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Tag Archives: Dystopia

Living Fire

Living Fire

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO A DYSTOPIAN VISION

(The Higher, 21 May 2015)

What does the recent election result presage for UK higher education (‘Sector stands by for battles …’ (THE, 14 May)? Evidently, a continuation of recent course and speed, namely:

  • removing the fee cap, thus further stratifying the sector;
  • more deregulation and further pickings for the private providers;
  • breaking up national bargaining on employment terms and conditions;
  • intensifying REF pressure through performance management, thus skewing research to serve a political agenda;
  • further encroachment of income-generating activities; and
  • entrenching the consumerist distortion of the academy through more NSS-style ‘assessments’.

We may expect more commercial and political attacks on academic freedoms; the elimination of academic governance in favour of corporate interests and ‘brand identity’; and further differentiation between colleagues in stable employment and those on casual contracts. The overall effect will be to undermine the universities’ capacity for genuine critical engagement.

In accelerating the end of the idea of a public university, these changes will fundamentally alter the nature of university education in the UK, and what it means to be a scholar and a student. As such, they represent the demise of the UK’s position, whatever its faults, in the world of higher education, learning, scholarship and research

At present, as scholars and academics, we are not in a good position to resist the implementation of this dystopian vision. Our initiatives in the academy (the Council for the Defence of British Universities and the Campaign for the Public University) have done important work to inform staff and students, as well as the general public, of what’s been going on since 2010 but without significant policy effects. Our trade union, the UCU, has impressive policies against the commercialisation of the sector and performance management but has been unable to turn the tide, and it has been weakened by successive defeats on pensions and pay.

There is a clear paradox here since the large majority of us is opposed to this destruction. We have a duty, therefore, to identify what is under threat, and what an effective response might be.

The future of HE in the UK is in the balance. Now is the time to convene to diagnose the problem, to develop a strategy to defend the sector, and to explain this to the wider society. We urge colleagues to plan a London conference in the autumn to resist this impending disaster.

Signed

Tom Hickey (Brighton UCU)
Professor John Holmwood (Nottingham, and Campaign for the Public University, CPU)
Sean Wallis (UCL, and UCU NEC & London Region)
Professor Thomas Docherty (Warwick, and Council for the Defence of British Universities, CDBU)
Professor Martin McQuillan (Kingston, and CDBU)
Professor Howard Hotson (Oxford, and CDBU)
Professor Miriam David (IoE)
Priyamvada Gopal (Cambridge)
Professor Bob Brecher (Brighton)
Adrian Budd (South Bank UCU)
Professor Dennis Leech (Warwick)
Saladin Meckled-Garcia (UCL UCU)
Professor Kate Chedgzoy (Newcastle)
Professor Des Freedman (Goldsmiths UCU)
Professor Jeff Duckett (QMUL)
Professor Lucie Clapp (UCL)
Professor Jane Rendell (UCL)
Professor Melissa Terras (UCL)
Jim Wolfreys (Kings UCU)
Professor Mike Otsuka (LSE)
Professor Richard Farndale (Cambridge)
Professor Patricia Waugh (Durham)
Professor Jane Hardy (Hertfordshire)
Carlo Morelli (Dundee, and UCU NEC)
Professor Malcolm Povey (Leeds)

See: https://heconvention2.wordpress.com/statement

 

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

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.co.uk/

THE GLASS FORTRESS

THE GLASS FORTRESS

THE GLASS FORTRESS

A free adaptation of Zamyatin’s prospective novel “We”, this concept album will take you in the wake of D–503 and I–330, two freedom-and-passion loving people.

A Dystopia tinged with Revolutionary Romanticism, first of its kind.

Album available from January 15th 2015

 

Rémi Orts

Brave New World, 1984, The Wall, Equilibrium and more recently The Hunger Games, modern culture is haunted by the spectre of extremely well-organized societies whose apparent perfection conceals dark dictatorial worlds.

If this formal exercise is known to all, what is the intimate origin, the true source of its inspiration?
In fact, everything comes from a small Russian sci-fi novel published in 1920 by Yevgeny Zamyatin, “We “.

Rémi Orts Project and Alan B wish to pay tribute to this counter-utopia, first of its kind, by revisiting it in their concept album, “The Glass Fortress”.

Let yourself be taken in the wake of Daniel and Iris, two human beings opposed in every way, that nonetheless will rejoin in the same destiny, the choice of Life, even at their own peril…

Adapted from this album, a short film, innovative and moving, will be released in April 2015 with the collaboration of the talented photographer, Fanny Storck.

Lyrics : Alan B
Music : Rémi Orts
Photos : Fanny Storck
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPuAwNUSLI8&list=PL5KtMvKvWwKDcTibMWVLeKg5YoHuCsZZ-&index=1

See: http://www.remiorts.com/index.php/albums-remiorts/41-remi-project/96-the-glass-fortress

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

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Utopia

Utopia

DYSTOPIA AND GLOBAL REBELLION

Dystopia and Global Rebellion

Global Studies Association of North America Annual Conference

4-6 May 2012

Universityof Victoria,Vancouver Island, Canada

(Co-sponsored by of the VP of Research, Dean of Social Sciences, and Centre for Global Studies)

Social crisis shakes Europe and the U.S., anti-immigration movements grow, nuclear meltdown radiates Japan, while spreading drought and floods are billboards for global warming.  It seems the future has arrived and it doesn’t look good.

Yet democratic movements spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East, youth movements come alive in the U.K., France, Chile and Spain, rebellion takes to the streets in Greece, and Occupy Wall Street wakes up the U.S. Dystopia and global rebellion indeed. This year’s conference theme focuses our attention on the problems and alternatives we face in our struggle for a just and better world.

Keynote Speakers and Panels:

“Economic Crisis and the Working Class: re-thinking class struggle” — Gary Teeple

“Anti-Globalization or Alter-Globalization? Mapping the Political Ideology of the Global Justice Movement” — Manfred B. Steger.

“Crisis of the Human Condition: Global Rebellion Hits the Wall” — Paul James.

“Building the Counter-Hegemonic Bloc to Neo-Liberal Dystopia” — William Carroll & Jerry Harris.

“Environmental Dystopia and the Green Alternative” — Martha McMahon, Kara Shaw & Waziyatawin.

“The Occupy Movement” — Carl Davidson, Lauren Langman, Jackie Smith, Jay Smith.

For more information on keynote speakers, schedule, registration and conference information go to: http://net4dem.org/mayglobal

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

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

‘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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

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

 

Utopia

THE SPECTRE OF UTOPIA: UTOPIAN AND SCIENCE FICTIONS AT THE ‘FIN DE SIÈCLE’ – BY MATTHEW BEAUMONT

PETER LANG – International Academic Publishers are pleased to announce a new book by
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Matthew Beaumont 
THE SPECTRE OF UTOPIA: Utopian and Science Fictions at the “Fin de Siècle”

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XII, 307 pp.
Ralahine Utopian Studies. Vol. 12
Edited by Raffaella Baccolini, Joachim Fischer, Tom Moylan and Michael J. Griffin

pb. ISBN 978-3-0343-0725-3
CHF 63.00 / €(D) 47.50 / €(A) 48.80 / € 44.40 / £ 40.00 / US-$ 66.95
€(D) includes VAT – only valid for Germany  /  €(A) includes VAT – only valid for Austria  

In the late nineteenth century, a spectre haunted Europe and the United States: the spectre of utopia. This book re-examines the rise of utopian thought at the “fin de siècle”, situating it in the social and political contradictions of the time and exploring the ways in which it articulated a deepening sense that the capitalist system might not be insuperable after all. The study pays particular attention to Edward Bellamy’s seminal utopian fiction, “Looking Backward” (1888), embedding it in a number of unfamiliar contexts, and reading its richest passages against the grain, but it also offers detailed discussions of William Morris, H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde. Both historical and theoretical in its approach, this book constitutes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the utopian imaginary, and an original analysis of the counter-culture in which it thrived at the fin de siècle.

Contents: 
Utopian fiction – Science fiction – Disaster fiction – Radical publishing – Feminism – Socialism – Occultism.

“Matthew Beaumont is one of the most brilliant of the younger generation of English critics. His work on late Victorian culture puts him among the most suggestive and original scholars of the period. While focused on Bellamy, this wide-ranging study encompasses a rich variety of authors and intellectual currents, all dealing with the elusive but utterly essential idea of utopia. In its theoretical sophistication and historical depth, Beaumont’s work is both innovative and illuminating” (Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of English at Lancaster University and author of ‘Trouble with Strangers’ and ‘Why Marx Was Right’)

“So much has been written about Looking Backward and late nineteenth-century utopian literature that one wonders if these topics can ever come to us fresh again. Beaumont answers this question by placing Bellamy’s utopia within significant yet rarely studied publication and reception contexts, such as the London Bellamy Library books series designed to educate working-class readers, and by presenting utopia as a constructively troubling spectre, a ghost evaluating the readers’ present by haunting them with a sense of the absence of a suppressed better world existing somewhere between possibility and impossibility. Thus Beaumont does refresh utopia for us” (Kenneth Roemer, Piper Professor, University of Texas at Arlington and author of ‘The Obsolete Necessity: America in Utopian Writings, 1888-1900’ and ‘Utopian Audiences’)

“This is a rich and provocative book in which Beaumont challenges conventional readings of utopian writing at the turn of the twentieth century. Written with insight and clarity, it provides fresh perspectives and unsettles old certainties. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with the cultural context of the time” (Ruth Levitas, Professor of Sociology, University of Bristol and author of ‘The Concept of Utopia’)

Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at University College London.

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You can order this book online. Please click on the link below:
————————————————————-
Direct order: http://www.peterlang.com?430725
————————————————————-
Or you may send your order to:
————————————————————-

PETER LANG AG
International Academic Publishers
Moosstrasse 1
P.O. Box 350
CH-2542 Pieterlen
Switzerland
Tel +41 (0)32 376 17 17
Fax +41 (0)32 376 17 27
e-mail: mailto:info@peterlang.com
Internet: http://www.peterlang.com

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‘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)

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

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

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

Utopia

WEIRD COUNCIL

 

 

http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/42866

Weird Council: An International Conference on the Writing of China Miéville
Full name / name of organization: University of Lincoln and Birkbeck, University of London
Contact email: mieville@gylphi.co.uk

Weird Council: An International Conference on the Writing of China Miéville
Saturday 15th September 2012
School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London
Sponsored by Gylphi: Arts and Humanities Publisher, Birkbeck, University of London and the University of Lincoln
Part of the Gylphi Contemporary Writers series

Keynote Speakers:
Professor Sherryl Vint (Brock University)
Professor Roger Luckhurst (Birkbeck, University of London)
Response and Q&A from China Miéville

Papers are invited for the first academic conference dedicated to the work of China Miéville. The winner of multiple awards, Miéville has developed a distinguished body of fictional work since the publication of his first novel, King Rat, in 1999. In addition to nine published novels (with his next forthcoming in May 2012) as well as a collection of short stories, Miéville is also a respected literary critic, political activist and legal scholar. His post-Suvinian working through of the “Fantastic” as a generic category encompassing SF, fantasy and the Gothic, as well as avant-garde traditions such as Surrealism, has been influential in cutting across received boundaries of genre. Miéville’s monograph Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law was published in 2005 and he has written and edited articles for a variety of journals; from Historical Materialism and the philosophical journal Collapse, to the Harvard International Law Journal.

Influenced by, among others, late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century pulp traditions and New Wave SF – especially the work of M. John Harrison – Miéville has recently been credited as “leading revolutions in fantasy as both a writer and a critic” (in a 2009 special edition of SF journal Extrapolation dedicated to his work). 

His fiction spans a wide variety of themes, contexts and genre-blurring literary traditions, which metaphorically explores, among other things, the implications of lived cultural, racial and geographical boundaries, collective struggle, and bodily affect.

Despite the critical acclaim of Miéville’s fictions – as well as his prominence as a literary and cultural critic – there is little scholarly work on Miéville’s already substantial oeuvre. The organisers welcome papers on any topic related to Miéville’s writing from any disciplinary position. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

Miéville and his literary contexts – the New Weird, the British SF Boom, London Gothic, steampunk, post-cyberpunk, post-genre fiction, slipstream utopian and dystopian thinking class, social mobility, poverty and social inequality the critique of racism, revolution and the critique of capitalist modernity, spaces of alterity, urban and spatial phantasmagorias, Marxist theory and aesthetics, Metaphor vs. Allegory, teratology and hybridity, noir and crime, gender, sexuality, and feminism, religion and religious cults, posthumanism, Young Adult literature, post-Suvinian SF criticism, political writing and activism, hierarchies of high and low culture, fan subcultures and geek aesthetics, comics and role playing games, affinities with key figures in the British fantastic tradition (e.g. Mervyn Peake and M. John Harrison)

The conference welcomes proposals for individual papers and panels from any discipline and theoretical perspective. Submissions are welcome from both research students and academics. Please send a title and 300 word abstract for a 20 minute paper along with your name, affiliation and 100 word professional biography to mieville@gylphi.co.uk by 1st March 2012.

The conference is organised by Dr Caroline Edwards, Lecturer in English, Department of English, University of Lincoln and Tony Venezia, PhD candidate and tutor, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University 
of London.
http://ulincoln.academia.edu/CarolineEdwards
http://birkbeck.academia.edu/TonyVenezia

The conference is sponsored by Gylphi Arts and Humanities Publisher, the Department of English, University of Lincoln and the School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London. Selected papers from the conference proceedings will be published as China Miéville: Critical Essays, with a contribution by Miéville, as part of Gylphi’s Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series (Series Editor: Dr Sarah Dillon). For more information regarding the Series see: http://www.gylphi.co.uk/criticalessays/index.php

The Miéville conference website will launch in autumn 2011: see the Gylphi website for more details: http://www.gylphi.co.uk/index.php

cfp categories:

international_conferences
journals_and_collections_of_essays
twentieth_century_and_beyond

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

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

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/glenn.rikowski

CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION AND WORK – UPDATE 5th FEBRUARY 2011

 

EVENTS

GREATER TORONTO WORKERS’ ASSEMBLY – GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Saturday, February 19
9:30am – 6:00pm
Steelworkers’ Hall, 25 Cecil St.
Toronto

The next General Assembly of the GTWA will be held on February 19, 2011. All members and supporters are welcome. Members and supporters are also welcome and encouraged to bring guests as observers.

In order to register send an email to: workingclassfightback@gmail.com. In the subject line write: Feb. 19 registration.

Include the following:

1. Name
2. Are you attending as a member or observer?
3. Would you make use of an ASL interpreter if provided by the Assembly?
4. Do you require on site childcare? If so please provide age(s) of child(ren).
5. Accessibility concerns?
6. If you are attending as an observer and have not signed up as a supporter include the following: a.organizational affiliations (if any) b.where did you find out about the Assembly? c. phone number

Are you a supporter and want to attend as a member? Visit: http://www.workersassembly.ca/join

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PROMOTING HEALTH EQUITY: ACTION ON THE SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH CONFERENCE

Feb. 11-12, 2011
Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel
525 Bay Street, Toronto

The Wellesley Institute’s Bob Gardner will be presenting at this conference

The Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University is pleased to host the Promoting Health Equity: Action on the Social Determinants of Health conference. This conference is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Ryerson University and the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Community Services (FCS).

This conference, organized by the research centres of the Faculty of Community Services, aims to bring together community and agency partners, undergraduate and graduate students, health and social service professionals/workers, researchers, academics, government and policy and decision makers to share and exchange knowledge, and to generate the creation of new partnerships in research, education, and practice that focus on health equity and action on the social determinants of health across diverse communities.

The early bird deadline for registration is January 7th, 2011. For more information see: http://www.ryerson.ca/fcs/conference/

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CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT WEEK, FEBRUARY 6-12

International Development Week, which takes place in February every year, is a time for Canadians to reflect on poverty around the world and what can be done to reduce it.

It’s also a time to learn more about the co-operative sector’s active involvement in international development.  A number of co-operative organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA), Desjardins, SOCODEVI and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (through Rooftops Canada) work with co-op and/or credit union partners in developing countries.

For more info: http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/ACDI-CIDA.nsf/eng/FRA-119105122-LLN

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THE 3RD ANNUAL ACCESSIBILITY CONFERENCE!

Conference Announcement and Call for Presentations
May 31-June 1, 2011
University of Guelph, Ontario

This year’s Conference programming will move attendees beyond a theoretical and technical understanding of accessibility by providing a practical framework for action.

In addition to information and communication accessibility, the conference is seeking presentations from individuals who have successfully moved accessibility forward within their institutions through such strategies as community building, networking or “making the case” for inclusion.

Share your first-hand experience with disability issues as well as academic or evidence-based research in the field of disability.

For more information:
– Visit the website: http://www.accessconf.ca
– Download the call for presentations: http://www.accessconf.open.uoguelph.ca/pdf/Call_for_Presentations-2011.doc  
– Download the submission form: http://www.accessconf.open.uoguelph.ca/pdf/submission_form_2011.doc

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ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS: EQUITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP IN ACTION CONFERENCE

March 7-8, 2011
Delta Toronto East Hotel

The Institute for Global Citizenship and Equity at Centennial College invites you to attend a unique conference. This event will be addressing how as global citizens we can get involved locally, nationally and internationally to dialogue and exchange ideas on global issues.

Many dynamic speakers will be taking part including:

– Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
– Dr. Sherene Razack, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, (OISE)Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
– Dr. Henry Giroux, Global Television Network, Chair in Communication Studies, McMaster University
– Rev. Gretta Vosper, founder of the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity, author and participant at United Church of Canada

Presenters and panelists from around the world are also confirmed, discussing equity, social justice and global citizenship in action.

Please visit: http://www.centennialcollege.ca/citizenshipandequity/HeartsMinds to learn more about this exciting event.

Space is limited. If you have any questions, please call Aida Haroun at 416-289-5000, ext. 3438 or email aharoun@centennialcollege.ca.

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WORKERS’ ASSEMBLY COFFEEHOUSE – ANTI-CAPITALISM, DISABILITY AND INJURED WORKERS: CLASS STRUGGLE AND THE BODY

Friday Feb. 11
7:30 PM
Regal Beagle Pub (back room)
335 Bloor st W (at St. George)

The Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly will be holding another one of our coffeehouse discussions at the Regal Beagle.  This time, with two speakers from DAMN 2025 and a labour activist working around the important and nearly invisible issue of the fate of injured workers, we will be discussing concrete strategies for the class struggle and accessibility that incorporate the unique predicament of members of the working class who are not able bodied.  Bringing together social movement and labour activists, this should be another interesting and unique discussion.

Speakers:
– Andrew Mindszenthy (DAMN 2025)
– Jeff Peters (DAMN 2025)
– Nick DeCarlo (Canadian Auto Workers)

Moderated by: Ameilia Murphy Beaudoin (OPSEU)

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NEWS AND VIEWS

MOVEMENTS IN EGYPT: US REALIGNS

by Samir Amin, Democracy and Class Struggle

With Hosni Mubarak on a tentative footing, a US which once propped him up would now turn to a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) it regards as ‘moderate’, writes Samir Amin. But with the fundamental economic conditions which produced the social unrest in the first place unlikely to change much, and with the working-class and peasants’ movement yet to be fully involved, the same problems will remain, Amin concludes.

Read more: http://democracyandclasstruggle.blogspot.com/2011/02/movements-in-egypt-us-realigns-by-samir.html?spref=fb

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HARD DAY’S WORK: THE SUPER BOWL AND THE WORKING CLASS

by Kathy M. Newman, Working-Class Perspectives

As we hurtle towards Super Bowl Sunday the Rust Belt cities of Pittsburgh (where I live) and Green Bay, Wisconsin are gearing up for a showdown between two of the smallest market teams in the NFL which also boast the two most devoted fan bases in the country.  Both cities have lost the industries that made them famous, but each continues to stand for everything that we think of as working class.

Read more: http://workingclassstudies.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/hard-days-work-the-super-bowl-and-the-working-class/

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VIDEO: STEELWORKERS UNITED!

January 29. Hamilton Ontario. Ten thousand gather to begin the struggle against US Steel’s lockout of its Hamilton workers.

Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9MVK7–Ah0&feature=player_embedded

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DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF THE OVER-COMPENSATED PUBLIC EMPLOYEE

by Jeffrey H. Keefe, Economic Policy Institute

State and local public employees are undercompensated, according to a new Economic Policy Institute analysis. The report, Debunking the Myth of the Overcompensated Public Employee: The Evidence by Labor and Employment Relations Professor Jeffrey Keefe of Rutgers University, finds that, on average, state and local government workers are compensated 3.75% less than workers in the private sector.

Read more: http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/debunking_the_myth_of_the_overcompensated_public_employee

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UNIONS BEAT ANTI-TEACHER AGENDA IN ILLINOIS

by Howard Ryan, Labor Notes

The billionaires lost this round.

A billionaire gang headed by Bill Gates and Eli Broad wants to capture the billions spent on America’s public schools and convert them into a corporate-owned test-score factory. But their plan faces teacher resistance, and nowhere more than in Chicago, where a feisty new leadership is heading the Chicago Teachers Union.

Read more: http://labornotes.org/2011/01/unions-beat-anti-teacher-agenda-illinois

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WHY TAX CUTS MAKE US WEAK

by Murray Dobbin

Taxes are the price of a civilized society. Support them.

So here we go again, another round of huge tax cuts as the country continues down the road to a neo-con dystopia. Over the next five years the revenue that pays for the things Canadians say they want will drop by $60 billion. There are cuts to the GST, to personal income taxes and corporate taxes — with the latter dropping by 2012 to 15 per cent (from 21 per cent today), an outrageous corporate giveaway, giving us third world status in the “attract investment” race to the bottom.

Read more: http://murraydobbin.ca/2011/01/27/why-tax-cuts-make-us-weak/

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(END)
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ABOUT CSEW (CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF EDUCATION & WORK, OISE/UT):

Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

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

‘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)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Utopia

UTOPIA NOW! RADICAL IMAGINATION IN THE WAKE OF HISTORICAL FAILURE

Lecture by Stephen Duncombe
Monday February 14, 2011
Time: 08:30 PM
Location: de Balie (Salon), Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam
Entrance: 5 Euro

Tickets available at the door or order in advance

A co-production of SKOR | Foundation Art and Public Domain and De Balie.

On February 14, the American sociologist and researcher Stephen Duncombe will give a lecture in De Balie in Amsterdam to mark the publication of Open 20, titled The Populist Imagination: On the Role of Myth, Storytelling and Imaginary in Politics.

His presentation explores the possibilities of a new democratic imaginary. Duncombe advocates a dreampolitik that could serve as a counterweight to the nostalgic fantasies that are currently being promoted by right-wing populist movements.

Stephen Duncombe is a professor at the Gallatin School, New York University, where he teaches the history and politics of media.

As a political activist he writes about the intersection between culture and politics. His published works include Dream: Re-imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy (2006). Duncombe is co-director of the College of Tactical Culture and of the School for Creative Activism in New York.

This lecture is a prelude to the one-day symposium on Friday March 18, which deals with the roles played by imagination, storytelling and myth creation in politics today. Among the theoreticians, artists and graphic designers who will participate in this symposium are Rudi Laermans, Merijn Oudenampsen, Sarah Farris, Oliver Marchart, Aukje van Rooden, Steve Lambert and John Kraniaukas.

Open Cahier on Art and the Public Domain is iniated by SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain and published in partnership with NAi Publishers. Open 20 was guest-edited by Merijn Oudenampsen and deals with imagination and myths in politics, in populism and beyond.

‘All power to the imagination!’, is a popular slogan identified with the 1968-generation. Now, right-wing populist movements such as the Italian Northern League Party (Lega Nord), the American Tea Party movement, the Dutch Party For Freedom (PVV, led by Geert Wilders) and many others are storming the political stage in Europe and the United States. These groups are using the political imagination to sharpen and fix identities, to appeal to an imaginary past, and to cultivate myths.

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Utopia

ALTERNATIVE WORLDS

Alternative Worlds: A retrospective of the last 111 years

Call for Papers / Art Presentations

Seminar in Visual Culture 2011
Deadline for proposals: 13 December 2010

Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, Room ST 274 (School of Advanced Study, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, WC1B 5DN London)

This series of seminars acts as a forum for practicing artists, researchers, curators, students, and others interested in visual culture who are invited to present, discuss and explore a given theme within the broad field of Visual Culture.

In an attempt to escape the doom and gloom of the economic crisis the theme for 2011 is ‘Alternative Worlds’. The aim is to examine the dreams, plans and hopes, but also the nightmares and fears reflected in utopian thinking since 1900 in the Western hemisphere. What has become of all those possible worlds? How do they reflect their contemporary culture and society and what, if anything, do or can they mean for our present, or indeed, our future? What alternative worlds are engendered by our own times, by the world of 2011 itself? This is, hence not only a retrospective of past utopias and their after-lives but also an invitation to look towards our possible futures.

Looking backwards, we could revisit the Futurist utopia of a mechanical universe based on the principles of speed and technology, or look at the somewhat similar proposals of the American Technocratic Society for a world based on the laws of engineering. Or we could examine the repercussions of Hermann Sörgel’s plan for Atlantropa, a merger of Europe and Africa created by damming the Strait of Gibraltar, meticulously worked out in the late 1920s and promoted by Sörgel until his death in 1952. Or we could look at the architectural utopias of Modernism, at Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin, or at GM’s 1939 Futurama exhibit of the ‘City of the Future’ with its intricate congestion-free road systems. We could look at the social housing projects of the 1950s and ’60s – those that were built and those that were imagined. We could look at the many futures inspired by the space age, or at the alternative lives and societies envisaged in reaction to the Cold War and the nuclear threat. We could revisit the multiple Ballardian worlds or the various projects for the future proposed by the architects and artists who contributed to “This is Tomorrow”, the exhibition held at London’s Whitechapel Gallery in 1956 and restaged in 2006 at Tate Britain. We could look at the social utopias of the 1960s, the communes, sex and free love as a basis for a new society. We could look at the alternative worlds inspired by the possibilities of robotics, cybernetics or genetics; or at virtual worlds, like Second Life or all those parallel lives made possible by social networking sites. We could look backwards and at the same time look forwards.

Contributions on any of the above topics or on other alternative worlds of the past and the present are invited from individuals working in the fields of art history, philosophy, literary, cultural and visual studies, fine arts, film and media studies, theatre, history, etc.

Artists are also invited to present new (and existing) work on the theme.

Please send proposals for art presentations (200 words plus images) or academic papers (200 words) to Ricarda Vidal: ricarda.vidal@sas.ac.uk ||| by 13 December 2010.

Please indicate which date you would prefer for your talk.

Dates and times:

Wednesday 26 Jan. 2011, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Wednesday 23 Feb. 2011, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Wednesday 30 March 2011, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Wednesday 27 April 2011, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Wednesday 25 May 2010, 6.30pm – 8.00pm

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)

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

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Utopia?

DYSTOPIA: WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

Dystopia: What is to be done? is an hour long documentary film available for free viewing and/or download and showing for educational purposes on the website: www.DystopiaFilm.com.  

It analyses a compendium of crises facing humanity – peak oil, climate change, pollution, disease. poverty, terrorism, war etc. – in terms of their complex causal inter-linkages and common framing and exacerbation within the global world economy.

The long time Marxist message that humanity faces a choice between (eco)socialism and barbarism is given a renewed urgency. The website in addition to the film contains a one minute trailer, a resources page and information about the book of the same title and it author.

Dr. Garry Potter

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Sociology

Wilfird Laurier University

Waterloo, Ontario

Canada  N2L 3C5

gpotter@wlu.ca or garrypotter34@aol.com

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)

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com
Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Rikowski Point: http://rikowskipoint.blogspot.com

Just Space

SPACES OF ALTERITY

Conference: Call for Papers

Spaces of Alterity: Conceptualising Counter-Hegemonic Sites, Practices and Narratives

University of Nottingham, UK
28th-29th April 2011

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:

China Miéville and Dr. Alberto Toscano

This two day international conference for postgraduate and early career researchers explores interdisciplinary conceptions and representations of radical, counter-hegemonic space.

As concerns grow over such issues as spatial privatisation, commodification and homogenisation, surveillance, extra-legal spaces, social and political ‘non-spaces’, and the loss of common or public spaces, so too a plethora of interventions—across genre and disciplinary boundaries—have been launched in opposition to these trends. Examples are diverse, and can be found, for example, in literary studies of estranging narratives in contemporary fiction; spatial representations in film, TV and new media; the creation of critical spaces of alterity in political activism (such as semi-autonomous zones); psychogeographical spatial strategies, and philosophical and theoretical conceptions of counter-hegemonic space.

We invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes from candidates across the arts and humanities, welcoming individual papers as well as group panels that respond to these and other conceptions of counter-hegemonic “Spaces of Alterity”. Possible research questions include, but are not limited to:

    • What estranging utopian, dystopian, post-apocalyptic and science fiction spaces of alterity are being utilised in contemporary aesthetic and cultural productions, e.g. film, literature, TV, art, computer games?
    • How do these narratives travel across media and what changes occur when they are adapted, reworked and transformed? What research questions are raised by such collaborations, transmissions and intermedial dialogues?
    • How can we approach traditionally-understood print and audio-visual texts in relation to virtual spaces of alterity, such as fan-based communities, social networking sites and other sites developed through user-generated content (UGC)?
    • What are the relationships between textual spaces of alterity and non-textual forums, communities and dialogues?
    • What physical spaces of alterity are being constructed in contemporary urban environments?
    • How are such spaces critical, oppositional or subversive and how do they draw on the contributions of local communities and organisations?
    • How do spaces of alterity which are informed by traditionally-understood “texts” function on the Internet and how can they inform our understanding of filmic, visual and literary textual methodologies and approaches?
    • What forms can counter-hegemonic, avant-garde, or ‘subtractive’ spaces—which can be spatial, but also temporal or conceptual—take?
    • What political, artistic, or scientific practices can such spaces foster? How does distance from institutions help form alternative political, literary and artistic practices?

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email as a Word attachment to spacesofalterity@gmail.com by Wednesday 3rd November 2010 and should include name, affiliation, e-mail address, title of paper and 4 keywords.

Conference website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cultural-studies/research/conferences.aspx

Speakers:

China Miéville is a distinguished “Weird Fiction” novelist, activist, and lecturer in creative writing at the University of Warwick. His publications include King Rat (1998), Perido Street Station (2000), and Iron Council (2004). In 2010 he won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for an unprecedented second time with his latest novel, The City and the City (2009).

Alberto Toscano is senior lecturer in Philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published extensively on social and political subjectivity, biopolitics, and the philosophy of Alain Badiou. His most recent work is Fanaticism (2010, Verso)

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

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No Future

NO FUTURE

NO FUTURE: AN INTER-DISCIPLINARY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
Durham University, UK
25-27 March 2011

First Call for Papers

From biblical apocalypse to the nihilism of the late nineteenth century, from the Enlightenment invention of progress to the counter-cultures of the late twentieth century, from technological utopianism to contemporary anticipations of environmental catastrophe, western civilization has been consistently transfixed by the figurative potential of the future. ‘No Future’ seeks to connect and inter-animate these disparate ways of thinking about the future, while at the same time questioning the basis of the various discourses of futurity they have produced, and which have proliferated in recent years. ‘No Future’ thus also implicitly questions what it is – other than the preoccupations of the present – that is invoked when we talk about the future.

The conference aims to stage a series of inter-disciplinary encounters around these different senses of ‘No Future’, and to examine the value and implications of adopting a ‘futurist’ position across and between a range of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Contributions may take retrospective form, re-assessing significant moments in past discourses of futurity such as apocalypticism, Enlightenment ideas of progress, the persistence of the apparent dialectical unity of utopia/dystopia, the constructions of Modernism and the Historical Avantgarde, the symbolic projections of psychoanalytic theory. Others might examine the disciplinary shifts that have displaced or dispersed avantgardism in postmodernity, opening out onto such themes as transhumanism, post-postmodern reinflections of the dialectic, and various forms of contemporary utopianism. All of these are related to the central question of the ideological and aesthetic implications of any appeal to futurity, at the heart of which lies the tension between the future as rhetorical evasion and the future as the most persistent and deeply embedded of all heuristic devices.

Keynote speakers:
Mikhail Epstein (Emory)
Jean-Michel Rabaté (Pennsylvania)
Patricia Waugh (Durham)

Plenary panels:

Apocalyptic Futures
Lenin and Futurity
Bloch and Utopian Futures

Proposals for individual papers or integrated panels that engage with any aspect of the central theme are invited. Papers should be of 20 minutes duration to allow adequate time for discussion, and proposals for integrated panels should comprise a chair and three speakers.

Proposals that specifically engage with any of the following themes are particularly welcome:

Ontologies of the Future
Forms of Utopia
Dystopian Futures
Aesthetics and Technology
Eco-criticism and Ecotopia
Gendered Futures
Transhumanism
Futurism(s)
Futures of Freud
Dialectics of the Future
The Future of Theory

Proposals should be no longer than 250 words and should be submitted as an attachment to: alastair.renfrew@durham.ac.uk by Friday 2nd July 2010.

Further information will be available in due course at the conference web-site: http://www.dur.ac.uk/mlac/research/nofuture

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

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

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Raymond Williams

TENSES OF IMAGINATION: RAYMOND WILLIAMS ON SCIENCE FICTION, UTOPIA AND DYSTOPIA

http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?vID=11826&vLang=E&vHR=1&vUR=2&vUUR=1

New from Peter Lang:

TENSES OF IMAGINATION: RAYMOND WILLIAMS ON SCIENCE FICTION,  UTOPIA AND DYSTOPIA

Edited by Andrew Milner

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien,
2010. X, 243 pp.
Ralahine Utopian Studies. Vol. 7
Edited by Raffaella Baccolini, Joachim Fischer, Tom Moylan and Michael
J. Griffin
ISBN 978-3-03911-826-7 pb.
sFr. 52.– / €* 35.60 / €** 36.60 / € 33.30 / £ 30.– / US-$ 51.95

Raymond Williams was an enormously influential figure in late twentieth-century intellectual life as a novelist, playwright and critic, ‘the British Sartre’, as The Times put it. He was a central inspiration for the early British New Left and a close intellectual supporter of Plaid Cymru. He is widely acknowledged as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of cultural studies, who established ‘cultural materialism’ as a new paradigm for work in both literary and cultural studies. There is a substantial secondary literature on Williams, which treats his life and work in each of these respects. But none of it makes much of his enduring contribution to utopian studies and science fiction studies. This volume brings together a complete collection of Williams’s critical essays on science fiction and futurology, utopia, and dystopia, in literature, film, television, and politics, and with extracts from his two future novels, The Volunteers (1978) and The Fight for Manod (1979). Both the collection as a whole and the individual readings are accompanied by introductory essays written by Andrew Milner.

Contents: Space Anthropology, Utopia, and Putropia. Left Culturalism: Science Fiction (1956) – William Morris (1958) – George Orwell (1958) – The Future Story as Social Formula Novel (1961) – Terror (1971) – Texts in their Contexts. Cultural Materialism: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1971) – The City and the Future (1973) – On Orwell: An Interview (1977) – On Morris: An Interview (1977) – Learning from Le Guin. (Anti-) Postmodernism: Utopia and Science Fiction (1978) – The Tenses of Imagination (1978) – Beyond Actually Existing Socialism (1980) – Resources for a Journey of Hope (1983) – Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1984 (1984) – The Future Novels: From The Volunteers (1978) – From The Fight for Manod (1979).

‘With the twenty-first-century reader very much in mind, Andrew Milner’s selection of texts offers a new, “alternative” Raymond Williams – the critic and occasional author of science fiction, the futurologist, the wary, self-questioning utopian thinker for whom intellectual pessimism is a lazy response and never the last word.’ – Professor Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading

‘The future was the ultimate stake in all Raymond Williams’s thinking and writing, as Andrew Milner simply and powerfully shows us now, by assembling a volume of writings on science fiction and utopianism that turns out to be a very substantial, wide-ranging reader in Williams’s work as a whole. The defining importance of “the sense of the future”, as he called it, the future as the essential discipline of political and moral imagination, is the lesson of this very welcome collection.’ – Professor Francis Mulhern, Middlesex University.

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