All posts by jeremygilbert

Culture, Power, Politics Autum 2019

What is the connection between culture and power? How do the ideas we have about what is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ influence our decisions? How did Brexit happen? What is gender? Cultural theory 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 first part of the course is an introduction to the subject. 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. 

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.

All sessions are on Wednesday evenings between 6.30 and 8.30pm beginning 16th October for nine weeks. 

This first part of the course is written and delivered by Debra Benita Shaw and Helen Palmer and part two is a series of more advanced seminars organised by Jeremy Gilbert with guest speakers. Debra and Jeremy are directors of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London

Ridley Road Market Bar, 49 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP

Course outline

Session One October 16th
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 Two October 23rd 
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 many of Marx’s ideas are still startlingly relevant to how we think about the organisation of society and the role of the economy in determining our lives. In this session, we’ll develop our understanding of capitalism and think about the relationship between bodies, machines and work.
Session Three October 30th
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 Four November 6th

Monsieur Foucault and the Prison of the Self
Michel Foucault was a French theorist whose work has had wide ranging consequences for how we think about power and its effects on how we understand ourselves and others. 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 Five November 13th
Queer: Bodies, Words and Worlds Queer: a noun, a verb and an adjective. What does it mean to queer something? We will look at the idea of queerness as continual transformation, from pop artists to performers to philosophers, and the ways in which this concept carries political power. We will look at some queer writers and theorists such as Audre Lorde and Sara Ahmed, and the ways that their words give us fresh perspectives on gender, race, class, location and orientation.
Session Six November 20th 
Does Matter Matter, or What’s New About New Materialism? From ancient to contemporary times, humans have always pondered the stuff that makes up the world. This session will be a rapid tour through different understandings of ‘material’, from ancient atomism to Cartesian substance dualism to Marxist historical materialism to contemporary feminist new materialism and the materiality of language itself.
Session Seven November 27th Racial Mythologies: Edward Said and Orientalism This week, we’ll return to Michel Foucault’s ideas and discuss their considerable implications for how we understand racism and its effects in contemporary culture. We’ll be examining 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’.
Session Eight December 4th Inventing Gender This week we’ll be looking more closely at ideas that have had an influence on how we identify people based on their gender. We’ll take a brief tour through the world according to Sigmund Freud, look at how Charles Darwin gave scientific authority to the assumption that women are stupid and begin to explore feminist challenges to these ideas.
Session Nine December 11th What’s Sex Got to Do With It? The current decade has exposed the widespread abuse of women’s bodies in public life alongside a resurgence of interest in feminism and demands for equality in the labour market. But is ‘equality’ enough? What does it even mean? In this final session we will examine the radical politics of gender dissent and why all forms of sexuality are political.

In the City: A Seminar Series on Urban Life, Art, Culture and Politics

Presented by the Centre for Cultural Studies Research & the School for Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London

All seminars 18:00-20:00 

Room US.1.01 

University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Road, Stratford, London E15 1NF

All free, All welcome, no advance booking required

Directions and Map: http://www.universitysquarestratford.ac.uk/find-us.htm

Next Seminar: November 6th 

The Municipal Commons: Urban governance and the idea of community

After nearly a decade of austerity-led neglect, many local urban communities are struggling to cope with the erosion of important services that help to bring them together. Amid all the gloom, however, there are a few encouraging signs on the horizon. Local authorities like Preston and Newham have engaged with the concept of community wealth building and its aim to produce inclusive and seemingly democratic local economies [1]. Similarly, while under economic pressure to grow student numbers and become global players, universities are also being asked to consider how their research can engage with, and impact on, the places in which they are located [2]. Certainly, in contrast to the metrics intended to gauge the global reach of academic work, these institutions need to further consider their connection to the local community.

This seminar in the CCSR series, In the City, sets out to explore how various ideas of urban community might relate to, or can become realized in, initiatives like community wealth building and the truly civic university. It also asks what kind of role so-called anchor institutions, like the university, might play in revitalizing post-austerity local communities.

Programme

Carys Hughes (UEL) on left governmentality and participatory governance (tbc)

Julian Manley (UCLan) on community and co-operative wealth building: from top-down to rhizomatic-up!

Paul Watt (Birkbeck) on urban community 

Keir Milburn (Leicester) on ‘Public-Commons Partnerships’ 

Tony Sampson (UEL, CERG) introduction and chair

Followed by Q&A and discussion

All seminars 18:00-20:00. Venue: University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Road, Stratford, London E15 1NF. Room US.1.01. All free, all welcome, no advance booking required. Directions and Map: 

For further information please email t.d.sampson@uel.ac.uk

[1] See CLES on community wealth building. https://cles.org.uk/tag/community-wealth-building/

[2] See UPP Foundation report Truly Civic: Strengthening the connection between universities and their placeshttps://upp-foundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Civic-University-Commission-Final-Report.pdf

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Seminar 3  December 4th

The Participative City: Democracy, Participation and the Right to the City 

Anna Minton (UEL) on resisting the neoliberalisation of the city. 

Alessio Kolioulis (Engagée journal ) on radical cities and the democratisation of nightlife culture

Jessica Adams (UEL) on participatory art

Jeremy Gilbert (UEL) on radical democracy and the right to the city 

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Previous seminars in this series:

Seminar 1 October 9th 

Living For the City: Imagining, inhabiting and creating in urban (and suburban) space

Speakers

Andrew Branch (UEL)

Suburban reverie Social (im)mobility and resisting acts of domination 

Tim Lawrence (UEL)

Dancing in the city: Legacies of the 1970s and early 1980s

Blake Morris (Walk Exchange www.walkexchange.org)

A Wander is not a Slog: Walking Together at a Distance

Clare Qualmann (UEL)

East End Jam, walking, foraging, picking and preserving the city

Debra Shaw (UEL)

Monsters in the Metropolis

Culture, Power and Politics

Spring / Summer 2019 Series

All Seminars 18:30 -20:30 

(These are all Tuesdays except June 19th, which is a Wednesday)

Ridley Road Market Bar, 49 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP

All free, all welcome, no advance booking

April 23rd 

Generation Left 

with Dawn FosterKeir Milburnand Lynne Segal 

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The most reliable predictor of how a person was likely to vote in the 2017 UK General Election, or the 2016 Brexit referendum, or the 2016 US presidential election, was age. Is the generation gap now the definitive dividing line in contemporary politics? And what is a ‘generation’ anyway? How do historic events like the 2008 financial crisis produce distinctive ‘generational’ experiences? Is ‘generational politics’ just a reactionary frame way of looking at things? 

Representing 3 generations of activism and commentary, Dawn Foster, author of Lean Out, Keir Milburn, author of Generation LeftandLynne Segal, author of Out of Time: The Pleasures and The Perils of AgeingRadical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joyand many other works will discuss.

April 30th

The Deserving Rich? Elite Culture and the Myth of Meritocracy 

withAeron DavisandJo Littler 

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What do the members of today’s ruling elite think they are doing, and why? What stories do they tell themselves, and us, to justify their right to rule? Why has almost every senior politician since the 1980s promised to increase ‘social mobility’, and why have they failed? 

Aeron Davis, author of Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishmentand Jo Littler, author of Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobilitywill discuss this and other issues in the class culture of modern Britain. 

May 7th

Digital Politics in the Twenty-First Century

With Alex Worrad-Andrews,  Paolo GerbaudoAmit S. Raiand  Emma Rees 

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As the world moves online, politics does too. Despite anxieties about the dangers and limitations of ‘clicktivism’,  online organising has become an indispensable tool for actors on every part of the political spectrum: from independent activists to major political parties. Hacking, open-source development, mobile telephony, piracy and cryptography are indispensable tools for activists all over the world, and for individuals and communities facing power-imbalances of any kind.  What are the implications for democracy and citizenship in the 21st century, and what should we be doing about it? 

We’ll be discussing all this with Alex Worrad-Andrews, software-engineer and founder member of Common Knowledge (a workers cooperative dedicated to building digital infrastructure for grassroots non-representational politics), Paolo Gerbaudo, author of The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy; Amit S. Rai, author of Jugaad Time: Ecologies of Everyday Hacking in India; and Emma Rees, one of the founders and first national organisers of Momentum. 

May 14th

Whose Empowerment? Feminism, Neoliberalism and Nationalism 

With Sarah Banet-Weiserand Sara R. Farris

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Once an insurgent movement against patriarchy, feminism now finds itself occupying a far more complex position in the world. Powerful institutions,  major corporations and almost all political parties – even the nationalist, xenophobic right – routinely pay lip-service to the goal of sexual equality. What are we to make of all this, and what remains to be done in the pursuit of women’s liberation? We’ll discuss these questions and more with Sara Banet-Weiser, author of Empowered: Popular Feminism and Popular Misogyny, and Sara Farris, author of In the Name of Women’s Rights: The Rise of Femonationalism

May 21st 

The People vs The Media: Power and Democracy in the Public Sphere 

With Natalie Fentonand Tom Mills 

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The institutions of  the modern media are supposed to serve the public interest: entertaining, educating and informing to the betterment of all. We all know that isn’t how it works. So what can we do about it? How can we challenge the concentration of information in the hands of the 1%? What does democracy mean in an era of fake news and billion-user platforms controlled by single individuals? We’ll discuss these questions and many other with Natalie Fenton, author of Digital, Political, Radicaland Tom Mills,author of The BBC: The Myth of a Public Service. 

June 4th 

After Work: The Fight for Free Time

WithHelen Hesterand Nick Srnicek

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Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the world of work has been the central political  battleground. What work is, who has to do it, who gets to do it and who gets rewarded for it are the most fundamental issues not just for trade-unionists and economists: but for feminists, artists, parents, teachers and, everyone else.  The reduction of the working week, the reduction of the dependence of workers on their wages, has been a central objective of progressive reform and revolutionary struggle throughout that period. Today, in an age of dual-income families and blurring boundaries between workplace and home, the question of what work gets done in the home, by whom and when – and of how to reduce the load for everyone – has never been more urgent. 

We’ll discuss the nature of work and social reproduction, and the possibilities of a future free from work, with Helen Hester, author of Xenofeminism, and Nick Srnicek, author of Platform Capitalism and Inventing the Future. 

June 11th 

The War on Drugs: Race, Class, Colonialism and the Politics of Pleasures

With Kojo KoramDebra Benita Shawand Jeremy Gilbert 

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It is now a matter of historical record that when Nixon and his aides officially launched their ‘war on drugs’ in the late 1960s, their express intention was to criminalise black radicalism and the counterculture. But the link between racism and the drug war goes back much further than that: the prohibition of recreational drug use has been founded on explicit racism since the early 20th century. In a longer historical context, the story gets even weirder. The ‘opium wars’ of the mid 19th century were fought by Britain to forceChina  to accept imports of opium from British-controlled India. At the same time, generations of white bohemians have embraced drugs as a technology of self-transformation at least since the days of Coleridge and Byron. 

What are the implications of this history for understanding the politics of prohibition and drug use today? How does the fightback agains the ‘war on drugs’ intersect with the politics of Black Lives matter? What would a radical, rational and democratic approach to the use and regulation of drugs in the 21st century look like? We’ll discuss these and other issues with Kojo Koram, editor of The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line, Jeremy Gilbert, author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism and Debra Benita Shaw, author of Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space.

As our contribution to Antiuniversity Now 2019, June 15-22nd, we’ll have not one but two seminars this week

June 18th 

Vitruvian Mantology: Architecture and Posthuman Politics

With Debra Benita Shaw

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Vitruvian Man, Leonardo’s perfectly proportioned human based on the recommendations of a Roman architect who thought that strong and stable (and beautiful) buildings would guarantee a strong and stable state, still provides the template for architectural design. What this suggests is not only that the built environment is designed to privilege able bodied white males but that architecture is, in itself, inherently political. This seminar will address the politics of space from the position of critical posthumanism in which Vitruvian Man stands for the exemplary human that nobody can approximate. If we entertain the idea that we have neverbeen human, then new possibilities emerge for thinking the politics of the social as it is constructed in urban space.

June 19th (WEDNESDAY)

Britain’s Nervous Breakdown: What is Actually Happening?

WithWill Daviesand Jeremy Gilbert   

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What on Earth ishappening to British politics, culture and society? Has the Brexit crisis been the inevitable outcome of 40 years of decline, or a wholly avoidable consequence of incompetent governance, exacerbated by a few duplicitous millionaires? Is the internet a powerful new tool of democratic engagement, or is it just driving everyone crazy, spreading fake news and stoking paranoia? Have postmodern societies become completely ungovernable? And if they have, should we care? Is liberal democracy finished, and if not, is it worth trying to save? Is neoliberalism in a terminal phase, or is it more powerful than ever? Could we end up with our own version of Trump in power? Would it make things any worse if we did? 

These and other topics will be discussed by Will Davies, author of The Limits of Neoliberalismand Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the Worldand Jeremy Gilbert, author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in an Age of Individualism

July 2nd 

The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating it for Capitalism

with Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejijas 

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Just about any social need is now met with an opportunity to “connect” through digital means. But this convenience is not free-it is purchased with vast amounts of personal data transferred through shadowy backchannels to corporations using it to generate profit. Colonialism might seem like a thing of the past, but this book shows that the historic appropriation of land, bodies, and natural resources is mirrored today in this new era of pervasive datafication. Apps, platforms, and smart objects capture and translate our lives into data, and then extract information that is fed into capitalist enterprises and sold back to us. In their new book,  The Costs of Connection, Nick Couldry and Ulises Mejiasargue that this development foreshadows the creation of a new social order emerging globally-and it must be challenged. In this session they’ll present their diagnosis and their prescriptions for this dangerous new condition of ‘data colonialism’. 

Gender-based violence inside refugee and displaced communities

The Centre for Narrative Research (CNR) and the Centre for Cultural Studies Research (CCSR) with the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging (CMRB), UEL, present:

 

Gender-based violence inside refugee and displaced communities:

A panel discussion.

Dr. Nazand Begikhani, University of Bristol, and other speakers, tbc

Chair: Professor Kate Hodgkin, University of East London

Tuesday December 11, 5.30-7.00pm, US2.44UEL University Square Stratford:http://www.universitysquarestratford.ac.uk/find-us.htm

In recent years, war, persecution, poverty and natural disasters have created the biggest refugee and forced displacement crisis in the world. In the Middle East, the war in Iraq, the civil war in Syria and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) led millions of people to flee their home and seek refuge in the neighbouring countries with many of them seeking to reach Europe with disastrous consequences. This process has affected women and men, shifted gender roles, and the representation of masculinity, impacting on gender relations within displaced and refugee communities. Gender-based violence is a growing concern for thousands of women, girls and also men and boys affected by migration and displacement.

The University of Bristol’s Centre for Gender and Violence Research in cooperation with the University of Sulaimani’s Gender and Violence Studies Centre and in partnership with several NGOs has finished a two-year research project into GBV and Displacement in Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the UK. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council together with the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the Global challenges Research Fund. The purpose of the research was to get a better understanding of the process of displacement and its impact on experiences and perceptions of GBV along with the potential for disrupting pathways to perpetration. A team from Bristol and Iraqi Kurdistan Region will present the findings of the research

Dr Nazand Begikhani is Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol.  She is part of an ESRC research programme on ‘Gender-based violence and displacement’ at Bristol.  Recent publications include ‘Theorising Women and War in Kurdistan. A feminist and critical perspective (with Wendelmoet Hamelink & Nerina Weiss). Kurdish Studies Journal. Vol: 6, N0 1, pp 1-10. May 2018. 
https://journal.tplondon.com/index.php/ks/article/view/1192

, and ‘Experiences of Honor-based Violence, and Moving Towards Action in Iraqi Kurdistan’ (with Hague). In The Kurdish Question Revisted. by Gareth Stansfield (Editor),? Mohammed Shareef (Editor). Oxford University Press. 2017. http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/the-kurdish-question-revisited/. Begikhani is also a poet and literary scholar.

Culture, Power and Politics

Culture, Power and Politics Seminar Series

Sessions for 2018

All 6:30pm – 8:30 pm

All Sessions @ Doomed Gallery,: 65-67 Ridley Road, Dalston, London, E8 2NP

All welcome – no charge – no booking required 

All hosted and led by Jeremy Gilbert, usually with guests 

For many sessions there is some suggested reading listed, but reading it is not obligatory.

Yes, they will be recorded and podcast, but you should come anyway!
 
 

For more information about this seminar series including an extensive archive of recordings click here 

 
 
 

April 24th 2018 

#metoo / #ImWithHer: feminism, liberalism and the politics of gender

With Mandy Merck and Catherine Rottenberg

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What does Harvey Weinstein’s exposure and fall tell us about our moment? How are  gendered relations changing and what is the condition of feminism in the 21st century? What are the most useful ways of conceptualising gendered power today – is it sexism, misogyny, patriarchy or male privilege that feminism is fighting, or are they all the same thing? What has been at stake in the politicisation now, and for the historical women’s movement, of issues like sexual harassment alongside more ‘basic’ economic issues such as equal pay and access to childcare? And what are we to make of the growing tendency of centrist neoliberal politicians like Hilary Clinton appealing to liberal feminism as their main source of legitimacy?

Suggested Reading: http://www.bgu.ac.il/~rottenbe/The%20rise%20of%20neoliberal%20feminism.pdf

 
 
 

May 1st

Democracy is in the Streets: Fifty Years of 1968

With Hilary Wainwright

 

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May 1968 saw an escalation of protests and political actions by students and workers in France, leading a situation of near-revolution that lasted for several weeks and re-set the terms of political debate for a generation.

Although ‘the events of May’ are remembered as the most obvious and symbolic  expression of the revolutionary spirit in that moment, ‘May 1968’ was only one episode in an international series of events and struggles against  the bureaucratic cultures of post-war welfare capitalism and the Stalinist ‘socialism’ of the Soviet bloc, from the early 60s to the mid- 80s. This was the moment when the counterculture, student radicalism, Black Power  and a new wave or working class militancy coincided with a wave of global anti-imperial struggle and the birth of the women’s movement, the green movement and Gay Liberation.

The consequence of these struggles, their partial defeats and limited victories have been colossal: arguably the adoption of neoliberal policies by governing elites across the globe was motivated as much as anything by the need to contain their demands for radical democracy and collective freedom. On the other hand, sceptics  have argued that the counterculture and the New Left undermined working class solidarity, ultimately paving the way for a postmodern culture of narcissism, hedonism and futile identity politics.

The implications of these movements and the debates that they provoked were decisive and long-lasting  for the development of radical philosophy, political theory and cultural studies . What is the significance of this history for contemporary radicalism? And would it be accurate to say that ‘1968’ didn’t happen in Britain until 1982?…

Hilary Wainwright remembers 1968 and has been involved in radical politics since the 1960s, playing a key role on the British Left through much of that time. She is the founding editor of Red Pepper  and the author of several books, the most recent of which was published this year, titled A New Politics from the Left. Jeremy Gilbert wasn’t born in 1968, but that hasn’t stopped him writing and saying quite a lot about it. On the 50th anniversary of May 1st 1968, they will discuss all of these issues and any others that arise.

Suggested Reading: http://longreads.tni.org/state-of-power-2018/lessons-1968/; https://www.dropbox.com/s/y3sahlmhqakuc6o/2008%20Gilbert.pdf?dl=0

 

May 8th

Work, Debt, Creativity, Resistance: An Introduction to the thought of Maurizio Lazzarato

 

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Maurizio Lazzarato is best known for having coined the term ‘immaterial labour’ as a way of describing the many forms of work in the contemporary economy that do not produce physical outputs, but are concerned with the production of knowledges, information-flows, moods, and experiences. But his work extends way beyond this analysis, drawing on the tradition of ‘autonomist’ Marxism and the ideas of thinkers such as Foucault and Guattari to offer one of the most powerful and engaged analyses of neoliberal culture, contemporary capitalism, and the organisation forms that resistance to it requires.

This year sees the publication of the English translation of one of his most important works, Experimental Politics. This book provides an account of a key episode in recent French political history – the highly innovative struggle to defend the rights of precarious creative workers that emerged in the summer of 2003 – and uses it to offer one of the most profound analyses to date of the nature of advanced neoliberalism and its complex relationship to creative practice of all kinds. The book was translated by a team of Arianna Bove, Jeremy Gilbert, Andrew Goffey, Mark Hayward and Jason Read, with Jeremy providing a long critical introduction to the book and Lazzarato’s ideas.

In this seminar Jeremy will explain how those ideas have developed and why they are so relevant for contemporary radical politics.

 

May 15th 

Wars and Capital

with Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato 

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This year also sees the publication of the English Edition of Lazzarato’s recent collaboration with philosopher Éric Alliez: Wars and Capital.

Here is the blurb from the publishers catalogue:

“We are at war,” declared the President of the French Republic on the evening of November 13, 2015. But what is this war, exactly?

In Wars and Capital, Éric Alliez and Maurizio Lazzarato propose a counter-history of capitalism to recover the reality of the wars that are inflicted on us and denied to us. We experience not the ideal war of philosophers, but wars of class, race, sex, and gender; wars of civilization and the environment; wars of subjectivity that are raging within populations and that constitute the secret motor of liberal governmentality. By naming the enemy (refugees, migrants, Muslims), the new fascisms establish their hegemony on the processes of political subjectivation by reducing them to racist, sexist, and xenophobic slogans, fanning the flames of war among the poor and maintaining the total war philosophy of neoliberalism.

Because war and fascism are the repressed elements of post-’68 thought, Alliez and Lazzarato not only read the history of capital through war but also read war itself through the strange revolution of ’68, which made possible the passage from war in the singular to a plurality of wars—and from wars to the construction of new war machines against contemporary financialization. It is a question of pushing “’68 thought” beyond its own limits and redirecting it towards a new pragmatics of struggle linked to the continuous war of capital. It is especially important for us to prepare ourselves for the battles we will have to fight if we do not want to be always defeated.

In this seminar Éric and Maurizio will introduce and discuss some of the key arguments and ideas from this important new work.

 

 

May 22nd

Eyes Right: Trumpism, Brexit and the rise of the alt-right

With Sarah Bufkin and Alan Finlayson

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The Brexit vote and Trump’s election both seem to mark a terminal crisis for the liberal cosmopolitan consensus that has obtained in the English-speaking world since the 1990s. In both cases, centrist elites have been quick to blame external agencies (Cambridge Analytica, Vladimir Putin, etc.), apparently unable to believe that it is the effects of their own  policies that have led to them losing significant levels of public support. At the same time, concerns over national identity, and hostility to multiculturalism and immigration, continue  to inform the politics of the Right in many ways: from the casual English xenophobia of UKIP the extreme racism of the alt-right. How can we make sense of all this and what can we do about it?

Suggested Reading: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n10/alan-finlayson/brexitism\

 

May 29th – No session

 

June 5th 

Hegemony Now: Power in the Twenty-First Century (I)

with Alex Williams 

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Gramsci’s concept of ‘hegemony’ remains indispensable to understanding the relationships between culture, politics, economics and technology. Every generation since the 1930s has had to update the idea and its application in the light of new developments in the wider world and in the domain of theory and philosophy. In this session Alex and Jeremy will introduce some key concepts and analyses from their forthcoming book Hegemony Now: Power in the Twenty-First Century (Verso, 2019). This will be the fist of two seminars in the series to will explore this material.

 

 

June 12th

Art, Glitch, Politics

with Debra Benita Shaw

 

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At a time when the meaning of democracy is challenged by the power of algorithms and the politics of misinformation what has become apparent is that the valorisation of data is the defining characteristic of contemporary digital capitalism. Big Data is sold on the basis of accurate retrieval; the promise that a series of perfect signals can be abstracted from the background noise of the world’s incessant uploading of information.

Against this background, the rise of digital ‘glitch’ art is interesting in terms of how it privileges noise over signal and aestheticises error. Glitch artists randomly re-assort ordered sequences to demonstrate that order itself is arbitrary, contingent and open to transduction. In deliberately confounding the apparently smooth interface through which digital messages are received, the glitch aesthetic suggests a productive imagery for a politics which confronts the hierarchies embedded in and reproduced by digital culture.

This seminar is also part of this year’s programme for Antiuniversity 2018

 

 

June 19th 

 

Black Lives Matter – ‘race’, bodies and biopolitics in the 21st century 

 

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The Black Lives Matter movement has seen arguably the most significant revival of Black radicalism in the English-speaking world for many years. What has led to this situation and what are the political, historical and theoretical issues raised by it? Is ‘black’ still a meaningful term of political identification for non-white peoples outside the African diaspora? What is the legacy of slavery and colonialism in the contemporary West? Why is racism amongst police forces such a perpetually intractable problem, even in apparently liberal countries like the UK (is the very concept of policing, as Foucault seemed to suggest, itself just inherently racist?). How have new philosophies of materiality and embodied experience contributed to the understanding of ‘race’ as a historical and lived experience? What is the place of ‘black music’ in contemporary culture, 100 years in to the history of recorded sound, and what was been the historical relationship of music to black radicalism?

Directly after this seminar there will be a meeting to set up a reading group focussing on theories of race, colonialism, post-coloniality etc, open to anyone who is interested in joining. 

 

June 26th 

The Right to the City: politics, place and policy in neoliberal London

with Anna Minton and Jacob Mukherjee of Generation Rent

 

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London’s housing market is in crisis because the global super-rich use our homes as piggy-banks and the government does nothing to stop them. Rent is becoming completely unaffordable (never mind buying a place). Gentrification is killing cultural venues all over the city, as overpriced flats crowd out the places where people gather to make some noise. At the heart of the city, the Corporation of the City of London is a law unto itself, and isn’t even democratically elected. The residents of Grenfell Tower have still not been re-housed. None of this is happening by accident, and none  of it is going to change without a radical re-think of what London is for, and a radical challenge to the power of finance capital. In this session we’ll discuss these issues with two expert campaigners, and think about how they fit into the wider history of global neoliberalism.

 

 

July 3rd 

PFI: The Financialisation of Everything 

With Grace Blakely 

 

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The ‘Private Finance Initiative’ still sounds like a dry, technical procedure that nobody could get too excited about. That’s what it’s supposed to sound like. Journalists and government have colluded for 25 years in making sure that the public don’t take too much interest in it.

In fact the PFI has been central to UK government policy since the mid 1990s and has been the vehicle through which huge chunks of the British public sector have been privatised without any mandate from the people. One of Stuart Hall’s last great public interventions was to call for the launch of a public campaign against this programme in 2000 – he could see how serious its implications were.

The story of the Private Finance Initiative reached its long-predicted denouement this year with the collapse of Carillion, a company employing 43,000 workers, responsible for dozens of contracts to deliver services across the UK public sector. The biggest bankruptcy in British history has exposed what many economists and political commentators have been saying for years: the PFI was a disastrous policy that was never really intended to benefit the public, but to enable multinational corporations to generate vast profits at the expense of the tax-payer, local authorities, schools and hospitals

But what exactly is the PFI, how does it work, and why are the Blairites still opposed to actually scrapping it?

 

 

July 10th

Hegemony Now: Power in the Twenty-First Century (II)

with Alex Williams 

 

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This session will continue the discussion begun on June 5th .

Introduction to Cultural Politics

 

Assembling the Left: A conversation with Michael Hardt

 

Recent years have seen a remarkable new wave of engagement between  radical  political movements and established institutions of government and party politics; with decidedly mixed results. From the Syriza experiment to the emergence of Corbynism, what lessons can be learned, and how can we best hope to take advantage of the opportunities for radical democracy which the twenty-first century affords? What forms of leadership, strategy and organisation are possible and necessary  in this new period? 

Acclaimed thinker and co-author of several key works with Antonio Negri, Michael Hardt, will discuss these issue –  as well as themes from their  new book, Assembly – with Marina PrentoulisJeremy Gilbert and other participants in the seminar. 

Saturday October 14th 2017

17:00-19:00

Room G21A

Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

Free, all welcome, no advanced booking, please arrive promptly as space will be very limited. 

 Michael will also be speaking  at a ticketed  event in Finsbury Park earlier the same afternoon:‘ Opening the Commons: Technology, Leadership and Organisation in conversation with Michael Hardt on Assembly’

Annual Lecture with Angela McRobbie

UEL Centre for Cultural Studies Research

Annual Lecture 

Women, Benefit Shaming

and the Dismantling of Welfare

A Feminist Critique of Neoliberalism 

Angela McRobbie

Professor of Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London

University Square Stratford, Room USG 17 

1 Salway Road London E15 1NF
 
(Map: http://www.universitysquarestratford.ac.uk/find-us.htm)
 

Wednesday  May 31st  2017, 6:30 pm

Professor Angela McRobbie has been a leading figure in Cultural Studies since the mid-1970s. Her published work encompasses  books and articles on feminist theory, gender and popular culture, fashion and creative economy, and working lives in the culture industries. She is currently Mercator Fellow, Germany where she is completing a book on feminism and the culture of neoliberalism (polity 2018).  

Her most recent books include

Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries 

The Aftermath of Feminism

The Uses of Cultural Studies 

This lecture makes an argument about the centrality of women’s participation in work and in family life as a critical tenet of contemporary neoliberalism’s dismantling of welfare. A key means for effecting this change includes a gendered modality of benefit shaming.

Admission is free to all and there is no need to book.

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/403413620031992/