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Daily Archives: March 31st, 2009

UEL Political Closure during G20

 

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 31st 2009, 3.00pm.

 

G20 SUMMIT: PUBLIC OUTRAGE AS UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON CLOSES CAMPUS TO EDUCATION AND DEMOCRACY

 

The G20 Alternative Summit must go on! Classes and lectures must go on!

  • In only a few hours a petition to Keep UEL Open receives over 1400 signatories from across the world, including well-know academics and writers, e.g. Naomi Klein.
  • University is a crucial centre of democracy. Democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis.

 

London – Following the decision of the University of East London’s Corporate Management Team to close down the entire university on Wednesday, April 1st and Thursday, April 2nd, staff and students have launched a petition to keep the university open, arguing that they “would feel ashamed of UEL if this institution […] were to become known as the university that had closed its doors to democratic debate and education in times of crisis such as these.”

 

The University of East London was scheduled to host the G20 Alternative Summit on Wednesday, April 1st, intended as a popular assembly for everyone engaged in current struggles for social justice. Amidst fears over ‘security’ in light of these G20 protest events, management first withdrew its support for the Alternative Summit and subsequently decided to shut down the entire campus for the duration of the G20 summit and protest events, cancelling lectures and classes and shutting the library.

 

In the petition, staff and students are arguing that such ‘security’ considerations are a “classic excuse for every historic attempt to curtail free speech. Instead of seizing the opportunity to become a common space thriving with creative energies, [the University of East London] plans to become an empty shell for two days.”

 

The petition states that,

 

“It is time for the university management to become accountable not only to the government funding bodies, but to the wider public to whom it owes both its livelihood and a duty to fulfil its role as a part of civil society. The past 3 decades have seen public spaces such as universities hollowed out by the state and by corporations, as more and more of our common resources are transformed into sterile commodities, valued only in cash terms. In universities this has led to a policy regime which increasingly sees ‘employability’ in the ‘creative industries’ or in ‘business and finance’ as the only benchmark of success by which a university education can be judged; which sees research separated from teaching; which sees ‘knowledge transfer’ to the commercial sector as the only legitimate destination for the fruits of inquiry.”

 

The signatories to the petition, which include a number of well-known academics from universities across the globe, including writer and activist Naomi Klein, are urging UEL management to “reconsider [their] decisions and take this unique opportunity to open the university as a crucial centre of democracy, since democracy is now the only safe path for the world out of the current multifaceted crisis. We must keep our university open to staff and students, rejecting the claims and ‘risk assessments’ that reproduce fear instead of promoting dialogue. We urge you to take responsibility for enabling the university to act as a truly public space for debate in a time when nobody can doubt that radical new ideas are needed.
 

 

Ends

 

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Sextures

QUERYING SEXUAL CITIZENSHIPS: DIFFERENCE, SOCIAL IMAGINARIES AND EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP 

‘Harbingers of death’, ‘the shame and ruin of humanity’, ‘anti-life’, ‘threat to the survival of the human race’, ‘moral and physical cripples’, and ‘vampires sucking the life blood of the nation’ are only some of the images of radical alterity invoked and regularly rehearsed by major political figures in post-socialist European countries when faced with native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer (LGBTQ) claims to citizenship. Citizenship, understood here as the practicing of social, cultural, political and economic rights, and the active involvement in the organized life of a political community, is still firmly tied in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe to a heteropatriarchal social imaginary in which the nation continues to be metaphorically configured as the exclusive home of the traditional heterosexual family – the purveyor of pure ethnic bloodlines based on rigid asymmetrical power system of gender relations. The conflation of heterosexism with ethnic nationalism that permeates this imaginary also fuels a vicious politics of national belonging where the use of highly inflammatory, offensive and dehumanising language has led to a dramatic increase in violence against members of various sexual minorities, which in turn has resulted in the effective silencing of queer voices in the public sphere and the paradoxical feeling that sexually different people were somehow ‘more free’ under the previous regime.The Amsterdam Treaty, a legal document attempting to define the evolving concept of European citizenship, intends to temper the current trend of hyper-nationalist integration into ‘Europe of nations’ by moving to a vision of Europe of (individual) citizens. The Treaty, particularly Article 13, clearly states that the respect for human rights and the principle of non-discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation forms the basis of 21st century European citizenship. However, many new member-states of the EU and candidate-countries blatantly and proudly flout their human rights obligations derived from their (current or future) accession into the EU and continue to devise a raft of laws and policies denying basic human and citizenship rights to lesbians, gays, transsexuals and queers, including the right to assembly and free expression.

Deep historical distrust in identity based organizations and identity politics, a weak civil society, a fragile rule of law, and the ignorance about, or unpreparedness to use, the legal and political instruments of European citizenship, create a very unique set of challenges for LGBTQ people in post-socialist Europe on their road to freedom and equality. Transnational LGBTQ rights movements arising from the institutional, legal, social, political, economic and intellectual successes of the gay, lesbian and queer movements in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand become increasingly aware that a western model of sexual politics and citizenship based on political and economic (capitalist) liberalism is simply unworkable in post-socialist Europe.

Given this context, SEXTURES invites theoretical, conceptual and empirical essays from scholars of all disciplines (philosophy, women’s studies, gay and lesbian studies, Slavonic/Eastern European/ Balkan studies, cultural studies, sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, history, and comparative literatures) who are working on topics related to gender, sexuality and citizenship in post-socialist Europe.

We are particularly interested in inter- and transdisciplinary essays, critically drawing from feminist, gay and lesbian, transsexual, queer, postcolonial and critical race theories, that examine the concept of (sexual) citizenship in all its complexity; from being a social relationship inflected by intersecting sexual, gender, ethnic, national, class and religious identities; positioning across various cross-cutting social hierarchies; cultural assumptions about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ citizens and ‘humans’ and ‘aliens’; to institutional practices of active discrimination and marginalization, and a sense and politics of belonging to an imagined community like the nation or  ‘united Europe’.

We welcome thoughtful philosophical reflections on the relationship between ideology, utopia and European citizenship with a particular emphasis on the productive function of the social imaginary as understood, for example, by Deleuze and Ricoeur. In this context, we particularly encourage submissions examining the promises and limits of the concepts of ‘flexible’ or ‘nomadic’ citizenship for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, and queers living in post-socialist Europe.

We are also interested in empirically grounded close examinations of actual practices of social belonging (or non-belonging) as lived by ordinary LGBTQ people in a number of everyday social situations at home, school, work, dealing with the state, etc. In this context, we welcome submissions that explore the emotional dynamic, and the cultural politics of emotions, played out in these situations.

While we focus on Central and Eastern Europe, we welcome submissions that cover issues of sexual citizenship in other parts of the world.

Submissions should be no longer than 8000 words. Please consult our guide for contributors when preparing your manuscripts. The guide can be found at http://www.sextures.net/guidelines-for-contributors. Deadline for submission of papers is 2 June 2009.

About the Journal

Sextures is a refereed international, independent, transdisciplinary electronic scholarly journal that aims to provide a forum for open intellectual debate across the arts, humanities and social sciences about all aspects affecting the intricate connections between politics, culture and sexuality primarily, but not exclusively, in the Balkans, Eastern and Central Europe. It is published in English twice a year. Sextures is dedicated to fast turnaround of submitted papers. We expect this special issue to be published in September 2009. More information about the journal can be found on its website: http://www.sexturesnet.

Please direct all inquiries regarding this special issue or send manuscripts to:


Dr Alexander Lambevski

Founding Editor and Publisher

alex@sextures.net, editor@sextures.net

http://www.sextures.net

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski