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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Culture

REVIEWS IN CULTURAL THEORY

Dear friends and colleagues

We are pleased to announce the launch of Reviews in Cultural Theory, a new journal that will be publishing reviews and review essays every two weeks at http://www.reviewsinculture.com Our website will also maintain an announcements section that will be updated weekly with new CFPs, job postings, and other relevant news from the field. The journal emerges from our sense that the rapid growth of work in cultural theory over the past decade demands new forums for tracking the development of this field. Focusing on the distribution of short and timely reviews contributed by scholars working in a wide array of fields, Reviews in Cultural Theory was conceived as a way of responding to the dynamism and pace of the contemporary theorization of culture.

Published online bi-weekly and collected into issues twice yearly, Reviews in Cultural Theory hopes to foreground new work in this field as well as the emergent community of scholars who share an interest in the complex and changing problems of culture today. Reviews to be published in the journal’s first year chart the contemporary shape of cultural theory, touching on Visual Culture, Gender Studies, Geography, Queer Theory, Marxism, Postcolonial Studies, Cultural History, and Sound Studies, among other fields and subjects, established and emerging.

We invite you to take a moment and flip through our first handful of reviews. Please subscribe to our RSS feed, or check back in the coming months for updated news, announcements, and upcoming reviews of Susan Buck-Morss’ Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History, Jody Berland’s North of Empire: Essays on the Cultural Technologies of Space, Enrique Dussel’s Twenty Theses on Politics, Michael Fried’s Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, and Cary Wolfe’s What is Posthumanism?, among others. We welcome you to contact us if you have recent work you are interested in reviewing or having reviewed.

The editors: Sarah Blacker and Justin Sully

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Situationism

THE SITUATIONISTS AND THE CITY

NEW TITLE:  The Situationists and the City

Edited and Translated by TOM MCDONOUGH

Published 15th February 2010

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“An extraordinary banquet for the subversive imagination served by the master chefs of Situationism.” – Mike Davis

“A brilliant array of reports, manifestoes, stories, and scenarios concerning architecture and urbanism, this expertly edited volume might serve as a guide in our contemporary confrontation with an urban environment once again rolled by capital.” – Hal Foster

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The Situationist International were one of the most important radical groups to have emerged in the rush of twentieth century avant-garde projects after the first world war. Led by the Hegelian philosopher, anarcho-Leninist revolutionary, avant-garde film maker, romantic, alcoholic, theorist of the ‘society of the spectacle’ and original psychogeographer Guy Debord they caused havoc in art galleries, cinemas and, most importantly, on the streets of Paris in May 1968.

The work of the Situationist International on the city has reverberated through contemporary culture. The Situationists invented the concept of psychogeography, the idea that we are drawn to or repelled from particular areas by a unique combination of emotional and historical ambiences – they saw the city as alive and the tumult of its history bleeding through its architecture and through the very planning of the streets. They also saw the city as a place of revolution and imagined that society could be changed if the urban framework was transformed.

Most of their pieces were first published in their journal INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONISTE (the style of which is replicated by the book cover). Now, for the first time, the key work of the Situationists on the city, and of key early allies such as theorist Henri Lefebvre and architect Constant, has been collected into one illustrated volume.

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Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Modern Architecture and Urbanism in the Art History Department at Binghamton University. He is the editor of GUY DEBORD AND THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL and the author of THE BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF MY CENTURY.

He is also an editor of GREY ROOM, a journal which brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics to forge a cross-disciplinary discourse uniquely relevant to contemporary concerns.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 364 3  $26.95 / £14.99 / $29.95 / Paperback / 244 pages

ISBN: 978 1 84467 332 2 $110.00 / £65.00 / $121.00 / Hardback / 244 pages

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For more information visit:
http://www.versobooks.com/books/klm/m-titles/mcdonough_tom_situationists_and_the_city.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673643/The-Situationists-and-the-City

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806432&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:
http://www.amazon.com/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806439&sr=8-1

UPDATE 19th June 2010:

Tom McDonough and Owen Hatherley discussing Situationists in the City at the ICA on Wednesday 16th June:

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Global Crisis

IIPPE FINANCIALIZATION WORKING PAPERS

The IIPPE Financialization Group is pleased to announce its Working Paper Series on political economy and heterodox research in finance. This working paper series aims at offering PHD students and young researchers the possibility to have their papers reviewed by two academics who are working in their field of research. Submission of work on all aspects of heterodoxy and finance is encouraged, with a special but not exclusive focus on developing and emerging countries.

Upon submission, the paper will be assessed by two referees, one senior and one junior academic, according to the topic of research at hand. If the paper is accepted, it will be – after necessary revisions – published as IIPPE Financialization Working Paper Series. This process should give young researchers the chance to get feedback on their work in addition to their supervisor’s and make their work available to a broader audience.

Confirmed senior academics currently include Ben Fine, Victoria Chick, Tom Marois, Alfredo Saad Filho, Jan Toporowski, Alessandro Vercelli etc….  This broad range of people should allow an efficient matching of the paper and the expertise of the selected referee.

If you are interested in submitting your paper, please send to ak82@soas.ac.uk and jm60@soas.ac.uk

Existing IIPPE Financialization Working Papers include papers on the political economy of central banks in emerging markets, the problem of currency substitution and a critical analysis of the transformation of the Turkish financial sector. A complete list can be found under: http://www.iippe.org/wiki/Financialisation_Working_Group

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Nancy Fraser

LUC BOLTANSKI AND NANCY FRASER

As part of the Capitalism, Culture and Critique series, the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths, University of London invites you to a debate and open conversation with Luc Boltanski (l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris), co-author of ‘The New Spirit of Capitalism’ (Verso 2005), and author of ‘Distant Suffering’ (Cambridge 1999), and Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research, New York), whose most recent work is ‘Scales of Justice’ (Columbia 2009).

The event will take place on Thursday April 29th in RHB309 5-7, Goldsmiths, University of London and it will be followed by a drinks reception in the Senior Common room.

All are welcome so please feel free to circulate this information.

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THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM: DAVID HARVEY AT THE ICA

Professor David Harvey speaks on:

The Crisis of Capitalism
28 April 2010

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH

Details: http://www.ica.org.uk/24253/Talks/The-Crisis-of-Capitalism.html

£12 / £11 Concessions / £10 ICA Members

David Harvey, distinguished professor of anthropology at the City University of New York and author of The Enigma of Capital, considers how financial crises can best be contained within the constraints of capitalism, and makes the case for a social order that would allow us to live within a system that really is responsible, just and humane. Harvey argues that the essence of capitalism is its amorality and lawlessness and to talk of a regulated, ethical capitalism is to make a fundamental error.

David Harvey

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David Harvey

THE ENIGMA OF CAPITAL: DAVID HARVEY

David Harvey speaks on: The Enigma of Capital

Department of Geography Public Lecture
Date: Monday 26 April 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue:  London School of Economics, Old Theatre, Old Building

Speaker: Professor David Harvey

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2010/20100426t1830vOT.aspx
For three centuries the capitalist system has shaped western society and conditioned the lives of its people. Capitalism is cyclical – and increasingly bankrupt. Boom-and-bust is its model. Laying bare the follies of the international financial system, eminent academic David Harvey looks at the nature of capitalism and why it’s time to call a halt to its unbridled excesses.

Professor Harvey examines the vast flows of money that surge round the world in daily volumes well in excess of the sum of all its economies. He looks at the cycles of boom and bust in the world’s housing and stock markets and shows that periodic episodes of meltdown are not only inevitable in the capitalist system but essential to its survival.

The essence of capitalism is its amorality and lawlessness and to talk of a regulated, ethical capitalism is to make a fundamental error. The Enigma of Capital considers how crises of the current sort can best be contained within the constraints of capitalism, and makes the case for a social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane.

David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate School and former Professor of Geography at Johns Hopkins and Oxford Universities. The author of numerous books, he was awarded the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1995 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007. He is the world’s most cited academic geographer and his course on Marx’s Capital has been downloaded by well over 250,000 people since mid-2008: http://davidharvey.org/

This event celebrates Professor Harvey’s new book The Enigma of Capital.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

Media queries: please contact the Press Office if you would like to reserve a press seat or have a media query about this event, email pressoffice@lse.ac.uk

Podcasts
We aim to make all LSE events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available 1-2 working days after the event.

Twitter
You can get immediate notification on the availability of an event podcast by following LSE public lectures and events on Twitter, which will also inform you about the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates.

If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, please refer to Coming to an event at LSE on the LSE website.

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Karl Marx

CRISIS AND CRITIQUE: HISTORICAL MATERIALISM ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2010

Central London, Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th November*

Call for Papers

Submission and Abstract Deadline: 1 June 2010

Notwithstanding repeated invocations of the ‘green shoots of recovery’, the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008 continue to be felt around the world. While some central tenets of the neoliberal project have been called into question, bank bailouts, cuts to public services and attacks on working people’s lives demonstrate that the ruling order remains capable of imposing its agenda. Many significant Marxist analyses have already been produced of the origins, forms and prospects of the crisis, and we look forward to furthering these debates at HM London 2010. We also aim to encourage dialogue between the critique of political economy and other modes of criticism – ideological, political, aesthetic, philosophical – central to the Marxist tradition.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht projected a journal to be called ‘Crisis and Critique’. In very different times, but in a similar spirit, HM London 2010 aims to serve as a forum for dialogue, interaction and debate between different strands of critical-Marxist theory. Whether their focus is the study of the capitalist mode of production’s theoretical and practical foundations, the unmasking of its ideological forms of legitimation or its political negation, we are convinced that a renewed and politically effective Marxism will need to rely on all the resources of critique in the years ahead. Crises produce periods of ideological and political uncertainty. They are moments that put into question established cognitive and disciplinary compartmentalisations, and require a recomposition at the level of both theory and practice. HM London 2010 hopes to contribute to a broader dialogue on the Left aimed at such a recomposition, one of whose prerequisites remains the young Marx’s call for the ‘ruthless criticism of all that exists’.

We are seeking papers that respond to the current crisis from a range of Marxist perspectives, but also submissions that try to think about crisis and critique in their widest ramifications. HM will also consider proposals on themes and topics of interest to critical-Marxist theory not directly linked to the call for papers (we particularly welcome contributions on non-Western Marxism and on empirical enquiries employing Marxist methods).

While Historical Materialism is happy to receive proposals for panels, the editorial board reserves the right to change the composition of panels or to reject individual papers from panel proposals. We also expect all participants to attend the whole conference and not simply make ‘cameo’ appearances. We cannot accommodate special requests for specific slots or days, except in highly exceptional circumstances.

*Please note that, in order to allow for expected demand, this year the conference will be three and a half days’ long, starting on the Thursday afternoon.

Please submit a title and abstract of between 200 and 300 words by registering at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/conferences/annual7/submit by 1 June 2010

Possible themes include:
        •       Crisis and left recomposition
        •       Critique and crisis in the global south
        •       Anti-racist critique
        •       Marxist and non-Marxist theories of crisis
        •       Capitalist and anti-capitalist uses of the crisis
        •       Global dimensions of the crisis
        •       Comparative and historical accounts of capitalist crisis
        •       Ecological and economic crisis
        •       Critical theory today
        •       Finance and the crisis
        •       Neoliberalism and legitimation crisis
        •       Negation and negativity
        •       Feminism and critique
        •       Political imaginaries of crisis and catastrophe
        •       The critique of everyday life (Lefebvre, the situationists etc.)
        •       The idea of critique in Marx, his predecessors and contemporaries
        •       Art criticism, political critique and the critique of political economy
        •       Geography and crisis, geography and the critique of political economy
        •       Right-wing movements and crisis
        •       Critiques of the concept of crisis
        •       New forms of critique in the social and human sciences
        •       Aesthetic critique
        •       Marxist literary and cultural criticism
        •       Reports on recent evolution of former USSR countries and China

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KING’S COLLEGE LONDON, TUESDAY 30 MARCH: CELEBRATE RESISTANCE TO EDUCATION CUTS!

Tuesday 30 March will see the first ever local strike against management by UCU members at King’s College London. We have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action against a £27m cuts programme that has put 205 jobs at risk of redundancy, with more to follow. 

* Whole departments are set to close – Engineering, Dental Mictobiology, American Studies, Equality and Diversity – with other areas also under threat – Palaeography, Logic, Linguistics, the Institute of Psychiatry, Biomedical and Health Sciences.

* All this in a College where 202 staff earn over £100k a year, with a combined salary bill of £29m, and where a £100k salary cap would save £9m a year.

* Management have by-passed the proper channels of consultation to impose redundancies. Most staff learned that the country’s oldest Engineering department was to close via the College’s website, before any formal consultation had taken place.

All this helps explain why King’s staff returned the highest proportion of votes in our union’s history (85%) for some form of industrial action. But this fight is not about King’s alone. If our management’s redundancies are not stopped, it will give confidence to every management team in higher, further and adult education, who believe that the top-down management model in place at King’s can impose cuts on everyone, everywhere. More seriously, it will convince any future government that education is a soft target as they try to recoup the billions spent on the banking sector.
 
Speaking at King’s four days before the strike Tony Benn told students and staff that, ‘What you’re doing is educating College management in the importance of education.’ At a time when Peter Mandelson is attempting to prevent young people from going to university, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is contemplating cuts that will be ‘worse than Thatcher’, we also need to educate the present government, and its successor, about the importance of education. So our fight is also your fight.
 
We are calling on everyone to join us on our picket lines (7am to 5pm) on Tuesday 30 March. We want our strike to be a lively celebration of resistance to cuts and a demonstration of our resolve to defend our colleagues’ jobs and our students’ education.
 
Join our rallies on Tuesday, open to everyone:
 
Tues 30 March 1pm KCL Strand and Waterloo site entrances
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/about/campuses/strand.html
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/about/campuses/waterloo.html

Tues 30 March 6pm London School of Economics, U8, Tower One, Ground Floor http://www2.lse.ac.uk/mapsAndDirections/findingYourWayAroundLSE.aspx
 
Please send donations and messages of support to: ucu@kcl.ac.uk
 
For more information on our dispute see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ucu
 
In solidarity,
 
Jim Wolfreys, President KCL UCU 

Justine Stephens, Head of Campaigns, UCU, Carlow Street, London, NW1 7LH

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SOLIDARITY WITH THE KCL STRIKE

Lecturers at King’s College London have voted to take strike action this Tuesday – in a ballot that broke the record set at Sussex two weeks ago, which in turn had broken the record set last month in Leeds.  There is a report from the KCL dispute on the Guardian website.  It ends by asking readers “If jobs must go, how should it be done?” – but recent battles at Leeds and Kent put us in a good position to respond: No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!

Now that King’s is in the eye of the storm, solidarity from across the sector is crucial.  Nearly 1000 staff and students came together to march on London this Saturday against education cuts, and now we need to throw that same unity behind the KCL dispute.  Use the attached collection sheet to get donations in your college or workplace, and send photos of yourself holding up the placard to educationactivist@googlemail.com

Click here to download placard

Click here to download collection sheet

Other reports

This Saturday up to 1000 students and education workers demonstrated against the cuts http://wp.me/sPFyW-128

A united staff and student campaign has defeated compulsory redundancies in Uni of Kent http://wp.me/pPFyW-1T

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Work, work, work

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION AND WORK – UPDATE 27th MARCH 2010

NEWS & VIEWS

2010 FEDERAL BUDGET QUIZ – CANADIAN CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES

How much do you know about the 2010 Federal Budget and the state of Canada’s finances? Take this quiz written by the CCPA’s Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan and Alternative Federal Budget Coordinator David Macdonald: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/multimedia/test-quiz

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FAST-TRACKING CANADA-COLOMBIA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT A BETRAYAL OF COMMITMENTS – CANADIAN LABOUR CONGRESS

The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement appears to be moving toward reality in this session of Parliament unless Canadians speak out loudly and contact their Member of Parliament.

Read more: http://bit.ly/c0SHpM

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DRIVING THE POOR DEEPER INTO POVERTY – THE BULLET

Social assistance rates in Ontario today have a spending power that is a full 55% below what it was in the early 1990s. A single person on Ontario Works (OW) would need to get an increase of $300 a month to be back at 1993 levels…Food bank use is setting new records and far more people are experiencing economic evictions than during the days of Mike Harris. For the poor, the Common Sense Revolution of Harris has not ended or simply been consolidated. Dalton McGuinty has intensified it.

Read more: http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/329.php

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WHY UNIONS STILL MATTER – MONTHLY REVIEW

Michael D. Yates is Associate Editor of Monthly Review. His many publications include Cheap Motels and a Hotplate: An Economist’s Travelogue (2007), Naming the System: Inequality and Work in the Global Economy (2003), and Why Unions Matter (2009), all published by Monthly Review Press.

Read more: http://www.monthlyreview.org/090209yates.php

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WHAT PROGRESSIVES MUST LEARN FROM THE ACORN DEBACLE – COLORLINES

If we do our work well, we should expect similar attacks and know that long track records won’t protect us.

Read more: http://www.colorlines.com/article.php?ID=698&p=1

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SLAUGHTERHOUSE ’10: THE GUTTING OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT – THE HUFFINGTON POST

If we could just get over our blinding hatred of unions and public sector workers, we might see that we do in fact have the money we need to rebuild our infrastructure and create a new green economy.

Read more: http://huff.to/9s9wwm

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BUDGET WILL HIT LOW-WAGE WOMEN HARD – OPSEU

TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ – Plans by the McGuinty government to freeze public-sector wages in Ontario will hit women workers the most, including many who already work in low-paid jobs, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.

“The large majority of workers in the public sector are women, and scores of thousands of them work in service jobs at the low-end of the wage spectrum,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan unveiled his 2010-11 Ontario budget.

Read more: http://bit.ly/bdCapF

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SOCIAL PLANNING TORONTO, RESEARCH & POLICY FORUM – AUDIO CLIPS

Social Planning Toronto’s March 2009 Research & Policy Forum focused on issues relating to immigrant homeless and health & labour market outcomes for immigrants. Presenters include Dr. Stephen Hwang from St. Michael’s Hospital/ University of Toronto who presented findings from the report entitled “The Health of Homeless Immigrants” & Dr. John Shields from Ryerson University who presented findings from the latest publications released by the Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative (TIEDI).

Listen to the clips here: http://bit.ly/aQHLLN

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CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH (CEPR): UNIONIZATION SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVES THE PAY AND BENEFITS OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS

A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for immigrant workers in unions relative to their non-union counterparts.

The report, “Unions and Upward Mobility for Immigrant Workers,” found that unionized immigrant workers earned, on average, 17 percent more than their non-union peers. In addition, immigrant workers in unions were much more likely to have health insurance benefits and a pension plan.

Read more: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/03/25

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CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – ENHANCING LEARNING EXPERIENCES IN HIGHER EDUCATION: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

December 2-3, 2010
Hong Kong

As an inaugural conference on teaching and learning in higher education hosted by the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, HKU, the theme of the conference as suggested by its title is “Enhancing Learning Experiences in Higher Education”.  Submission of abstracts is invited which should embrace the conference theme and sub-themes of the following –

1. Transition and the first year experience
2. Literacy across the curriculum
3. Experiential learning and co-curricular
4. Outcomes-based approaches to student learning (OBASL)
5. Assessment and feedback
6. Diversity and multicultural experience
7. Enhancing learning through technology
8. Learning communities
9. Continuing education and professional development
10. Problem based learning (PBL)
11. Postgraduate student experiences
12. Generic skills in higher education

The deadline for abstract submission is on 31 May 2010.

For more information, visit: http://www.cetl.hku.hk/conference2010/

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MOVE TO CORPORATE UTILITY WOULD HURT PUBLIC INTEREST – PARKLAND INSTITUTE

The City of Winnipeg is currently poised to move forward with a plan which would severely hurt the interests of Winnipeggers, and potentially those of people in other communities, for the sake of making their bottom line look a little better.

Read more: http://bit.ly/9cx8bL

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OUR MANDATE:

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit: http://www.csew.ca

***END***

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Counterfire

COUNTERFIRE

I have just come across the new Counterfire web site.

There’s some great articles on the BA strike, NHS cuts, Gaza, Lady Gaga and much more interesting stuff!

Counterfire: http://www.counterfire.org/

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Mediation

MARXISM AND LITERATURE

The editorial collective of Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group, is pleased to announce issue 24.2, a special issue that revisits the relationship between Marxism and literature. Mediations is published twice yearly. The Fall issues are dossiers of non-U.S. material of interest; the Spring issues are open submission and peer reviewed.

Mediations has circulated in various forms and formats since the early 1970s, and is now available free on the web. Both a web edition and a print edition, downloadable in pdf form, can be accessed at: http://mediationsjournal.org. Featured authors in the current issue include Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Imre Szeman, Neil Larsen, Mathias Nilges, Nicholas Brown, Aisha Karim, Leerom Medovoi, and Sarah Brouillette.

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Volume 24, No. 2 || Marxism and Literature Revisited

Mathias Nilges and Emilio Sauri, guest editors

CONTENTS

Editors’ Note

The Left and Marxism in Eastern Europe: An Interview with Gáspár Miklós Tamás – Imre Szeman interviews the political philosopher, journalist, and writer, Gáspár Miklós Tamás. Describing his own political move to the Left in relation to local post-Soviet politics in Hungary and global structures of contemporary capitalism, Tamás discusses the dangers of attaching hopes for greater rights and liberties to both free market structures and nostalgic forms of leftism. What answers can Marxism offer in response to the sociopolitical and philosophical pressures of the current conjuncture in which the free market agenda has become structurally and politically untenable? How must we re-think Marxism itself in a context in which solutions to the political impasses of the present can no longer be found in a return to Party politics of the past? How might Marxist political philosophy deal with pressing contradictions such as rising forms of ultranationalism? Addressing these and other questions, Tamás demonstrates how recent political developments in Hungary, and throughout Eastern Europe more generally, provide lessons for the Left throughout the globe.

Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now – Is there such a thing as a Marxist literary criticism? Imre Szeman argues that, despite the fact that Marxism has long privileged literature as an object of analysis and critique, there is no unitary methodology or set of considerations that distinguish a “Marxist” approach to literature from others. Here, Szeman provides a historicization and structural analysis of what he identifies as the three primary modes of Marxist literary criticism. At the same time, this essay also points to a fourth, as yet unnamed, possibility for Marxist literary critique that seeks to sublate the assumed “impasse” created by the limiting choice between “ideological” and “anti-ideological” culture, an impasse that, according to Szeman, bears witness to a profound historical shift.

Literature, Immanent Critique, and the Problem of Standpoint – What might a method for critical theory that advances beyond the tenets of “ideology-critique” look like? For Neil Larsen, the answer lies in Marxism’s own recourse to immanent critique. Yet, with the notable exceptions of Adorno and Lukács, immanent critique has bothered little with the problem of standpoint in relation to cultural, and, in particular, literary objects. Larsen, then, attempts to specify an immanent critical standpoint of literature that allows for the articulation of a dialectical critique that dispenses with what he identifies as the “fallacy of application.” Demonstrating how any literary theory – Marxist and otherwise – is, of necessity, immanent to the text, this essay turns to the question of method as a means of grasping the relationship between the literary text as “subject/object” and the social totality.

Marxism and Form Now – Contemporary literary criticism is everywhere marked by what appears to a revival of foundational questions: what is literature now? How do we argue now? What is form now? Rather than signal a new direction for literary criticism, this now-ness, Mathias Nilges maintains, points to a discipline in the midst of a crisis of futurity. Extending the French Regulation School’s suggestion that the history of capitalism is the history of the struggle between capital and its social regulation, Nilges argues that the current disciplinary crisis is best evaluated in the context of capitalism’s cultural regulation. Dialectically linking the (crisis-driven) movement of structural, epistemological and cultural forms, Nilges maintains that the study of the formal(istic) history of cultural regulation must replace cultural critique based on the assumed possibility of the subsumption of culture under capital, which, in turn, creates the conditions of possibility for an emergent Marxist literary criticism.

One, Two, Many Ends of Literature – What if we looked at the notion of the end of literature as a truism, only lacking in plurality and logical rigor? Nicholas Brown explains that one of these “ends” can be regarded as internal to the functioning of literature itself, and as such, the point of departure for a more complete formulation of a Marxist literary criticism. For Brown, this formulation reveals that both literary criticism and Marxism are to be regarded as what he calls “formal materialisms,” a mode of analysis that must be completed and revised every time in light of an object it cannot posit beforehand. What this means for a Marxist literary-critical project subsequently becomes all the more apparent in Brown’s reading of another end of literature – postmodernism.

Crisis of Representation in Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy – Perhaps one of the more consistent elements of Wole Soyinka’s work has been a commitment to an individual will that refuses collective mobilization. Aisha Karim argues that Soyinka’s novel Season of Anomy marks a departure from any commitment as such, opening his work to new political possibilities. But while Season of Anomy presents us with an alternative to the politics and poetics that underlie Soyinka’s dramatic output, Karim maintains that it does so only insofar as it imagines itself as a “failed text.” What emerges as a crisis of representation within the text consequently allows the reader to recognize herself as the agent of change on the level of the social.

The Biopolitical Unconscious: Toward an Eco-Marxist Literary Theory – If ecocriticism can and should be dialectically assimilated to the project of a Marxist literary and cultural criticism, how do we have to rethink both ecocritical and Marxist literary critical praxis? What can a Marxist ecocriticism lend to interrogations of the relation between literature and ecocriticism´s most undertheorized category: the environment? Leerom Medovoi illustrates that Marxism not only can, but must play a central role in the formulation of an ecocritical 
approach to literature capable of transcending the inability to think beyond thematic criticism and ethical critique.

Creative Labor – Sarah Brouillette suggests that literary studies can help de-naturalize contemporary capitalism by accounting for the rise of the pervasive vocabulary that imagines work as a form of self-exploration, self-expression, and self-realization. She discusses two manifestations of this vocabulary. One is the notion of a “creative class” branded by Richard Florida, management professor and guru consultant to government and industry. The other is the theory of “immaterial labor” assembled within autonomist Marxism. Despite their obvious differences, Brouillette demonstrates that both conceptions are more symptoms than diagnoses of a now dominant tendency to fathom creativity both ahistorically – as the essence of experimentation emanating from an internal natural source – and contradictorily – as newly valuable to capitalism but romantically honorable and free.

BOOK REVIEWS

It’s Dialectical!
Nicholas Brown reviews Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic. To say that Jameson’s most recent contribution to dialectical thought is monumental in scope is perhaps an understatement. What, then, might this reengagement with the dialectic mean both in the context of Jameson´s work and for Marxism today?

A New Direction for Marxism
Jen Hedler Hammond reviews Kevin Floyd´s The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism. Floyd’s book succeeds in producing a dialogue between Judith Butler and Fredric Jameson that will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for both queer and Marxist theory. But what insight does this dialogue provide into the undertheorized position of women in Marxism and Queer Studies alike?

Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group: http://mediationsjournal.org/

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