what we dream about, how we behave and how we learn to distinguish ourselves according to the roles we’re expected to play.

Slides from this session – OSE Freud

Session 5: Tuesday 17 November
‘Popular Interests: Antonio Gramsci and Hegemony’

Antonio Gramsci was the leader of the Italian Communist party after WW1 and spent a lot of time in prison. Happily for us, it gave him plenty of time to think. In this session we’ll study his theory of ‘hegemony’ which helps to explain why we consent to be governed by people that really don’t have our best interests at heart.

Slides from this session – OSE Gramsci (1)

Session 6: Saturday 21 November, 2-4pm
‘How to Get Interpellated: Louis Althusser (with Intro to Jacques Lacan)’

The French nearly had (another) revolution in 1968 but, ultimately, it failed. Louis Althusser was one of the post-’68 theorists who set himself the task of working out why people give in to authority, even when it would be better for them to not do so. We’ll be studying how he made use of the post-Freudian theory of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to explain why we all consider ourselves guilty until proven innocent.

Slides from this session – OSE Althusser

Session 7: Tuesday 24 November
‘Monsieur Foucault and the Prison of the Self’

Michel Foucault was another post-’68 theorist whose work has had wide ranging consequences for how we think about power and its effects on how we understand ourselves and others. This is the first of three sessions where we’ll explore his ideas and their relevance to contemporary culture. We’ll be examining the design of an eighteenth century prison and how it gives us a model for understanding why we think some things (and people) are ‘abnormal’.

Slides from this session – OSE Foucault

Session 8: Tuesday 8 December
‘Perverse Pleasures: Foucault and Sexuality’

One of the most important things that Foucault helps us to understand is that sexuality has a history. Although he disagreed with Marx about the way that power works, he had a similar interest in historical change and its effect on our private lives. In this session, we’ll examine how our attitudes to sexual practices are deeply entangled with the power afforded to certain institutions by vested economic and political interests.

Session 9: Tuesday 15 December (note this session is a week after the last one)
‘Racial Mythologies: Edward Said and Orientalism’

Foucault’s ideas have considerable implications for how we understand racism and its effects in contemporary culture. In this session, we’ll discuss the work of Edward Said who applied Foucault’s insights about history, language and self-identity to understanding how racial stereotypes come to be accepted as ‘truth’.

Slides from this session – OSE Said

The Politics of Leadership – December 16th, 2015

The Politics of Leadership

A seminar with Archie Brown, Alan Finlayson, Shirin M. Rai and Marc Stears

presented by the Centre for Cultural Studies Reasearch, University of East London

What is the nature of political leadership? Is ‘strong leadership’ really essential to political success? Is it a necessary feature of democratic politics at all? What constitutes effective leadership of  movements, parties or ‘communities’. Is there such a thing as leadership in the cultural domain? What roles do rhetoric and narrative play in constructing our ideas about leaders and leadership?

Archie Brown is Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford University and author of the classic The Myth of the Strong Leader

Alan Finlayson is Professor of Political and Social Theory at the University of East Anglia

Shirin M. Rai  is Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Wawick

Marc Stears  Professor of Political Theory at Oxford University and former chief speechwriter to Ed Miliband.

Chair: Jeremy Gilbert, UEL

Free Event, All Welcome, Book Here 

WHEN
WHERE
Athlone Room, Senate House, London,  WC1E 7HU

You can listen to the full audio recording HERE

Corbyn and Charisma – November 2015

Che-Corbyn

Corbyn and Charisma

A seminar presented by the Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London

In the era of celebrity culture and personality politics, ‘charisma’ seems to be more important than ever. But what is it? Is it real a quality which some individuals possess, or is it just an accidental function of social situations? Does Jeremy Corbyn lack it, or is his very lack of polish what drew so many to support his bid for leadership of the Labour Party? What does this all tell us about the future of British politics and culture?

with
Lisa Baraitser, Reader in Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, author of Maternal Encounters

Mark Fisher, Lecturer in Visual Culture, Goldsmiths, author of Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life

Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Politica Theory, UEL, author of Common Ground

Zoe WilliamsGuardian journalist and author of Get it Together: Why We Deserve Better Politics 

WHEN- 

WHERE – Athlone Room,Senate House  London,  WC1E 7HU

Free event, all welcome, book HERE

Introduction to Cultural Studies: Culture, Technology & Power Free Course at Open School East

Introduction to Cultural Studies: Culture, Technology & Power – Free Course at Open School East

Taking place over 9 Tuesdays, 6.30-8.30pm (check schedule below for exact dates)

Click HERE for location
29 September – 15 December 2015

Who has power in our cultures and how does it work? How do the ideas we have about what is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ influence our decisions? What exactly is technology and how does it affect social change? Cultural Studies makes use of techniques from philosophy, history, sociology, human geography, anthropology and political and critical theory to examine these questions in the context of contemporary popular cultures.

This course is an introduction to the subject taught by senior academics moonlighting from their day jobs at the University of East London. The course is free because we believe not only that education should be free but that knowledge is a crucial weapon in the war against all forms of inequality.

If you’ve never been to university, have been but miss the critical debates or are curious about who decides what counts as knowledge in the first place, we’d like to meet you.

There is no set reading (although we’ll recommend some if you’re interested) and no essay assignments, exams or deadlines (although we’ll set some if you want to challenge yourself). All the classes are interactive and give you the chance to think about everyday life in the context of the history of ideas. We’ll provide the learning environment. The rest is up to you.

The course is written and delivered by Dr Debra Benita Shaw and Dr Stephen Maddison, Co-Directors of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. For more information on the Centre and the University of East London click here.

Course outline

Session 1: Tuesday 29 September
‘Making Meaning: Introduction to Semiotics’

We make meaning from everything we see around us every day, but what informs our decisions about what ‘things’ mean? This session will introduce you to the work of the French Philologist Ferdinand de Saussure who gave us the tools to understand the role of ideology in how we make sense of everyday life.

Session 2: Tuesday 13 October
‘Workers of the World Unite: Marx for Beginners’

Karl Marx is famous for predicting a workers’ revolution in Britain and, as some politicians will gleefully tell you, for being wrong. But Marx wrote a lot of books and said a lot of things that are still startlingly relevant to how we think about the organisation of social life and the role of economics in determining how we think about ourselves. In this session, we’ll develop our understanding of ideology and think about the relationship between bodies, machines and going shopping (with a little help from Johnny Cash).

Session 3: Tuesday 27 October
‘Culture Consuming Itself?’

Why has consumption become so central to the cultures of capitalism? This session will apply key concepts from Marxism to a discussion of ideas of identity, taste and cultural meaning. Why do we define ourselves through our shopping choices? Can we ever achieve individuality? How does semiotics help us to understand culture as representation?

Session 4: Tuesday 3 November
‘Sometimes it’s Just a Cigar: The Surreal World of Sigmund Freud’

Sigmund Freud is another towering figure of the twentieth century who gets a bad press. But, like it or not, he gave us the language that we use when we speak about our personalities, early childhood development and mental health (he also provided PR and ad agencies with effective strategies for persuading us to, yes, go shopping). In this session, we’ll look at psychoanalysis as cultural theory; as a way of thinking about what we dream about, how we behave and how we learn to distinguish ourselves according to the roles we’re expected to play.

Session 5: Tuesday 17 November
‘Popular Interests: Antonio Gramsci and Hegemony’

Antonio Gramsci was the leader of the Italian Communist party after WW1 and spent a lot of time in prison. Happily for us, it gave him plenty of time to think. In this session we’ll study his theory of ‘hegemony’ which helps to explain why we consent to be governed by people that really don’t have our best interests at heart.

Session 6: date TBC (this session will be set on a Saturday)
‘How to Get Interpellated: Louis Althusser (with Intro to Jacques Lacan)’

The French nearly had (another) revolution in 1968 but, ultimately, it failed. Louis Althusser was one of the post-’68 theorists who set himself the task of working out why people give in to authority, even when it would be better for them to not do so. We’ll be studying how he made use of the post-Freudian theory of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to explain why we all consider ourselves guilty until proven innocent.

Session 7: Tuesday 24 November
‘Monsieur Foucault and the Prison of the Self’

Michel Foucault was another post-’68 theorist whose work has had wide ranging consequences for how we think about power and its effects on how we understand ourselves and others. This is the first of three sessions where we’ll explore his ideas and their relevance to contemporary culture. We’ll be examining the design of an eighteenth century prison and how it gives us a model for understanding why we think some things (and people) are ‘abnormal’.

Session 8: Tuesday 8 December
‘Perverse Pleasures: Foucault and Sexuality’

One of the most important things that Foucault helps us to understand is that sexuality has a history. Although he disagreed with Marx about the way that power works, he had a similar interest in historical change and its effect on our private lives. In this session, we’ll examine how our attitudes to sexual practices are deeply entangled with the power afforded to certain institutions by vested economic and political interests.

Session 9: Tuesday 15 December (note this session is a week after the last one)
‘Racial Mythologies: Edward Said and Orientalism’

Foucault’s ideas have considerable implications for how we understand racism and its effects in contemporary culture. In this session, we’ll discuss the work of Edward Said who applied Foucault’s insights about history, language and self-identity to understanding how racial stereotypes come to be accepted as ‘truth’.

Everything has changed but nothing has changed: cultural stasis and technological revolution.

 

 

Thursday, July 2. 6:30-8:30 pm

appleTwo observations about contemporary culture have become commonplace in recent years. On the one hand, the claim that we are living through a social revolution, driven by technological c
hange, is virtually accepted as a truism. On the other hand, the apparent slowdown of rates of actual innovation in fields such as music and fashion is also widely observed; Simon Reynolds’ diagnosis of ‘retromania’ as the contemporary condition has been widely appreciated, for example. Can we understand both of these phenomena as symptomatic of a world in which the hegemony of Silicon Valley forces certain kinds of innovation while retarding and containing others? And what can we do about it?

Jeremy Gilbert is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London. He is the author of Anti-Capitalism & Culture: Radical Theory & Popular Politics (Berg, 2008) and Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism (Pluto, 2013). He is also editor of the journal New Formations.

Open School East
The Rose Lipman Building
43 De Beauvoir Rd
London N1 5SQ

 

All welcome, admission free, no need to book

View Map

In Theory: Seminars at Open School East

In Theory: CCSR at Open School East

The Centre for Cultural Studies Research is a research centre in the School of Arts & Digital Industries at the University of East London. Members of CCSR are all active researchers engaged in exploring the politics of contemporary culture. In Theory is a series of seminars and workshops designed to offer OSE associates and the general public the chance to engage in debates about art, cultural theory, popular culture and social change. Come along for a lively exchange of ideas and the opportunity to develop your understanding of the relationship between critical theory and culture.

Programme 2015

All lectures and seminars 6.30 – 8.30pm

Thursday, April 16 – Stephen Maddison (UEL/CCSR): Softer, Metrosexual or Sissy: How Do You Fancy Your Masculinity?

How do we understand masculinity now? Is homophobia really declining, and if so, what effects has this had on so-called traditional or hegemonic masculinity? Are men getting softer? Or just more willing to spend money on what has traditionally been seen as the female realm of fashion and beauty? In this session we will be considering the political implications of recent influential theories of masculinity in the post-queer moment

Dr Stephen Maddison is a Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of East London and co-director of CCSR. He is the author of Fags, Hags & Queer Sisters (Palgrave, 2000) and has published widely on the politics of pornography, queer theory and masculinity.

Thursday, May 7 – Ashwani Sharma (UEL/CCSR) The Sublime Time of Race: Rethinking Black History and Contemporary Film  

In a neoliberal capitalist context of ‘no future’ and the ‘end of history’, where utopian futures are near impossible to imagine, questions of temporality, memory and history have emerged as sites of cultural and political struggle. This is particularly the case for black and postcolonial histories entangled in a commodity (multi)culture driven by ‘atemporal’ fantasies of ‘post-race’.

The seminar by focusing on recent black cinema – from popular films such as 12 Years a Slave and Selma to independent productions like John Akomfrah’s The Nine Muses – examines the aesthetics and politics of race and time. In a contemporary digital media environment obsessed by archives, cultural memory and nostalgia, the session asks what past, present and future do these films offer? How is black history represented? Is the future always to be haunted by the traumas of the racial past?

Ashwani Sharma is a Principal Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London and co-editor of darkmatter journal (www.darkmatter101.org). He is the co-editor of Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music (Zed, 1996) and has published widely in the fields of race, globalisation and postcolonial art and media. He is currently completing a book – In the Ruins of Empire: Race and Visual Culture in Global Times(Bloomsbury Academic).

Monday, May 18 – Debra Benita Shaw (UEL/CCSR), Stefan Sorgner (University of Erfurt) & David Roden (Open University): Posthuman Studies and the Arts

What does it mean to be ‘human’ in the digital age? How are the biological sciences redefining bodies and what does it have to do with culture? What will be the politics of posthumans? This session will survey the new field of ‘posthuman studies’ and its implications for popular culture and the arts.

Dr Debra Benita Shaw is a Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of East London. She is the author of Women, Science & Fiction (Palgrave, 2000) and Technoculture: The Key Concepts (Berg, 2008). Her new book Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space will be published by Rowman & Littlefield International in 2016.

Dr Stefan Lorenz Sorgner is director and co-founder of the Beyond Humanism Network, Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET) and teaches philosophy at the University of Erfurt. His most recent publication is Post- & Transhumanism: An Introduction (Peter Lang, 2014).

Dr David Roden is a Research Affiliate at the Open University. He is the author of Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment (Springer, 2013) and Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human (Acumen, 2014).

Thursday, July 2 – Jeremy Gilbert (UEL/CCSR): Everything has changed but nothing has changed: cultural stasis and technological revolution.

Two observations about contemporary culture have become commonplace in recent years. On the one hand, the claim that we are living through a social revolution, driven by technological change, is virtually accepted as a truism. On the other hand, the apparent slowdown of rates of actual innovation in fields such as music and fashion is also widely observed; Simon Reynolds’ diagnosis of ‘retromania’ as the contemporary condition has been widely appreciated, for example. Can we understand both of these phenomena as symptomatic of a world in which the hegemony of Silicon Valley forces certain kinds of innovation while retarding and containing others? And what can we do about it?

Jeremy Gilbert is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London. He is the author of Anti-Capitalism & Culture: Radical Theory & Popular Politics (Berg, 2008) and Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism (Pluto, 2013). He is also editor of the journal New Formations.

Thursday, July 16 – Tim Lawrence (UEL/CCSR): Schizo-Culture and the Politics of the Downtown Scene

The downtown art and music scene of the 1970s and early 1980s rose out of New York City’s shift from an industrial to a postindustrial economy. The scene also flourished as the city headed into bankruptcy and was forced by the national Republican government to turn to the banking sector for bailout money, a development that David Harvey cites alongside the rise of Pinochet as being foundational to the rise of neoliberalism. At the time artists and musicians flocked to New York because of its cultural importance and also because it was such a cheap place to live, only for critics including Harvey and Sharon Zukin to subsequently argue that they ended up colluding in New York’s transition to a post-democratic, post-collective city. Exploring an alternative framing of cultural practice during this formative historical conjuncture, this seminar will look at the special Semiotext(e) issue dedicated to Schizo-culture, which explored the relationship between participants in the downtown scene and developing strains within post-Marxist theory that sought to map out an anti-authoritarian, fluid, pluralistic politics for the late 20th century. How might this formative debate inform current discussions about art, creativity and politics?

Tim Lawrence is a Professor of Cultural Studies in UEL’s School of Arts and Digital Industries, where he teaches music. He is the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79 (Duke University Press, 2003), Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92 (Duke University Press, 2009) and the forthcoming Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83 (Duke University Press).

Culture, Power and Politics: An Open Seminar

 

Culture, Power and Politics  is a regular open seminar on…culture, power and politics. It is convened by Jeremy Gilbert of CCSR.

What will it do?

It mainly explores ideas from the traditions of cultural studies and radical theory, considering their relevance to understanding contemporary political issues, struggles and campaigns, as well as key themes in political history.

Who is it for?

Ideally, it’s for anyone who is interested. The idea for the seminar has come out of discussions amongst members of the New Economy Organisers’ Network and Compass. Our hope on launching the series in May 2015 is that the seminars will be useful and relevant both to political activists and organisers and to others simply interested in exploring the ideas.

We also hope that they will work for people who have no prior knowledge of the subjects and for those who may be world-class experts, and everyone in between. If you don’t know anything about  these subjects then feel free to come and find out. If you’re an expert – then come and join in the discussions to help others learn and to deepen your own understanding through conversation with others. We believe that all learning is collective!

For more details click HERE

Kill Your Darlings

30 August 2014
18:30to22:30

CCSR in association with Guerrilla Zoo is proud to present a special screening of Kill Your Darlings and Q&A with film director and co-writer John Krokidos. Kill Your Darlings

Ginsberg. Kerouac. Burroughs. And Lucien Carr. The last name may be less familiar, but the real-life character was the linchpin who first brought together these three icons of American literary and cultural revolution in a galvanizing drama of murder and obsession. 

Shot from a script by director Krokidas and Austin Bunn, KILL YOUR DARLINGS features a compelling young ensemble that includes Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter series) as the young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac, Ben Foster (The Messenger) as William S. Burroughs, Dane DeHaan (In Treatment) as Lucien Carr and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as David Kammerer. Rounded out by a supporting cast that includes Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Margot at the Wedding), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and David Cross (Arrested Development), KILL YOUR DARLINGS delivers a picture of the nascent Beat Generation that we‘ve never seen before, and tells the true story of the emotional crucible that shaped its voice and vision.

Docklands Campus, Main Lecture Theatre, University Way, E16 2RD

Tickets and more info

Centre for Cultural Studies Research