Category Archives: Past Events

Past events in events calendar

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


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


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


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.

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 

Athlone Room, Senate House, London,  WC1E 7HU

You can listen to the full audio recording HERE

Corbyn and Charisma – November 2015


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?

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 


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

Free event, all welcome, book HERE

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 ( 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).

Kill Your Darlings

30 August 2014

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

Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism

18 June 2014

We live in an epoch of personal choice, hyper-mobility, celebrity-worship and fiercely competitive labour markets. But this is also the age of networked communication, of global culture, of Occupy and the new politics of ‘the Commons’.

What are the connections and tensions between such apparently diverse tendencies, and do they help democracy to develop, or render it impossible?

This public seminar, marking the launch of Jeremy Gilbert’s book Common Ground (Pluto Press),  will discuss the relationship between collectivity, individuality, affect and agency today, asking whether personal freedom is the great achievement of our era — or if individualism is actually forced on us by capitalist culture, fatally limiting our capacity to solve the problems that we can only solve together.What forms of politics, culture and philosophy might take us beyond the limits of traditional conservatism or banal individualism?

At: Brilliant Corners, 470 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AE

Speakers: Anthony Barnett, Lisa Blackman, Mark Fisher, Jeremy Gilbert
Continue reading Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism

Hauntology with Mark Fisher

24 April 2014

Ghosts of My LifeCCSR welcomes Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? author Mark Fisher to launch his new book Ghosts of My Life, in conversation with the London-based artist and writer Laura Oldfield Ford. Are we, as Fisher argues, haunted by futures that failed to happen?

“Ghosts Of My Life confirms that Mark Fisher is our most penetrating explorer of the connections between pop culture, politics, and personal life under the affective regime of digital capitalism. The most admirable qualities of Fisher’s work are its lucidity, reflecting the urgency of his commitment to communicating ideas; his high expectations of popular art’s power to challenge, enlighten, and heal; and his adamant refusal to settle for less.” Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania and Rip It Up and Start Again.

Venue: Room US.G.17, University of East London, University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Road, E15. 1NF