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Daily Archives: August 26th, 2011

Rosa Luxemburg


Please get your library to order this book!

In the Steps of Rosa Luxemburg
Selected Writings of Paul Levi
Paul Levi. Edited and introduced by David Fernbach

Paul Levi remains one of the most interesting and controversial figures in the early history of the Communist movement. As leader of the KPD after the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, he successfully built up a party of a third of a million members, but by 1921 Comintern pressure for ‘Bolshevisation’ forced Levi’s resignation and expulsion. Until his early death in 1930 he remained ‘a revolutionary socialist of the Rosa Luxemburg school’ (Carl von Ossietsky), and was described by Albert Einstein as ‘one of the wisest, most just and courageous persons I have come across’. The first English edition of Levi’s writings fills a long-standing gap in the documents of German Communism.

Biographical note
David Fernbach, studied at London School of Economics. Freelance writer, editor and translator. Publications include the three-volume edition of Karl Marx’s Political Writings (Penguin 1973-4, reissued Verso 2010), and The Spiral Path: a gay contribution to human survival (1981). Translations include Marx’s Capital Volumes Two and Three, and works by Georg Lukacs, Rudolf Bahro, Boris Groys, Nicos Poulantzas, Pierre Bourdieu, Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière.

People interested in Communist history from either an academic or an activist perspective.

Table of contents


Part One: Leading the KPD
Address to the Founding Congress of the KPD
Letter to Lenin (1919)
The Munich Experience: An Opposing View
The Political Situation and the KPD (October 1919)
The Lessons of the Hungarian Revolution
The World-Situation and the German Revolution
The Beginning of the Crisis in the Communist Party and the International
Letter to Loriot

Part Two: The March Action
Our Path: Against Putschism
What Is the Crime? The March Action or Criticising It?
Letter to Lenin (1921)
The Demands of the Kommunistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft

Part Three: The Soviet Question
Letter to Clara Zetkin
Introduction to Rosa Luxemburg’s pamphlet The Russian Revolution
Introduction to Trotsky, The Lessons of October
The Retreat from Leninism
After Ten Years
Approaching the End

Part Four: The German Republic
The Murder of Erzberger
The Needs of the Hour
Why We Are Joining the United Social-Democratic Party
The Assassination of Rathenau  
The Situation after Rathenau’s Death
The Reich and the Workers
The Defenders of the Republic
After the Oath



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The Lamp Post



6 September, 2011 – 7pm:
London Review Bookshop
14 Bury Place
London WC1A 2JL UK

In what promises to be a thought-provoking evening, Hal Foster will be at the London Review Bookshop to discuss his theories and to present the argument of THE ART-ARCHITECTURE COMPLEX.
For more information:

7 September, 2011 – 7.30pm:
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX

Hal Foster argues that a fusion of art and architecture has come to define a global style in contemporary culture, highlighting the new cult of the ‘starchitect’ across the world. He explores his theory of a new ‘international style’ to mark publication of THE ART-ARCHITECTURE COMPLEX.
For more information:

8 September, 2011 – 7pm:
Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX UK

A BIG IDEAS lecture, in which renowned critic, theorist and art historian Hal Foster gives a lecture on his new book THE ART-ARCHITECTURE COMPLEX, in which he argues that a fusion of architecture and art has become a defining feature of contemporary culture.
For more information:

9 September, 2011 – 1.15pm:
Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall, London

Hal Foster, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and internationally renowned author, will be joining the ICA for this lunch time conversation to discuss his work and the changing shape of culture in the 21st century.
For more information:

9 September, 2011, 6pm:
Bristol Festival of Ideas, Watershed Media Centre
1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside
Bristol BS1 5TX UK

In a talk and Q&A, Hal Foster turns his attention to how art and architecture have informed each other over the past 50 years. He argues that their fusion has become a defining feature of contemporary culture and provides a scathing critique of the post-industrial cultural economy.
For more information:  
Hal Foster, author of the acclaimed DESIGN AND CRIME, argues that a fusion of architecture and art is a defining feature of contemporary culture. While architects such as Zaha Hadid and Herzog and de Meuron draw on art to reanimate design, architecture has inspired fundamental transformations in painting, sculpture and film, which are also explored here. The book includes an extensive conversation with Richard Serra.

At the same time Foster points to a ‘global style’ of architecture, as practiced by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, that is analogous to the ‘international style’ of Le Corbusier, Gropius and Miesa’ global style that, more than any art, conveys the look of modernity today,
both its dreams and its delusions. In this illustrated book, Foster demonstrates that ‘the art-architecture complex’ is a key indicator of broader social and economic trajectories and in urgent need of analysis and debate.

”Foster is spot-on … exactly the kind of book the design world should want” –­ BOOKFORUM

”Elegant and incisive essays” –­ BOSTON REVIEW

”In a polite and even schmoozy art world, Foster stands out for being willing to make barbed comments on design gods” — ­ NATIONAL POST

”Foster makes a lot of sense” — ­ VILLAGE VOICE
HAL FOSTER is Townsend Martin Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. A co-editor of OCTOBER magazine and books, he is the editor of THE ANTI-AESTHETIC, and the author of DESIGN AND CRIME, RECORDING, THE RETURN OF THE REAL, COMPULSIVE BEAUTY and THE
ISBN: 978 1 84467 697 2 / $26.95 / £20 / $33.50CAN / Hardback / 320 pages
For more information about THE ART-ARCHITECTURE COMPLEX or to buy the book visit:
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Smoke Monster


Please get your library to order this title!

Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism
David McNally

Monsters of the Market investigates the rise of capitalism through the prism of the body-panics it arouses. Drawing on folklore, literature and popular culture, the book links tales of monstrosity from early-modern England, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, to a spate of recent vampire- and zombie-fables from sub-Saharan Africa, and it connects these to Marx’s persistent use of monster-metaphors in his descriptions of capitalism. Reading across these tales of the grotesque, Monsters of the Market offers a novel account of the cultural and corporeal economy of a global market-system. The book thus makes original contributions to political economy, cultural theory, commodification-studies and ‘body-theory’.

Biographical note:
David McNally, Ph.D (1983) is Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto. He is the author of five previous books and has published widely on political economy, Marxism, and contemporary social justice movements.

All those interested in Marxism, cultural studies, global political economy, as well as students of literature, folklore and popular culture.

Table of Contents:

1. Dissecting the Labouring Body: Frankenstein, Political Anatomy and the Rise of Capitalism
‘Save my body from the surgeons’
The culture of dissection: anatomy, colonisation and social order
Political anatomy, wage-labour and destruction of the English commons  
Anatomy and the corpse-economy
Monsters of rebellion
Jacobins, Irishmen and Luddites: rebel-monsters in the age of Frankenstein
The rights of monsters: horror and the split society

2. Marx’s Monsters: Vampire-Capital and the Nightmare-World of Late Capitalism
Dialectics and the doubled life of the commodity
The spectre of value and the fetishism of commodities
‘As if by love possessed’: vampire capital and the labouring body
Zombie-labour and the ‘monstrous outrages’ of capital
Money: capitalism’s second nature  
‘Self-birthing’ capital and the alchemy of money
Wild money: the occult economies of late-capitalist globalisation
Enron: case-study in the occult economy of late capitalism
‘Capital comes into the world dripping in blood from every pore’

3. African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
Kinship and accumulation: from the old witchcraft to the new Zombies, vampires, and spectres of capital: the new occult economies of globalising capitalism  
African fetishes and the fetishism of commodities
The living dead: zombie-labourers in the age of globalisation
Vampire-capitalism in Sub-Saharan Africa   
Bewitched accumulation, famished roads, and the endless toilers of the Earth

Conclusion: Ugly Beauty: Monstrous Dreams of Utopia
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Socialist History Society Public Meeting
Empire and Resistance
A special meeting with two leading socialist historians of imperialism, Robin Blackburn and Richard Gott, who will be speaking about their new books

Hosted in co-operation with publisher Verso and supported by the London Socialist Historians Group

7pm, 12th October 2011
Venue: Bishopsgate Institute, Liverpool Street
The event is free.

Richard Gott, former editor and journalist, is the author of numerous books mainly on Latin America, including a history of Cuba and the new Venezuela of Hugo Chavez. His latest book is “Britain’s Empire: Resistance, Repression and Revolt”, which will be published in September.

Robin Blackburn, former editor of New Left Review, and author of a trilogy of books on the history of slavery in the New World, the latest of which is “The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights”, as well as “An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln”.

Stefan Dickers (Chair, SHS):
David Morgan (Secretary, SHS):

Further information on the website:


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Higher Education Identities


SRHE Higher Educational Policy Network

Tuesday 11th October 4-6.30pm, Room T1-20, London Metropolitan University

Higher education identities, cultures and practices: a changing policy context

The higher education sector in the UK is experiencing dramatic change. The financial crisis, a change of government and ongoing developments in the positioning and role of higher education institutions present new challenges for those who work in universities. This seminar will explore the implications of these changes for academic and professional identities, cultures and practices.


Dr Celia Whitchurch, Institute of Education, University of London    

Reconstructing Identities in Higher Education – Expanding the Parameters of Academia

In a context in which academics are increasingly working across multiple constituencies and with internal and external partners, this paper explores the factors that influence individuals to take on such work. It considers the impact on academic identities and career paths and the implications for institutions of more complex roles and relationships.

Dr Jill Jameson, University of Greenwich

Changing Leadership Identities: the Role of Trust and Organisational Cultures in a Recessionary UK Higher Education Policy Context

This paper considers how changing leadership values, trust and organisational cultures impact upon the identities of academic, professional and corporate leaders in HE. It also explores how the academic and intellectual aspects of HE leadership identities can be strengthened and trust rebuilt to fulfil the complex purposes of universities.

Tea and coffee will be available at 4pm and the event will start at 4.15. After each paper there will be time for questions and discussion, followed by an opportunity to discuss issues raised in both papers over a glass of wine or juice.

For further details about the Higher Education Policy Network, please contact the network convenor, Professor Carole Leathwood, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University,

Event booking details

To reserve a place at this seminar please register at or telephone +44 (0) 207 4472525.  SRHE events are open to all and free to SRHE members as part of their membership package. The delegate fee for non-members is £25 [full time students £20]. Non members wishing to join the Society may do so at the time of registration and the delegate fee will be waived. Please note that places must be booked in advance and that a £25 for non-attendance will  be charged if a place has been reserved but no notice of cancellation/non-attendance has been given in advance.

Interested in joining the HEP Network – but not able to attend this event? To receive details of future events in this series and to join the mailing list, please email

Yours sincerely

Francois Smit, Society for Research into Higher Education, 44 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4LL, Tel: +44 20 7447 2525, Fax: +44 20 7447 2526

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Student Experience


SRHE Student Experience Network

Friday 21st October 2011

Registration 11.00am – 11.30am

Seminar 11.30am – 4.30pm

SRHE, London.


What is the student experience?

In light of the changes to Higher Education in the UK and in Europe, this seminar focuses on definition(s) of the ‘student experience’, asking how they are used to frame, discuss and package HE. With input from the NUS and the European Students’ Union, this seminar examines the concept in the discourse on HE and projects its relevance to the future.


The impact of national context on student experience: A comparison of France, Sweden and the UK

Nicolas Charles, University of Bordeaux

Nicolas Charles is a doctoral student in sociology at the Centre Emile Durkheim (University of Bordeaux, France). Focusing on justice in higher education, he compares student experience, HEIs and social representations of HE in France, Sweden and the UK.


In the UK, the ‘student experience’ represents more than a sole research concept; it is a widespread notion among higher education institutions and students. The student experience has however taken a specific meaning in the UK context, far beyond its broad sense of a relation of a student to their studies. Based on a comparison of France, Sweden and the UK, this presentation will draw on a combined analysis of student practices and representations, institutional organisation at particular universities and national policy contexts. If the student experience remains heterogeneous in each country, my material suggests that strong national patterns in higher education which translate into very diverse student experiences. This discussion thus frames a more global picture of the many ways students can relate to their studies, and the specific issues they consequently face.



Student Charters: formalising consumption?

Joanna Williams, University of Kent

Joanna Williams lectures in higher education and academic practice at theUniversity ofKent.  She is interested in the impact of government policies upon education in general and higher education in particular.  Joanna’s PhD used techniques of critical discourse analysis to explore New Labour’s policies for promoting social inclusion within post-compulsory education.  More recently Joanna has been writing about the transformation of students into consumers of HE and the effect this has upon what it means to be a student, attitudes to learning and relationships with lecturers.


The 2011 White Paper ‘Students at the Heart of the System’ states the government’s intention that ‘each institution should have a student charter … to set out the mutual expectations of universities and students’ (p. 33).  There is an assumption behind the call for charters that students are to be considered as vulnerable consumers in need of formalised protection from institutions that may provide a poor service in return for the students’ money.  Through an analysis of the Student Charter Group Final Report (January 2011), other recent higher education policy documents, contracts and charters already in use by institutions, as well as interviews with students, this paper questions whether the student experience is enriched by the use of such agreements.  Is it in the best interests of all students for their University experience to be increasingly contractualised, regulated and uniform?


What’s wrong with ‘the student experience’? The politics of student voice and public information

Duna Sabri, King’s College London

Duna Sabri is Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Policy, King’s College, London and an independent researcher.  Her research interests are in the sociology of higher education, pedagogy, institutional and (inter)national policy relating to HE, and the use of social theory in empirical research.

Since completing her DPhil at the University of Oxford’s Department of Educational Studies in 2007 on the assumptive worlds of academics and policymakers, she has undertaken a range of commissioned institutional research projects on topics such as students’ departure and persistence in HE, assessment practices, and the social and political functions of students’ evaluations of teaching, with a particular focus on the NSS.  Her publications have included the theoretical development of the concept of assumptive worlds, and analyses of the policy discourses that relate to academics and students.


This paper gives an account of the ‘production, accumulation, circulation and functioning’ (Foucault 1994:31) of a discourse that surrounds ‘the student experience’.  Following Fairclough (2003) I explore how ‘the student experience’ has come to prominence in key policy texts.  I attempt to explain how it acquired such salience in the sector as a whole, and what work it does in sustaining and developing the market-oriented disciplining of higher education.  In the UK, but less so elsewhere in Europe, ‘the student experience’ has become a mantra, apparently used to give students ‘a voice’ and at the same time constraining that voice by isolating it from other voices around it, and from the complex environment that enables us meaningfully to interpret those voices. 

The role of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) in structuring ‘the student experience’ is explored. Moving away from questions of statistical reliability and validity, I take SET results as social objects in their own right.  Using the framework of analysis proposed by de Santos (2009) of statistics as fact-totems, I explore the production and consumption of the results of the UK National Student Survey (NSS): the convergence of the public gaze upon them, their articulation with identity narratives, and capacity to provoke drama, anxieties of anticipation and emotion.  The paper draws on a pilot study that demonstrates how the consumption of NSS results through league tables has had the effect of defining ‘problems’, redistributing resources and transforming higher education work in ways that ultimately impoverish the higher education experiences of students.


Panel members

Allan Päll

Chairperson of the European Students’ Union

Allan Päll is a political science student fromEstonia and the Chairperson of the European Students’ Union (ESU) since July 2011, having previously been Vice-Chairperson. He has previously in 2007-09 led social policy and student financing policy and research in the Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL) and has also been closely involved in the EUROSTUDENT project inEstonia. Before being elected Chairperson, he has been coordinating the work of ESU on EU policies and Quality Assurance and has been leading ESU’s project “Quest for Quality for Students” which looks into information provision and aims to build a quality concept from the students’ perspective.

Graeme Wise

Assistant Director (Policy), National Students’ Union

Graeme is responsible for supporting the elected officers in political policy development. He is the author of many of NUS priority campaign publications including ‘Broke and Broken’ and the ‘NUS Blueprint for HE Funding’. He also leads on NUS Widening Participation work and is supporting the National President in the development of work around student charters with Universities UK.


Event booking details

To reserve a place at this seminar please register at or telephone +44 (0) 207 4472525.   SRHE events are open to all and free to SRHE members as part of their membership package. The delegate fee for non-members is £25 [full time students £20]. Non members wishing to join the Society may do so at the time of registration and the delegate fee will be waived. Please note that places must be booked in advance and that a £25 for non attendance will  be charged if a place has been reserved but no notice of cancellation/non attendance has been given in advance.

Interested in joining the Network-but not able to attend this event? To receive details of future events in this series and to join the mailing list, please email


Yours sincerely

Francois Smit, Society for Research into Higher Education, 44 Bedford Row, London WC1R 4LL, tel: +44 20 7447 2525, fax: +44 20 7447 2526



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“Jameson’s [is an] almost impossibly sophisticated variety of Marxist cultural criticism… the best of Jameson’s work has felt mind-blowing in the way of LSD or mushrooms: here before you is the world you’d always known you were living in, but apprehended as if for the first time in the freshness of its beauty and horror” — LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

“One of the great writers of our time, not just one of the most formidably gifted critics and cultural theorists.” — Terry Eagleton
The recent financial crisis, which traumatised the world’s economies, inspired a resurgence of interest in the grandfather of all left-wing critiques, Karl Marx’s DAS KAPITAL (CAPITAL). Many have been returning to or discovering Capital through thinkers such as David Harvey whose video lectures on Capital have been viewed over a million times online. The book itself became a bestseller in several countries in late 2008, after the crash.

The many new readings and interpretations of CAPITAL following the financial crisis had in common a focus on globalisation, and it is in terms of globalisation that CAPITAL reveals its increasingly urgent relevance to modern structures of labour. But as well as being a timeless work of economic analysis, Capital is also an audacious attempt to solve a philosophical and representational problem.

Now, in REPRESENTING CAPITAL, renowned theorist and cultural critic Fredric Jameson looks at Marx’s magnum opus as the attempt to capture and express the concept of global capital – an entity so complex that it is beyond the imaginative grasp of even the financiers who pretend to be its masters.

In the face of this overwhelming complexity, Marx’s ingenious response to this challenge is to create a text that is in constant conceptual motion. As Jameson puts it, “Marx remains as inexhaustible as capital itself…with every adaptation or mutation of the latter his texts and thought resonate in new ways”.

Thus, both capital and CAPITAL are not merely static things to be explained and understood, but fluid and infinitely adaptable processes. Jameson guides the reader through Capital, transforming its dilemmas and contradictions into new points of departure. In doing so he captures the secret of capitalism’s power: it’s endless ability to self-correct to sustain itself.

Capitalism is an infernal mechanism, characterised most dramatically by the waste and damage it leaves behind; and in our time that damage is realised most powerfully in endemic unemployment. In REPRESENTING CAPITAL, Jameson shows that CAPITAL is essentially a book about unemployment, and thus a book for our times.
FREDRIC JAMESON, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University and Director of the Graduate Programme in Literature and the Centre for Critical Theory, was a recipient of the 2008 Holberg International Memorial Prize. His books include POSTMODERNISM, OR, THE CULTURAL LOGIC OF LATE CAPITALISM, A SINGULAR MODERNITY: ESSAYS ON THE ONTOLOGY OF THE PRESENT, THE IDEOLOGIES OF THEORY, ARCHAEOLOGIES OF THE FUTURE: SCIENCE FICTION AND OTHER UTOPIAS and THE HEGEL VARIATIONS all from Verso.
ISBN: 978 1 84467 454 1 / $24.95 / £14.99 / $31.00 CAN / Hardback / 168 pages
For more information about REPRESENTING CAPITAL or to buy the book visit:
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