Seminar Series 2012
Despite All Critique: World Politics and Western Reason Revisited
A seminar by R.B.J. Walker, Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada
Wednesday 6 Feb, 4:00 – 5:30pm, New Aacademic Building 314
Theories of international relations are interesting less for their substantive claims about contemporary politics than for their status as an expression of universalizing claims about the modern world that have been generated from one particular part of the world. As such, they must be understood first of all as an expression of a particular philosophy of history.
Despite many complaints about the hubris expressed in narratives of development and progress, and various attempts to situate theories of international relations as expressions of hegemony, colonialism, or imperialism, such theories have long been notoriously resistant to critique. There are some obvious reasons for this. This talk will explore the less obvious but especially disturbing possibility that theories of international relations are especially susceptible to dogmatic formulation and resistant to prevailing forms of critical analysis because they ultimately express the limits within which an opposition between dogma and critique, in the Kantian sense, remains intelligible.
Rob Walker is Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada, where he teaches in the Graduate Program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought, and Professor of International Relations at PUC-Rio de Janeiro in Brasil. His most recent book is After the Globe, Before the World (2010). He is the long-term Editor of the journal Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, and was the founding Co-Editor with Didier Bigo of the journal International Political.
The multiplication of borders and border struggles in the contemporary world
A seminar conducted by Professor Sandro Mezzadra, University of Bologna
Friday 10 February, 5:00-7:00pm, Richard Hoggart Building 356
Drawing from a book I am currently finishing with Brett Neilson (“Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor”), this presentation will start with a description of the proliferation and heterogenization of borders that characterizes the contemporary world. It will then focus on the consequences of these processes for an understanding of migration and political subjectivity, discussing some of the most important positions in contemporary critical debates. The concept of border struggle will be then introduced against this background, and its importance for a radical politics of the common will be discussed.
Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political theory in at the University of Bologna. He has been research fellow at the Humboldt Universität, Berlin; in the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney; at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris; at the University of Ljubljana; and at Duke University. In the last decade his work has centered on the relations between globalization, migration and citizenship as well as on postcolonial theory and criticism. He is an active participant in discussions within the tradition of Italian autonomist Marxism and (post)operaismo, and is one of the founders of the UniNomade network (http://uninomade.org/)
Islam is Haunting Europe
A seminar by Meyda Yegenogl, Bilgi University, Istanbul
Friday 15 March, 4:00 – 5:30pm, New Academic Bldg 314
This paper examines the different ways in which Islam stands as an enemy to Europe in different historical contexts. The enemy who used to camp outside the borders of Europe has now mutated and incarnated itself in the immigrant Muslim whose claim to be recognized as a naturalized component of the political and social system of Europe plays a central role in the transposition of Islam from being an external enemy into an internal enemy. I suggest that to be able to understand this mutation we need to attend the persistency in the figuration of Islam as an enemy. The historical figuration of Islam as well as the comparative discourse of secularization has played a fundamental role in the constitution of Islam’s externality to Europe.
It is against the backdrop of this history that the European secularist anxiety today, which insists on the separation between the domains of the private and the public can be understood. I suggest that, if Islam’s inability to separate the religious and the political was historically the dominant motif through which Islam was registered as the arch-enemy, the post-secular, post-Enlightenment period registers Islam as an enemy through a gesture I call cultural. This is a process, which registers religion as something more than religion and attests to religion’s becoming cultural. It is no longer the lack of the theological which makes Islam an external enemy, but the excess of its religiosity, which is allegedly expressed in Muslim immigrants’ way of being in the European public.
Meyda Yegenoglu is a professor of Cultural Studies and Social Sciences Institute at Bilgi University, Istanbul-Turkey. She has held visiting appointments at Columbia University, Oberlin College, Rutgers University, New York University, University of Vienna and Oxford University. She is the author of Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism (Cambridge University Press,1998) and Islam, Migrancy and Hospitality in Europe (Palgrave-Macmillan 2012) as well as numerous essays in English and Turkish.
Decolonial Diasporic Aesthetics
A conversation with curator Alanna Lockwood
Tuesday 22 May 2012, 5:30-7:00pm, Richard Hoggart Building Rm 137
Alanna Lockward will be presenting work from the international screening programme BLACK EUROPE BODY POLITCS (Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin, May 2012). Centred on Black European citizenship and recent moving image and performative practices, BE.BOP2012 sought to expose the ways in which citizenship is increasingly linked to contemporary racializing practices and, hence, with the limits of humanity itself.
In this presentation, Alanna will explore some of the issues arising from the time-based ‘positions’ presented at BE.BOP2012, particularly in terms of their efforts to contest racialized fantasies of European citizenship though narratives of re-existence and decolonial aesthetics.
Alanna Lockward is an author, critic and independent curator specialized in time-based undertakings. In 1988, she was appointed Director of International Affairs at Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo. She is the founding director of ArtLabour Archives, a cultural platform and agency responsible for producing situation-specific art events and exhibitions since 1997 in the US, the Caribbean, Europe and the African continent. She is chief editor of VideoArtWorld online magazine and general manager of the Transnational Decolonial Institute.