Archive 2015/16

2 MARCH 2016           Distinguished Speaker Series presents a public lecture by George Steinmetz, 6pm, Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths.

Sociology and Colonialism in the British and French Empires, 1945-1965: the Birth of a Discipline


SteinmetzColonial research represented an important part of the renascent academic discipline of sociology after 1945, especially in Britain and France. Colonies key object, terrain of investigation, and employment site for sociologists, engaging 33-55% of the British and French sociology fields between 1945 and 1965.The article begins by showing that colonial developmentalism created a demand for new forms of social scientific expertise, including sociology. Sociologists became favoured partners of colonial governments, resulting in novel forms of applied sociology focused on urbanization, detribalization, labour migration, industrialization, poverty, and resettlement. The article establishes the existence of networks of colonial sociologists, charts their size and composition, and reconstructs these colonial sociologists’ relations to neighbouring academic disciplines, especially anthropology, and to the metrocentric majority within their own discipline. Colonial sociologists also made a number of theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions that shaped the subsequent discipline in unacknowledged ways and foreshadowed recent work on race relations, transnational and global history, and “southern” and postcolonial theory.

George Steinmetz works on social theory, the history of the social sciences, and on states, colonies, and cities. His main publications are Regulating the Social: The Welfare State and Local Politics in Imperial Germany (1993), State/Culture (1999); The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences (2005), The Devil’s Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa (2007), and Sociology and Empire (2013). He is currently finishing a book about the refounding of British and French sociology after 1945 in the context of empire, with a focus on their colonial research.


5 APRIL 2016           Public Lecture by Pablo Alabarces,

Deptford Town Hall room 109, 2:00 – 3:30pm, Goldsmiths

“Brazil, tell me how it feels”: Football, Popular Music and Narcissism or How to be an Argentine Fan

imageDuring Brazil’s 2014 World Cup finals, Argentine fans popularized a chant that stated “Brazil, tell me how it feels”. The chant became viral, and produced a Brazilian response, “Argentina, me diz que se sente”: both discussed relationship of rivalry by joking at the other’s expenses. These chants were based on a melody from ‘Bad Moon Rising’ released by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1969, possibly before the birth of those who chanted these words in support of their teams.

Pablo Alabarces, professor at the University of Buenos Aires, will be discussing the relationship between popular music and football chants, focusing on the uses of popular music and global pop at the World Cups from 1962 to now. This discussion will also cover the self-presentation of the “local” (national) fans before a globalized media scene and the role of sport icons and heroes in the construction of national epics, with both Maradona and Messi featuring in the most recent examples from the 2014 World Cup.

This discussion will illustrate that contemporary football culture must be described and interpreted in the combination of surfaces and materials, and in the continuous intersection of local texts, fans’ practices and global events. In doing so Dr Alabarces will present analysis of different practices and representations from all the actors involved in the global contemporary football scene: fans, mass culture, media and football heroes.

Pablo Alabarces is professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (where he chaired the Doctorate Programme from 2004 until 2010) and Principal Researcher at the National Council for Scientific Research (CONICET); he has created and coordinated the Popular Cultures Studies Group and the Sport and Society Working Group (CLACSO, 1999-2002). His research in popular cultures (including studies about popular music, youth cultures, and football cultures) is highly regarded in Latin America, where he is considered one of the founders of the sociology of sport. Slected publications: Fútbol y Patria (2002), Hinchadas (2005, editor) Resistencias y mediaciones. Estudios sobre cultura popular (2008, editor), Peronistas, populistas y plebeyos. Crónicas de cultura y política (2011) and Héroes, machos y patriotas. El fútbol entre la violencia y los medios (2014).


8 APRIL 2016           Ana Ferreira Mendes (University of Lisbon)

Room 140 Richard Hoggart Building, 2:00 – 3:30pm, Goldsmiths

Refugees and Exile: Are we in a Hospitable Europe?

Within the current state of the European Union’s governance, of a postcolonial territorial governmentality headed by Frontex, are we in a hospitable Europe? 


The recent migrant crises in the Middle East have turned the condition of homelessness and exile, and the need of hospitality and refuge into prominent topics once more. Building on Benveniste’s study of the Indoeuropean etymology of the term hospitality, Derrida (2000) argues that the Latin hostis, the root word of hospitality, reveals a troubling crossing between host and enemy. Hospitality, for Derrida, carries within itself its own contradiction, insomuch as the original hostis bifurcated into the generous host of hospitality, and the violent enemy of hostility. The concept of hospitality thus embodies its own impossibility, calling to mind images of exclusion, closure, and even violence that recur daily in the debates surrounding the refugee crisis. 

This seminar will offer a comparative reading of discourses of hosting and hospitality about the refugees crossing Europe’s borders now and Portuguese returnees to the ‘motherland’ after African decolonization, four decades ago. During the seminar, Ana Ferreira Mendes will draw on contemporary texts about frustrated expectations of hospitality, such as excerpts from Portuguese literature about the return to the ‘Metropole’ (that is, Portugal) in 1975, as well as from diverse forms of public visual culture such as street art murals, photographs, films, TV series, soap operas, and museum exhibits. 

Ana Ferreira Mendes is Professor of Cultural and Postcolonial Studies at the University of Lisbon, Centre for English Studies.


1 MAY 2016           Public Lecture by Jason R Weidner (El Colegio de Mexico)

Room 352 Richard Hoggart Building, 3:00-4:00pm room 109, Goldsmiths

Imagining a Post Neoliberal Future: the case for education reform in Chile


The Rise to power of the leftist governments of Latin America in the past decade and a half has led many to look to the region for alternatives to the current neoliberal hegemony. Indeed, leaders of Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain claim to have gained valuable insights from the political developments that brought leftist governments to power in Bolivia and Venezuela. However, I argue that it is the student-led movement in Chile that perhaps can yield the most important lessons for anti-systemic struggle. This paper analyzes the political dynamics and recent developments related to struggle for radical social and political change in Chile, centered around but not limited to calls for deep transformations in the educations system, in an effort to draw out some of the general challenges in constructing a post-neoliberal future not only in Chile, but in other contexts as well.

 Jason Weidner is a research professor in the Center for International Studies at the Colegio de Mexico. His book, Globalizing Governmentality: Sites of Neoliberal Assemblage in the Americas will be published this summer as part of the Routledge Intervention Series. Dr. Weidner’s areas of research include international relations theory, global political economy, global governance, regionalism, intellectual property, and branding. A current research project focuses on the sociomaterial conditions of the diffusion of neoliberal governance.


2 JUNE 2016           An Open Public Seminar with Lewis R. Gordon, 1:30- 3:30pm, Deptford Town Hall room 109, Goldsmiths.

“What Fanon Said”

frantz-fanonAntiblack racism avows reason is white while emotion, and thus supposedly unreason, is black. Challenging academic adherence to this notion, Lewis R. Gordon offers a portrait of the revolutionary psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon as an exemplar of “living thought” against forms of reason marked by colonialism and racism.  Gordon takes into account scholars from across the Global South to address controversies around Fanon’s writings on gender and sexuality as well as political violence and the social underclass.

Lewis R. Gordon is Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs and Nelson Mandela Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa. His books include Existentia Africana; Disciplinary Decadence; An Introduction to Africana Philosophy; and, with Jane Anna Gordon, Of Divine Warning: Reading Disaster in the Modern Age.

The event marks the launch in London of Lewis R Gordon recent book: What Fanon Said. A Philosophical Introduction to His Life and Thought published by Hurst.