Focusing on the themes of debt, pain, and work, the coalition government has attempted to build a new common sense around the need for deep public sector spending cuts, the curtailment of strategic health authority and local governmental influence in the provision of health and education, and the sweeping shift from public sector to private sector delivery. This academic year the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at UEL is holding three linked seminars on the themes of Debt (13 October), Pain (December 1) and Work (date to be confirmed) in order to interrogate the substance of the government’s strategy. Each event will be held at UEL’s Docklands Campus in East London, and will feature speakers from a range of activist, journalistic and research backgrounds.
CCSR Co-director Mica Nava recently conducted a public interview with Handel Kashope Wright, Canada Research Chair of Comparative Cultural Studies, David Lam Chair of Multicultural Education, Director of the Centre for Culture, Identity and Education and Professor in the Educational Studies Department at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Professor Wright is also on the CCSR Advisory Board. The interview was conducted as part of the Learning Lab series, sponsored by FOMACS and the British Council in Ireland. The Director of FOMACS, Aine O’Brien, is also a member of the CCSR Advisory Board. Video of the interview can be viewed here.
On 25 September, 2010 CCSR committee member Tim Lawrence will deliver a keynote, ‘Experimental, Pluralism, Minor Deviations and Radical Change’ at Coventry University’s Symposium on Experimental Music.
CCSR co-director Professor Maggie Humm has been invited to speak at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2010 on August 22nd in Peppers Theatre. The talk is about her recently published The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts, EUP that was launched on May 20th, 2010 at a very successful seminar and wine reception hosted by CCSR and University of Notre Dame London Centre.
Our second annual lecture, on 16th June, 2010 featured Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at City University of New York and CUNY Graduate Center and author of All That is Solid Melts Into Air, Adventures in Marxism, The Politics of Authenticity and, most recently, On The Town (all published by Verso).
Professor Berman’s speech, ‘Urban Ruins: City Life with Urbicide’, explained the phenomena of ‘urbicide’ – the distinct form of violence against the built environment. Full report here
On 3rd July, 2010, CCSR committee member Debra Benita Shaw spoke at the University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies conference The Emergence of the Posthuman Subject. She delivered a paper entitled ‘Posthuman Remains: Contemporary Biopolitics and the Consumption of Undeath’ which interrogated the fascination with life extension techniques and how they can be understood in terms of the way that neoliberalism constructs contemporary subjectivities.
CCSR committee member Debra Benita Shaw and Sarah Baker, a former doctoral candidate at UEL, attached to CCSR, who was recently awarded her PhD, presented papers at the 8th Crossroads in Cultural Studies conference at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, June 17th – 21st, 2010. Sarah’s paper, called ‘Retro Homes and the Value of ‘Authentic’ Iconicity’ discussed the results of ethnographic research among ‘retro’ enthusiasts in the UK. Debra’s paper, ‘Investment Strategies in the Genomic Domain: The Life Cycle of homo oeconomicus’ presented the results of ongoing research into the connection between evolutionary psychology and contemporary neo-liberalism.
Started in 1996 in Tampere, Finland, the Crossroads Conferences were to fill what was felt to be a gap in the international cultural studies community. Since then it had become one of the most important international conferences in cultural studies where scholars from all five continents get together to exchange their scholarly insights as well as to get in touch with different cultures. Organized by the Association for Cultural Studies (ACS), Crossroads conference is now held every two years in different parts of the world: Birmingham in UK, Illinois in US, Istanbul in Turkey and Kingston in Jamaica. This was the first time it had been held in East Asia
Our first public lecture, held on June 10th, 2009 featured the renowned postcolonial theorist and cultural critic Homi K. Bhabha, Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities at University College London. Video excerpts from Professor Bhaba’s lecture, ‘Time, Agency & The Banality of Evil’ will be available on this site in the near future.
CCSR committee member Tim Lawrence read from and spoke about his new biography of Arthur Russell, Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92, on 3 June at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Organised by the Modern Institute, the event began with a screening of Wild Combination and was followed by music from invited DJs. Tim also presented a keynote paper (on Arthur Russell and queer musicianship) at the Sounds Queer conference, King’s College London, on 4 June.
The Politics of Consumption, a seminar organised by CCSR and held at UEL on May 18th, 2010 was an event intended to bring together experts and early-career researchers from both within and beyond the academy in order to discuss political and ethical issues around changing patterns of consumption in the 21st century economy.
The event featured a number of leading academics in the field – including anthropologist Daniel Miller from UCL, political philosopher Kate Soper from London Met and cultural historian Mica Nava from UEL – as well as the prominent Member of Parliament, Jon Cruddas, and Neal Lawson, the chair of Compass, a prominent organisation which has taken a leading role in social and political campaigns against, for example, ‘the commercialisation of childhood’.
The day was well-attended with over 100 attendees from across the UK as well as a number from overseas, and produced a very lively and engaged debate between proponents of a number of theoretical and political perspectives on the role of consumption and ‘consumerism’.