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The Spirit of Capital

RELIGION AND RADICALISM CONFERENCE

Second Call for Papers

University of Newcastle, 5-6 October 2012

Venue: The Lockup, former police station. We will meet in the prisoners’ exercise yard …

The Lockup Cultural Centre: http://www.thelockup.info/events-functions/

 

Since the ‘religions of the book’ centre on calls to personal and social transformation (Hebrew shuv, Greek metanoia, Arabic tawbah), they have given rise to repeated radical and revolutionary movements. This radicalism continues, even in the context of the privatized and individualist faith of the West, but also in Eastern contexts, such as the Taiping Rebellion in China. The political and legal definition of such an act is ‘treason’: conspiring to overthrow the ‘state’, whether the political state or the states of our social and individual lives.

Theology is also notorious for supporting the status quo (see Romans 13). Thus, theology is caught between political reaction and radicalism: the same theological system – whether Christian, Islamic or Jewish – can foster support of an oppressive status quo and yet undermine that state. Or, one theological system – notably some forms of Islam – may challenge the dominance of another, such as Christianity (see Qur’an 5:51).

This tension between religious reaction and radicalism, which takes place within and between theological traditions, is the focus of a two-day conference at the University of Newcastle, to be held on 5-6 October, 2012. It is part of the ‘Religion in Political Life’ project at the university. We will include speakers who bring new perspectives to this discussion, especially from Asia.

 

Topics include but are not limited to:

1. Permutations of theological treason in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

2. Internal and systemic tensions between religious radicalism and conservatism.

3. Events when religion’s treasonable resources were deployed to overthrow the ‘state’.

4. Theological dimensions of Islamic-Western tension and misunderstanding.

 

The symposium will bring five international experts to Newcastle to present papers at the conference. The speakers are Zhang Shuangli (Fudan University, Shanghai), Geng Youzhuang (Renmin University, Beijing), Chin Kenpa (Chung Yuan Christian University, Zhongli, Taiwan), Ward Blanton (University of Glasgow) and James Crossley (University of Sheffield).

Please send paper proposals to me by 14 August.

There is no registration cost for the conference and food will be included, but you will need to get here and find a bed. Recommended accommodation includes The Grand Hotel, the Novocastrian and the great YHA, right by the beach.

Conference website: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/institute/humanities-research/programmes-of-research/ripl/religion-and-radicalism-conference.html

Originally published in ‘Historical Materialism News’: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/second-call-for-papers-theology-and-treason-conference-newcastle-5-6-october-2012  

 

**END**

 

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Glenn Rikowski’s MySpace Blog: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski/blog

Capitalism IS Crisis

REMEMBERING THE IMPOSSIBLE TOMORROW: ITALIAN POLITICAL THOUGHT AND THE RECENT CRISIS IN CAPITALISM

Call for Papers
Remembering the Impossible Tomorrow: Italian Political Thought and the Recent Crisis in Capitalism
The British Society for Phenomenology 2013 Annual Conference
5th- 7th April, 2013
St Hilda’s College Oxford

During Marx’s time radical thought was formed from a convergence of three sources: German philosophy, English economics, and French politics. In the introduction to Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (1996) Michael Hardt argued that these tides had shifted, with radical movements drawing from French philosophy, US economics, and Italian politics. More recently, Matteo Pasquinelli has argued that ‘Italian theory’ has attained an academic hegemony comparable to that held by French philosophy in the 1980s.

But despite the proliferation of analysis and organizing drawing from and inspired by the history of autonomous politics in Italy, where are these voices today? In 2012, if you listened to the mainstream politicians and economic experts and no-one else, you would hardly know that there was any financial crisis in 2008. You might have a faint recollection that for a brief moment alternative voices were heard in the media, but now it as if nothing at all had happened. The waters that once had parted have now engulfed us again. It is the same voices articulating the same tired ideas as the whole of Europe slides into the nightmare of austerity, despite the fact they do not appear to have any relation to reality, and even those who speak them seem exhausted and worn out.

For some time now, many of us have noticed that there have been different voices, and they began speaking many years before 2008 warning us of an impending disaster. These voices were coming from Italy. Perhaps because of their own experience, the radical Italian thinkers never believed the logic of the market could solve its own problems or that life and capital were one and the same. Our hope is to draw from this history as well as listen to some of the new generation of Italian political thinkers, to share their ideas, offer an alternative diagnosis of the present, and perhaps even a suggestion of what different future might look like.

Confirmed Speakers:
Franco Barchiesi
Franco ‘Bifo’ Beradi
Federico Chicchi
Paolo Do
Silvia Federici
Dario Gentili

Please send an abstract of approx 500 words to Lars Iyer (lars.iyer@newcastle.ac.uk) by 24th September 2012.

The BSP conference does not have parallel sessions. As a consequence, there are only two places available for papers drawn from the Call for Papers.

 

**END**

 

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

‘The Lamb’ by William Blake – set to music by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw3VloKBvZc

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

Global Power

10th ESSEX CONFERENCE IN CRITICAL POLITICAL THEORY

THEORY IN THE FACE OF GLOBAL CHALLENGES: CAPITALISM & ECOLOGY, COMMUNITY & CITIZENSHIP

Call for Papers
Dates: 16-18 June 2010
Location: University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Call for Papers Deadline: 30 April 2010
Website: http://www.essex.ac.uk/idaworld/10th_Essex_Conference_in_Critical_Political_Theory.html
All Inquiries to: polcon@essex.ac.uk

Keynote Speakers
ROMAND Coles is Professor of Community, Culture & Environment at Northern Arizona University.
DIANA Coole is Professor of Political & Social Theory at Birkbeck, University of London.
STEPHEN K. White is James Hart Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Other Confirmed Speakers Include:

JANE Bennett, The Johns Hopkins University (USA)
WILLIAM E. Connolly, The Johns Hopkins University (USA)
ERNESTO Laclau is Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Essex.
FRANCISO Panizza, London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

Organizing Committee at the University of Essex
JASON Glynos, Department of Government, University of Essex
DAVID Howarth, Centre for Theoretical Studies, University of Essex
ALETTA J. Norval, Centre for Theoretical Studies, University of Essex
JONATHAN Dean, Department of Government, University of Essex
KHAIRIL Ahmad, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex
GRAHAM Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex

Methodology Workshops Organizing Committee
GRAHAM Walker, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, University of Essex

The Conference Theme: Theory in the Face of Global Challenges: Capitalism & Ecology, Community & Citizenship

FEW doubt, today, that we face a series of connected global challenges: the dangers of climate change and environmental degradation; a crisis of international finance and global capitalism; an ever-increasing logic of minoritization, which threatens to fragment communities and societies; greater social and economic inequalities, both nationally and globally; the intensification of various forms of religious belief, including fundamentalism, alongside a growing secularization of communities and societies; and a palpable disillusionment with politics and politicians.

THEORISTS and scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences also face new challenges: insistent demands to show the ‘relevance’ of their research for the ‘real world’; diminishing resources and institutional support; a growing marginalization from mainstream and corporately subsidized research. Universities and colleges are being compelled to show that their research has a ‘direct impact’ on the economy, public policy, or society in order to secure funding and research grants.

‘THEORY in the Face of Global Challenges: Capitalism & Ecology, Community & Citizenship’ takes up the challenge of rethinking different aspects of global capitalism, religion, the place of minorities, and the environment. It will also problematize and explore the role of theory in the academy and in relation to the pressing issues we confront.

HOW do we problematize and critically explain these new phenomena? What are the limits and potentials of contemporary political and ethical theory in addressing these new issues? What is the relationship between community, citizenship, and democracy? What kind of ethos needs to be cultivated in the face of these new challenges, and how can it be brought about? Must ecology be sacrificed on the altar of rebuilding the global capitalist system, or is an eco-egalitarian alternative possible? In what ways can various fundamentalisms be challenged and engaged with in the name of a democratic politics that is not itself fundamentalist in character? What is the relationship between cultural theory, radical materialism and various sorts of naturalism? What are the prospects and limits of pluralizing pluralism? Ought we to restrict agency to humans, or does it extend to the material and non-human world more generally? What is the relationship between nature and culture? How can cultural theory respond to recent developments in science? How do these broad sets of issues and questions get addressed in specific contexts and policy arenas? And what theoretical languages and methods are best able to respond to these changes and trends?

THESE are just some of the tasks of critical political theory today. Our invited speakers shall deliver keynote addresses to the conference that will shape the discussions with their distinctive voices and perspectives. Each of the speakers will address one or more of the themes announced in the title.

ROMAND Coles is Professor and Director of the Programme in Community, Culture & Environment at Northern Arizona University. He works at the intersections between radical democratic theory, continental philosophy, and grassroots democratic activism. During his two decades at Duke University he co-founded and co-directed an interdisciplinary project called Dialogical Ethics and Critical Cosmopolitanism, as well as The Third Reconstruction Institute, which cultivated collaborations between scholars and grassroots organizers across the South-Eastern United States. He currently directs the Programme for Community, Culture, and Environment at Northern Arizona University where he writes, teaches and organizes politically on issues pertaining to building grassroots democracy in schools, developing a green economy, crafting public spaces, immigration rights, urban agriculture, and the engaged pedagogy movement in higher education. His writings include: Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics; Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas; Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections Toward the Possibility of Democracy; and (with Stanley Hauerwas) Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations Between a Radical Democrat and a Christian. Romand’s address will explore possibilities for radical democratic transformation toward a green political economy, focusing on vital micro-relational dynamics among humans and the nonhuman that nurture revolutionary enthusiasms, hopeful visions of possibility, and networks of political power necessary for constructing alternatives to ecocidal global capitalism. His discussion will make connections between grassroots community organizing initiatives in which he is involved, theories of mimesis and mirror neurons, and broadening experiments in alternative political economy.

DIANA Coole is Professor of Political and Social Theory at Birkbeck, University of London. Her many books and articles include Women in Political Theory: From Ancient Misogyny to Contemporary Feminism, 2nd Edition (Hemel Hempstead, Harvester-Wheatsheaf & Colorado, Lynne Rienner, 1993); Negativity and Politics: Dionysus and Dialectics from Kant to Poststructuralism (London & New York, Routledge, 2000); Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007); Materialism and Subjectivity (Duke University Press, 2007). Her address will focus on the discursive and ethical framing of question the population question for developed countries. Her concerns thus engage the intersection between capitalism and the environment, whilst raising significant controversies about immigration, community and new forms of citizenship. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of modern political and social theory, and contemporary continental political philosophy, she will also explore the role of theory and theorists in addressing these issues and their policy implications.

STEPHEN K. White is James Hart Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. His books include The Recent Work of Jurgen Habermas (Cambridge University Press, 1988) and Political Theory and Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 1991); Edmund Burke: Modernity, Politics and Aesthetics (Sage, 1994). He has also edited volumes entitled Lifeworld and Politics: Between Modernity and Postmodernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 1989) and the Cambridge Companion to Habermas (Cambridge University Press, 1995). His contribution to the forthcoming conference arises from his most recent book – The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen – where he contends that the global challenges facing Western democracies require a systematic re-examination and re-articulation of the role of citizens and citizenship. His approach does not deny, in the name of tradition, the force of what is new, nor does he imagine that we can adequately confront change by simply rejecting the traditions of modern Western political thought. Instead, he offers an incisive interpretation of our late-modern ethical-political condition and explains how a distinctive “ethos” or spirit of citizenship might constitute part of an exemplary response. This ethos requires reworking basic figures of the modern political imagination, including our conception of the self, citizenship, and democratic politics.

***

THE TENTH CONFERENCE IN CRITICAL POLITICAL THEORY at the University of Essex provides a space to address and engage with these issues. The conference has achieved a renowned reputation for the quality of the papers presented and the large number of international participants. Previous guest speakers have included Bill Connolly, Michael Hardt, Wendy Brown, Judith Squires, Quentin Skinner, Joan Copjec, James Tully, Jane Bennett, Fred Dallmayr, Bonnie Honig, David Owen, David Campbell, Simon Critchley, Ernesto Laclau, and Chantal Mouffe, amongst others. This year the conference will be hosted by the IDAWorld, Centre for Theoretical Studies, and the Department of Government at the University of Essex.

THE conference provides an important opportunity to engage with the contemporary challenges and possibilities of social and political theory and to exchange views on ongoing research. We welcome papers from all scholars, including postdoctoral researchers, postgraduates and early career scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds in the field of social and political theory. But as is customary with the Essex conference, the themes are in part shaped by the thought and writings of our invited guests, and this year is no exception. We are delighted to host Professors Romand Coles, Diana Coole, Ernesto Laclau & Stephen White.

Broad Themes Include
* Rethinking Community and Citizenship
* Critical Political Economy
* Discourse & the Media
* Politics of Immanence and Transcendence
* Ecology and Capitalism
* Politics and Technology
* Latin American Politics
* Universalism and Particularism
* Democracy and Representation
* Capitalism, Multiculturalism, Globalization
* Identity Politics and Mobilization
* Subjectivity and Psychoanalysis
* Religion, Faith and Pluralism
* Discourse and Affect
* Fundamentalisms
* New Ecologies
* Philosophies of Nature
* Discourse, Governance & Public Policy
* Culture and Political Economy
* The Politics of Space, Time and Territoriality
* Reworking Identity/Difference

Proposals for Papers, Panels and Roundtables
The conference organizers welcome proposals for individual papers; full panels (with papers); and roundtables (focused on discussion of a common theme rather than the formal presentation of papers). Paper, panel, and roundtable proposals (short abstracts) should be sent to polcon@essex.ac.uk no later than 30th April, 2010. Inquiries may also be sent to that address. Decisions on proposals will be made on a rolling basis. Inquiries may also be sent to that address. Final papers will be posted on the conference website.
Methodology Workshops

Some of the sessions will be devoted to methodological workshops. The 90-minute workshop sessions feature specialists in different aspects of critical and poststructuralist political analysis. The workshop sessions take the form of a “master-class”, with senior researchers meeting a small number of early career researchers using a particular methodological strategy or technique. The focus will be on questions raised by researchers, and their research will be treated as case studies to generate and engage a set of methodological questions.
The workshops aim at creating a setting where early career researchers can benefit from interaction with experts in their field. The sessions will be facilitated by fellow early career researchers, and the discussants will be established and renowned names in the field of interpretative political analysis, such as Jason Glynos, David Howarth and Aletta Norval. The sessions are fully incorporated into the regular conference program, and the sessions are open to all conference participants.

In order to take part in a workshop session, early career researchers invited to present their work in one of these will be asked to introduce their research project in a 2-3 page summary, pointing to the particular difficulties or methodological questions that arise from their research that they would like to explore in the workshop. Please note it clearly in your inquiry if you wish to be considered for inclusion in a Methodology Workshop. The deadline for inquiries is 30 April 2010. For additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the chair of the Methodology Workshop Advisory Board (polcon@essex.ac.uk) marking your inquiry clearly for attention: Graham Walker.

Conference Fees*
Conference fees for Staff: £140
Conference fees for Early Career Researchers: £80
*Conference fees include coffee/tea, 3 lunch vouchers and the conference dinner (excluding wine) on Thursday night.
Note: Those not wishing to attend the conference dinner may subtract £30 from the conference fee.

Conference Site
The University of Essex is located in the ancient market town of Colchester and near the picturesque village of Wivenhoe in Northeast Essex. It is about 45 minutes from London by rail, 30 minutes from London’s Stansted Airport by cab or about an hour by bus. The conference programme will offer opportunities to enjoy the traditional villages and countryside in this scenic part of England. More information about accommodation, costs, and venue is available on the website.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/cold-hands-quarter-moon/

Foucault: 25 Years On

 

Forthcoming Foucault conference at the University of South Australia on June 25 2009

For more information see: http://www.unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/cps/news.asp

Foucault: 25 Years On
The Centre for Post-Colonial Studies and Globalisation is marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Michel Foucault with a conference to reflect on the influence of his work.

Provocation:

Twenty five years after his death, reflecting on Foucault is an enormous task. His influence permeates disparate and innumerable fields and informs so much of our thinking, along with that of many great theorists who have followed him. Foucault’s influence is one of ramifying and far reaching interdisciplinary complexity, but he draws us together too, providing a common theoretical baseline to diverse disciplinary endeavours. He shows us the connections between things. Just as his life and his work connects up theoretical pursuits as diverse as queer theory and postcolonial studies, so his influence draws together and draws bridges between theorists. In so doing, Foucault’s legacy muddies the theoretical waters, forcing strange synergies and theoretical configurations such as the antifoundational humanist. Growing from the murky ferment of French colonial history, the father of poststructuralism’s story is as complex as that encounter, and his legacy is as mutating, unsettling and transformative. A reflection on Foucault needs to accommodate a consideration of the enormity of the shadow which such a legacy casts over continuing intellectual production.

ABSTRACTS & BIOS

BARRY HINDESS
KEYNOTE: Liberalism and History
Barry Hindess is Professor of Political Science in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU. He has published widely in the areas of social and political theory. His most recent works are Discourses of power: from Hobbes to Foucault, Governing Australia: studies in contemporary rationalities of government (with Mitchell Dean), Corruption and democracy in Australia and Us and them: anti-elitism in Australia (with Marian Sawer). He has published numerous papers on democracy, liberalism and empire, and neo-liberalism.

IAN GOODWIN-SMITH
Foucault: 25 Years On
Twenty five years after his death, reflecting on Foucault is an enormous task. His influence permeates disparate and innumerable fields and informs so much of our thinking, along with that of many great theorists who have followed him. Foucault’s influence is one of ramifying and far reaching interdisciplinary complexity, but he draws us together too, providing a common theoretical baseline to diverse disciplinary endeavours. He shows us the connections between things. Just as his life and his work connects up theoretical pursuits as diverse as queer theory and postcolonial studies, so his influence draws together and draws bridges between theorists. In so doing, Foucault’s legacy muddies the theoretical waters, forcing strange synergies and theoretical configurations such as the antifoundational humanist. Growing from the murky ferment of French colonial history, the father of poststructuralism’s story is as complex as that encounter, and his legacy is as mutating, unsettling and transformative. A reflection on Foucault needs to accommodate a consideration of the enormity of the shadow which such a legacy casts over continuing intellectual production.
Ian Goodwin-Smith is a lecturer in social theory and social policy at the University of South Australia. His research interests orbit around an intersection of postcolonial theory and social policy. He has a particular interest in new theoretical directions for progressive politics with a focus on culture, social identity, subjectivity and social democratic citizenship, as well as an interest in critiques of expertise and professionalism.

BEN GOLDER
Foucault, Anti-Humanism and Human Rights
Responding to recent engagements with Foucault, and in part to the provocation of this conference, this paper argues that in his late work Foucault does not submit to the ‘moral superiority’ of humanism and introduce a liberal humanist subject. Rather, Foucault’s late investigations of subjectivity constitute a continuation and not a radical departure from his earlier positions on the subject. Such a reading helps us to assess Foucault’s late supposed ‘embrace’ of, or return to, human rights, which is here re-interpreted as a critical anti-humanist engagement with human rights, conducted in the name of an unfinished humanity. In this way, the paper engages not only with the way in which mainstream accounts of human rights tend to assimilate anti-foundational and post-structural challenges, but also with the quality of Foucault’s own political legacy and future in the age of human rights, 25 years on.
Ben Golder is a lecturer in the Faculty of Law, UNSW, with an interest in legal theory and post-structuralist philosophy. He has written several articles on Foucault and is, with Professor Peter Fitzpatrick, the author and editor, respectively, of Foucault’s Law (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009) and Foucault and Law (under contract with Ashgate, to come out in 2010).

JIM JOSE
De-radicalising Foucault: Governance Discourse and the Taming of Foucault?
The paper explores the alleged links between contemporary understandings and uses of ‘governance’ and Foucault’s ideas. Scholars working in quite diverse disciplines have asserted, with increasing frequency, their debt to Foucault for the idea of ‘governance’. However, it is doubtful that Foucault ever used the word ‘governance’, or that he would have accepted having his ideas grouped under that term. This paper argues that positing Foucault as an intellectual progenitor of the concept of ‘governance’ conflates two quite different and incompatible discourses. The political effect is to undermine the emancipatory impulse embedded within Foucault’s political philosophy. In effect, this serves to reposition him within a framework that de-radicalises his intellectual legacy and renders him safe for mainstream scholarship.
Jim Jose is Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Newcastle. He is the author of Biopolitics of the Subject: an Introduction to the Ideas of Michel Foucault (1998) and articles on political theory, feminist theory, and Australian politics. His research interests include political theory, governance and post-colonialism.

BRURIA BERGMAN & THOMAS NORDGREN
Disambiguating the Prague Trial
Through his media studies, Michel Foucault has liberated retrenched viewpoints by showing how the assumptions underlying specific systemic structures open those structures to manipulation for purposes of influence, subjugation, punishment and elimination (cf. death). This paper applies Foucault’s methods to the examination of an exhaustively exhumed Czechoslovakian ‘show trial’ of the 1950s, informally termed the ‘Slansky Trial’. Dr. Bergman, one of the co-authors, recently published another paper entitled ‘The Prague Trial – a Pre1967 Verifactory Case in the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism Camouflaged as Anti-Zionism, and Pointers towards Undoing the Camouflage’. Through demonstrating the anti-democratic/anti-Semitic nature of the Slansky Trial, the authors hope to enable long-closed democratic mechanisms to reassert their primacy in contemporary Czech culture and promote the idea that such analyses might be carried to other nodes of injustice as well.
Bruria Bergman received her PhD from the Middle Eastern Department of the University of Melbourne where she redefined Metaphor in terms of Semiotics and Mathematics with examples from Hebrew Literature. Her thesis was examined by Thomas Seobok, Editor of Semiotica. She earlier obtained a major in Modern European history from La Trobe University.
Thomas Nordgren received his Ph.D. from the English Department of the University of Houston, where he specialized in postmodernism and rhetorical analysis. He retired in 2006 as Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric and Contemporary Literature from the Humanities Department at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

DAVID McINERNEY
Oriental Despotism and the Political Monsters of Michel Foucault’s ‘Les Anormaux’
On 29 January 1975 Foucault spoke of two figures of the Despot in revolutionary France, one of them incestuous (the king), the other cannibalistic (the crowd). The figure of the Despot constitutes a norm of political conduct, if we understand the ‘normal’ as constituted in its relation to its spectral, abnormal ‘Others’. In 1959 Foucault’s tutor Louis Althusser had suggested that the ‘Oriental despot’ was a spectre or ‘scarecrow’ (épouvantail) constitutive of Western political thought. Foucault’s lecture, on the other hand, suggests something of a specific mode through which these figures suddenly assumed a material form. This paper extends these theses through an analysis of how James Mill articulated his political theory in The History of British India (1818) around the thesis that ‘the fear of insurrection’ constitutes the necessary impetus for the movement from ‘semi-barbarous’ to ‘civilized’ society.
David McInerney is a Lecturer at the University of South Australia’s School of Communication, International Studies and Languages. He is completing a book on James Mill for publication in 2009, and has been involved in the borderlands project since 1996, including editing a 2005 special issue of borderlands e-journal (Althusser & Us).

KATRINA JAWORSKI
Deliberate Taking: The Author, Agency and Suicide
In the essay ‘What is an Author?’, Michel Foucault contends that ‘the author does not precede the works’. If this is the case, then what happens when the notion of the author as never outside discourse is grafted to suicide? What happens when suicide – most commonly defined as a deliberate taking of one’s life – is read through the idea that the one who is doing the taking does not precede it? Does this not obliterate agency in suicide: the key ingredient necessary to marking the individual as the sole author of their death? I respond to the questions by first considering what Foucault’s contention might offer to understanding the constitution of agency in the act of suicide. I then draw on elements of Judith Butler’s work to consider a way of thinking of suicide, which furthers Foucault’s contribution. I suggest that positioning suicide as already part of discourse does not undermine the individual as the author of death, or makes the act of taking one’s life any less deliberate. I conclude with a comment on Foucault’s position on death being power’s limit, and what this might mean for understanding suicide.
Katrina Jaworski works as a researcher in the Divisions of Health Sciences and Education, Arts and Humanities, University of South Australia. Her research interests include: gender, bodies, death, dying and suicide in particular.

MARTIN HARDIE
From Barthes to Foucault and beyond – Cycling in the Age of Empire
Cycling is a game in flux. It is not the myth or an epic as Roland Barthes wrote. Mont Ventoux is a moonscape, bare, barren and rising out of the lavender plains of Provence. They are no longer heroes of epic proportions but bare life, homo sacer competing for all to see in the desert of the real. The precarity of this existence better depicts the state of the peloton today: free as the birds to soar to the greatest heights Simpson, Pantani, Armstrong et al … the list is endless; but free to be shot down at a whim. Cycling has always been an assemblage and a line of flight – from the factory, the farm, from the peloton itself. Cycling finds itself in the eye of the storm as the processes of globalisation seek to reform it in their own image. On the frontline is the very body of the cyclist – this is the object of control. We need to contextualise the globalisation of professional cycling in the age of Armstrong and the successive doping crisis as events which signify the coming of Empire and the permanent state of exception.
Martin Hardie has managed bands and worked in Aboriginal Art and Craft centres. He has been a solicitor and a barrister. He has also been an advisor to various members of the former East Timorese resistance and government, a university lecturer, a cyclist, cycling journalist and team manager. He now teaches law at the School of Law at Deakin University.

MICHAEL DUTTON
KEYNOTE: 911 and the Afterlives of Colonial Governmentality
Beginning in Hong Kong with the treatment of the SARS virus and moving quickly onto 911 in New York, the paper argues that two quite distinct renditions of power are captured in these two events. One refers back to concerns of population while the other is locked into what Foucault refers to as the ‘Nietzschian-repressive’ hypothesis. Together these two forms re-emerge, somewhat paradoxically in a formation known as ‘colonial governmentality’ (Scott, Prakash, etc). This notion is inspired by the Saidian binary (Europe and its other), but simultaneously recognises the power of Foucault’s focus on the correct distribution of people and things. Joined as a form of governmentality, the lessons of the colonial offer new insights not just into the colonial past but more importantly into our modern world. This form of power further complicates the already detailed work undertaken by many on questions of power, sovereignty and politics.
Professor Michael Dutton is the Research Professor of Political Cultures at the Griffith Asia Institute and Professor of Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London. He was the founding co-editor of the journal Postcolonial Studies and has written extensively in journals such as Public Culture, Social Text and Positions. His books include Policing and Punishment in China (CUP 1992), Streetlife China (CUP 1999), and Policing Chinese Politics: A History (Duke 2005). The last of these books won the American Asian Studies Association Levenson Prize for the best book on contemporary China in 2007. His most recent book is co-authored. Called Beijing Time, it was published by Harvard UP in 2008.

ALEXANDER LAMBEVSKI
Discipline, Resistance and Emotions: Subjectivity and Freedom in the Works of Gay, Lesbian and Queer Followers of Foucault
David Halperin’s brave book What Do Gay Men Want? (2007) is a paradigmatic example of the struggle that so many ‘Foucauldian’ lesbian, gay and queer scholars have had with the various ways in which Foucault’s work tends to efface (emotional) experience, agency/subjectivity, meaning, and (the possibility of) relative freedom from the arbitrary rule of various discourses. The passionate queer scholars’ embrace of Foucault’s refusal to provide a model of subjectivity (for fear of contaminating their analyses with the insidious disciplining and normalising effects of psychology) has resulted in a virtual embargo on any meaningful investigation of queer subjectivities. Using as points of departure Halperin’s book and Foucault’s references in The Use of Pleasure to the importance of emotions to the subject’s surrender to or resistance to disciplinary power, this paper will outline the usefulness of microsociology and interactional ritual theories for building a non-normative, sociological model of queer subjectivity.
Alexander Lambevski is a founding editor and publisher of Sextures, an online international refereed academic journal for sexualities, cultures and politics, and an independent scholar from Sydney. He has published numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters, and currently is working on a book on queer emotions and sexual citizenship.

STEPHEN KERRY

Are You a Boy or a Girl? Foucault and the Intersex Movement
The world’s first intersex organisation, the Turner’s Syndrome Association of Australia, formed in 1983. It is at that time, a year prior to Foucault’s death, we witness the first stirrings which echo Foucault’s articulations. The Intersex Movement coalesced around an articulation of the voice that challenges modern medicine’s power to name and diagnose counter normative bodies. This author is not the first to argue that the Intersex Movement’s call to arms is the literal embodiment of poststructuralism, queer theory and Foucault. The interplay between lived experiences, bio-power and theory has been articulated within the narratives, actions and theorisation of intersex individuals and their peers. In the author’s recent study of Intersex Australians one individual locates Foucault in their life and their re-conceptualisation of sex and gender: Foucault ‘taught me that binary classifications are only one means to order the world’. This paper will explore how the Intersex Movement has reclaimed the subjugated knowledges of their bodies.
Stephen Kerry employs feminist, gender and queer theories to understand and give a voice to those people who live on the margins of sex, gender and sexuality. As a queer identifying Buddhist Trekkie, Stephen has brought theory into practice through 20 years of participation in student and queer activism and volunteering for not-for-profit peer support organisations. Stephen is a lecturer in the Sociology Department at Flinders University.

KATE SEYMOUR

Problematisations: Violence Intervention and the Construction of Expertise
Foucault’s (2007: 141) ‘history of problematizations’ draws attention to the ways in which ‘things’ become ‘problems’. This paper focuses on the dichotomisation and categorisation of violence as, either, ‘serious’/‘abnormal’ (non-gendered) violence or gendered (‘domestic’ violence), reflecting the transformation of some forms of violence into problem violence. Evident here, based on the findings of an exploratory study of the ways in which practitioners who work with male perpetrators of violence construct and understand violence, is the creation of particular realms of intervention, divided along disciplinary lines, each associated with distinct domains of knowledge, authority and expertise. In the process certain behaviours are ‘claimed’ as the ‘territory’ of a professional group. As emphasised by Foucault (2007: 71), ‘for knowledge to function as knowledge it must exercise power’. Expertise thus performs a powerful, exclusionary function, controlling who can speak authoritatively about an issue. It is argued that this partitioning of certain behaviours, as representing particular ‘types’ of problem and particular ‘types’ of people, and the ‘territory’ of some professional groups and not others, reflects the broader context of (gendered) power and disciplinary knowledge and has significant implications for the ways in which male violence is conceptualised, named and addressed.
As a qualified social worker, Kate Seymour has worked extensively in the areas of child protection, public housing, vocational rehabilitation and correctional services (with adult offenders). She commenced her current role, as a lecturer in criminology and justice studies with Charles Sturt University in NSW, in 2004. Kate’s research interest and activity is focused on gender and violence, specifically the relationships between masculinities, power, sexuality and violence.

DEIRDRE TEDMANSON & DINESH WADIWEL
The Governmentality of New Race / Pleasure Wars? Foucault, ‘Neoptolemus’ and the NT Emergency
In the ‘Society Must be Defended’ lectures, Foucault notes that ‘the problem of war’ is linked to the state’s bio-political power to destroy not only political adversaries, but also ‘the enemy race’ (1976: 257). This paper conceptualises the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) as a novel form of racialised combat: a form of neoptolemus or ‘new war’. The paper argues that new configurations of race/pleasure wars reinforce elements of biopower and population management foundationally connected to sovereignty within the Western tradition (Foucault, 1976; Agamben, 1998). The paper suggests that there is a correlation between new governmentalised bureaucratic regimes of race war and the prurient, sexualized and intensely moralizing national public discourse about the NTER. The regimes of legitimation, violence and racialisation that accompany Western sovereignty, also inculcate economies of pleasure connected to sex, sexuality and reproduction that are defined and decided upon through a law of continuing racial domination.
Deirdre Tedmanson is a lecturer at the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia. Deirdre is a core researcher for the Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies and actively involved with its Social Policy Research Group.
Dinesh Wadiwel is an adjunct researcher at the Hawke Research Institute for Sustainable Societies Social Policy Research Group. Dinesh currently heads a national non government peak disability organization.

HELEN McLAREN
The Challenge with Foucauldian-Informed Feminist Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis
This paper discusses the challenges that the author faced when using poststructuralist feminist interpretations of Foucauldian discourse analysis as a research methodology, which emphasised the enmeshment of the researcher’s subjective self in the research. Analysis of the ‘self’ involved the author being stripped of her ‘creative role and analysed as a complex variable function of discourse’ (Foucault 1977, p. 138). In a struggle to deconstruct personal ‘truths’, the author repeatedly questioned her multiple subjective positions and life narratives and continually checked these against feminist concepts within literature, with colleagues and research participants. Sensitivity towards personal ‘truth’, and the author’s power over the interpretation of data, became an object of discourse analysis in its own right. This paper argues that reflexive engagement strengthened the discourse analysis through broadening the author’s own discursively defined views and by exposing how constructions and subjective experiences interacted with research.
Helen McLaren is a lecturer at the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia. Her key research interests have centred on oppression, exclusion, disadvantage, inequity, shame, blame and silencing. Helen has used victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and bad heteronormative relationships as vehicles in which to view these phenomena.

TERRY EYSSENS

Exception? What Exception? Foucault’s State of Convention
The notion of the ‘state of exception’ (i.e. the sovereign decision to suspend some or all of the suite of rights, freedoms and obligations associated with the social contract) understands that such rights and obligations normally exist and function as protections. Giorgio Agamben’s work figures the contract suite’s institutionalised presence in terms of this conceptualisation, and then contemplates a permanent state of exception. However, in Foucault’s work on ‘governmentality’, the contract suite functions as a conceptual veneer in the service of the state’s self-preservation, rather than as protection for citizens. This perspective has implications for the usefulness of the notion of the exception as a way of understanding modern political obligation and authority. It is in this context that anti-foundationalist synergies between Foucault, Hume and others will be considered, particularly with regard to the role of convention in a governmentalist understanding of the relation between citizens and the state.
Terry Eyssens is a Doctoral Researcher and teacher in Philosophy at the University of Ballarat. His research is focussed on the state’s monopoly on politics and political positions in contemporary society, and on questions around the possibility of politics without the state.

JACK ROBERTS
A Genealogy of Public Relations in the Context of War
Foucault’s genealogical critiques of liberalism in the 1970s inspired a whole school of thought which is now known as post-Foucauldian governmentality theory. Recent debates on the ethics of public relations (PR) have centred on problems of ‘truth’ and the ‘public interest’ especially with regard to the Iraq War (2003-). How can this theory be adapted to the important study of the contemporary role of PR in war? Nikolas Rose and Mitchell Dean have proposed that liberal ‘technologies’ of government such as PR can be understood by mapping out historical transformations in liberalism. The history of PR that discussed in this paper may not neatly fit into their schema. Nevertheless, the author argues that by using it to analyse the genealogy of PR and how it has constituted ‘the truth’ and ‘the public’, we can gain a very satisfying understanding of the contemporary role that PR plays in war.
Jack Roberts is currently undertaking PhD research aimed at developing a Foucauldian framework for understanding the role of public relations in war and using a case study of Australia and the War on Terror in 2002-2003.

MATTHEW CHRULEW
Foucault’s Genealogy of Christianity in the Return of Religion
For all Foucault’s influence in the humanities and social sciences, including theology and biblical studies, a number of factors (including decisions on publication and norms of interpretation) have meant that his genealogy of Christianity as confessional and pastoral apparatus has rarely been taken into proper account. For all its flaws and incompleteness, Foucault provides a valuable analysis of Christianity’s unique and shifting regime of subjectification and its persistence and modification in secular modes of governance. Today, religion has once again become a central topic of theoretical debates. Amid widespread discussion of the theologico-political and the legacy of Paul, Christianity is presented as self-deconstructing religion or essential touchstone of radical politics. This paper will provide a number of reasons why Foucault’s fragmented and recursive genealogy of Christianity is still an important resource for this debate.
Matthew Chrulew is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology at Monash University. From July he will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Research in Social Inclusion at Macquarie University. He has published essays on animal studies, Foucault, and biblical studies, as well as a number of short stories.

 

RATNAM ALAGIAH & JANEK RATNATUNGA
Theories About Theories: Accounting Theories After Foucault
Foucault’s works demonstrate how power creates knowledge, how knowledge creates power, and how ‘the human’ is both the object of knowledge and is also subject to knowledge. Applying Foucault’s genealogy, we analyse a series of discourses present within accounting about income. Income is regulated by the institution of social welfare in Australia, leading to the creation of the ‘poor’ who are then categorised, marginalised, excluded and ultimately, controlled. Only as we understand this historical process, of how we have come to be as a society, are we able to liberate human intelligence from its shackles.
Ratnam is a lecturer in accounting at the University of South Australia. He specialises in financial accounting, company accounting, accounting theory and international accounting, and has research interests in the impact of a single global currency on accounting, international accounting and in critical perspectives on accounting.
Professor Ratnatunga joined the School of Commerce at the University of South Australia as Head in February 2009. Previously he was the Chair in Business Accounting at Monash University, a position he held for eighteen years. His research interests are very wide and he has worked in the profession as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG, and has been a consultant to the World Bank on a number of international projects

MATTHEW BALL
Policing the Use of ‘Foucault’: Three Case Studies from Legal Education Scholarship
This paper will outline the first three major research projects that adopt Foucault’s work to understand Australian legal education, and will consider each of these as case studies through which the ‘use’ of Foucault can be investigated. While remaining sensitive to the many potential readings and uses of Foucault’s ‘tool-box’, as well as his problematisation of the author as an organising tool of discourse, this paper will demonstrate that the way researchers unify and understand Foucault as an author, and what they seek to do with their own research, has an important effect on how they use his work. In addition, these particular case studies offer an opportunity to consider the introduction of Foucault’s concepts to a discipline that is notoriously insular and hesitant in its engagement with interdisciplinary thinking, and examine this intersection of theoretical perspectives in numerous ways.
Matthew Ball is an associate lecturer in the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology. His doctoral research used Foucault’s work to understand the production of the legal identity at three Australian law schools. Matthew’s other major research interest is examining violence within male same-sex intimate partnerships.

LEONIE McKEON
Learning to Speak Mandarin and Understanding Chinese Culture is Different not Difficult
Learning Mandarin is considered to be difficult, and acquiring a deep understanding of Chinese culture is thought to be near to impossible. The author has redesigned the conventional way Mandarin is taught so that learners are able to speak Mandarin with confidence very quickly. This method of learning Mandarin helps participants to understand Chinese cultural rules and therefore to be able to behave appropriately in a business context with Chinese people. The author has identified and applied some key points of Michel Foucault’s works that have influenced the theoretical underpinning of her business, Chinese Language and Cultural Advice (CLCA). Foucault’s works on discourse and power and knowledge have enabled the author to develop a teaching methodology which makes Mandarin and Chinese culture easily learnable and therefore accessible.
Leonie McKeon lived in Taiwan where she studied Mandarin, taught English as a second language and edited a series of children’s ESL books. She returned to Australia and studied Anthropology, which included studies of Michel Foucault’s works. In 1998 she won an entrepreneurial scholarship to commence her business Chinese Language and Cultural Advice (CLCA)

STEVEN HODGE
A Foucauldian Strategy for Vocational Education and Training Research
Vocational education and training (VET) is an area of research dominated by positivist approaches. Such approaches complement the behaviourist educational philosophy known as ‘competency-based training’ (CBT) that underpins Australia’s VET system. This paper reflects on a quandary encountered by researchers examining the history of competency-based education at a TAFE institution in South Australia. The issue was how to account for a series of mutations in the way CBT was understood and practiced that subverted the largely unquestioned expectation of progress. The researchers found that Foucault’s ‘genealogical’ approach allowed for the construction of a mode of intelligibility which lends the history a disturbing coherence. At the centre of this construction is an understanding of CBT as a highly permeable system whose configurability supports the reticulation of multiple forms of power. In this discussion some other attempts to introduce Foucault’s ideas into VET research are considered in relation to the main case.
Steven Hodge is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research in Education, Equity and Work at the University of South Australia, where he is researching learning in vocational education. He was a secondary art teacher and also studied philosophy. Steven has worked in the vocational education sector over the last decade, becoming interested in epistemological problems in Australia’s vocational education system along the way.

TONY FLETCHER
The War Against Aboriginal Australia: Foucault, Racism and Social Work Education
In a series of lectures at the College de France 1975-1976 entitled ‘Society Must Be Defended’ Michel Foucault delivers the (dis)position; ‘… sovereignty’s old right—to take life or let live… came to be complemented by … the power to ‘make’ live and ‘let’ die…’(2004:241). Foucault connects this (dis)position with socio-political events to produce his concept that modern societies – though describing their machinations as in a state of peace – are internally at war with those subjects/bodies produced as members of an ‘inferior species’ (Foucault, 2004). This paper discusses the application of a Foucauldian (dis)position regarding this concept of ‘racism’ when connected to the concepts of ‘fields of visibility’, ‘spatial distribution’ and ‘biopower’ with social work students, to explore respectful practice when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Tony Fletcher is a PhD candidate in the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia. His research interests include gendered violence, masculinities, whiteness and finding ways to make connections with poststructural scholarship that support the foregrounding of potential and the loosening of grids of possibility in social work practice.

CHRIS HORSELL
Foucault, Social Policy and Homelessness
Foucault’s work provides fertile ground for an analysis of areas of significant concern to students of social policy through his development of the ideas of discourse, power/knowledge, surveillance and the metaphor of the panopticon and the way populations are constructed as included and excluded. His development of these concepts allows an insight into the development and function of policy not always apparent in traditional social policy analysis. In this paper, the author explores why these concepts are pertinent to understanding how homeless populations are constructed as objects of social policy, particularly with respect to contemporary discourses of inclusion and exclusion. The author argues that the use of these ideas challenges some of the less obvious assumptions permeating current developments in policy and service provision to homeless people, while also enabling an ability to respond more contextually to shifting frameworks of power.
Chris Horsell is currently a PhD candidate at Flinders University’s School of Social Work. His area of study is homelessness and social exclusion in Australia, with a particular emphasis on a critical analysis of the South Australian Social Inclusion Initiative. Chris is currently employed as a Senior Project Officer with the Department of Families and Communities (SA).

PAL AHLUWALIA
KEYNOTE:
The Poststructural and the Post-colonial
Post-colonial theory is many different things to many different people. It serves many different purposes. It is drawn from the unique conditions which its adherents inhabit and from the unique experiences upon which they draw. For many of us, and for post-colonial theory at its broadest, a reading of Edward Said is a central experience, and it is that reading which puts Foucault at the heart of post-colonial thinking, or which contributes to the embedding of the poststructural in the post-colonial. But there is an alternative reading, and closer analysis demonstrates how the relationship between the poststructural and the post-colonial can be read as the inverse of one which embeds poststructuralism at the beginning. Looking at the suite of experiences which were formative in the development of Foucault and other central poststructuralists, it can be argued that the post-colonial is embedded at the root of poststructural thinking.
Prior to commencing as Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Ahluwalia was Research SA Chair and Professor of Post-colonial Studies in the Hawke Research Institute and Director of the Centre for Post-colonial Studies. At the same time he was a Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California. His main research interests lie in the areas of African studies, social and cultural theory, in particular, postcolonial theory and the processes of diaspora, exile, and migration. On 14 October 2008, Professor Ahluwalia was appointed a UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies.

 

 

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