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EduFactory

‘TO HAVE THE COURAGE OF UNCERTAINTY’: CULTURES OF PRECARITY

An International Conference

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, December 6-7, 2012

 

Key note speakers:

Judith Revel

Paolo Virno (tbc)

Giorgio Vasta

Maurizio Lazzerato (tbc)

 

Call for Papers

This international conference is the third and last in a cycle of conferences that started last year in Amsterdam, and continued at Chapel Hill (USA) in May 2012, and is part of the international research project Precarity and Post- autonomia: the Global Heritage, funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) which involves several Dutch universities (Universiteit Leiden/ Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Universiteit Utrecht) in collaboration with two North-American Universities (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. The project aims at stimulating the debate on today’s developments in “autonomist” movements, born mainly from Italy’s workers movements during the Seventies, and to connect these currents with a broader reflection on the topic of precarity within globalized capitalism.

The title of the conference originates in a newspaper article by the young Sicilian writer Giorgio Vasta in which he unpacks the identikit of the new generations. Vasta feels that those born in the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1990s, have grown up with the perception of the ‘end of the present’ and of the present as the ‘end’. If this impossibility or incapacity of having a perspective is proper to today’s youth, then this, says Vasta, should become their stronghold: “Because if our connotation is uncertainty – alienation not as an anomaly but as a permanent experience of the real – in that case it becomes fundamental to not turn uncertainty into an alibi but to use it as a tool for knowledge. To have the courage of uncertainty” (La Repubblica, 6-10-2009).

This uncertainty mentioned by Vasta is synonymous with crisis, with a two-faced precarity that therefore becomes ambivalent and that is not longer recomposable into a dialectical object. On the one hand the condition of economic insecurity, caused by the traumatic consequences of so-called labour “flexibility” in globalized capitalism, reduces the subject to a (biopolitical) state of permanent precarity. On the other hand, however, the claim of an identity that is precarious and resistant at the same time, and which is located outside and against the capitalist system, would entail that there still exists a margin from which we can pronounce a cultural critique. If we move our attention towards the ‘creative industries’, these seem to have incorporated precarity as a mode of cultural production. If this is true, the question is to determine the margin of “relative heteronomy” acceptable to survive economically without sacrificing artistic liberty. This could be a way to consider initiatives such as the Coordination des intermittents et précaires d’Ile de France in France and the occupation of the Valle Theatre in Rome, supported by the Generation TQ, the movement of cognitive laborers between thirty-forty (http://www.generazionetq.org/). One may ask what type of autonomy is envisioned by the artists’ resistance against capitalism and if their confinement to an “autonomous” margin could lead, on the contrary, towards the depoliticization of the aesthetic of the avant- gardes? What does marginality mean if we start from a general precarization of public and private space? In the past decade, art institutions and academic contexts have become privileged spaces for conversations concerning both the (partly subversive) knowledge of the precarious, and a search for commons (in order to constitute the political). As for academic contexts, a reference can be made to EduFactory (http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/), a transnational collective that focuses on conflicts and transformation of the university.

Narratives of precarity express two components: that of an inquiry of and a charge against post-Fordist society, and that of the creation of a new kind of precarious ontology. The case-study of Italy seems particularly interesting because it offers the opportunity to analyze the palimpsest both of a history of long duration, transmitted by (post)autonomous workers movements and radical thought in 1970s Italy, and a recent history of social movements that starts from the (tragic) events of the G8 summit at Genoa (2001) – but many other countries and movements must be taken into account, from the first EuroMayDay parade (2001), to the Madrid-based feminist activist group “Precarias a la deriva” (2004), to the transnational indignados movement (2011, Spain) and to the Occupy movement.

The intention of the conference is thus to establish a link between transnational narratives of precarity – narrative in the broad sense of storytelling, including various representational and performative arts in prose and in poetry – and different types of cultural activism. The central question is whether such cultures of resistance, when embedded within art institutions or social movements, do not risk becoming expressions of containment policies, of strategies of ‘governmentality’ (Foucault) that conforms the precarious subject to the cultural logic of capitalism. If the absence of dialectics allows instead for a multidirectional relationship between object and subject, the question is whether this ambivalence of precariousness may become a new way of being that invites an artistic and political revisioning of cultural activism operating at the margins. Therefore the conference also questions whether the ways of creating narratives, and indeed forms of representation of precarity, undergo the same dynamics as the biopolitical subject. Language itself is put into a state of precariousness, and comes to war with itself.

 

Topics include but are not limited to:

            -­‐  Aesthetics of precarity in arts and in social movements

            -­‐  Forms of cultural activism

            -­‐  Cultural “events” of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and memory

            -­‐  The luxury of precarity? Whose precarity?

            -­‐  The aesthetization of precarity

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of cultural production (i.e. the ‘creative industries’)

            -­‐  Precarization as constituent power

            -­‐  Precarity and new forms of local, regional or global ethics of ‘relationality’

            -­‐  A ‘geo-aesthetics’ of precarity 

 

The languages of the conference are English, French, and Italian.

Abstracts of about 200 words together with a brief biography should be sent before 09/20/2012 to the following two Email addresses: scontari@u-paris10.fr / M.M.Jansen@uu.nl  

Acceptance of proposals will be communicated by 10/15/2012. 

Scientific Project and Organization: Silvia Contarini (Paris Ouest Nanterre) and Monica Jansen (UtrechtUniversity).

In collaboration with: Luca Marsi and Christophe Mileschi (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre); Judith Revel (Université Paris 1) NWO partners: Vincenzo Binetti (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Joost de Bloois (University of Amsterdam), Silvia Contarini (Université Paris Ouest, Nanterre La Défense), Frans-Willem Korsten (Leiden University/Erasmus University Rotterdam), Federico Luisetti (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Monica Jansen (Utrecht University).

Originally published at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/cfp-to-have-the-courage-of-uncertainty.-cultures-of-precarity-nanterre-6-7-december-2012  

 

**END**

 

‘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  

 

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

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

 

 

Our Universities

THE UNIVERSITY IS OURS!

Edufactory

The University is Ours!

Friday, December 2, 2011  

A Conference on Struggles Within and Beyond the Neoliberal University
April 27-29, 2012
Toronto, Ontario

The university belongs to us, those who teach, learn, research, council, clean, and create community. Together we can and do make the university work.

But today this university is in crisis. The neoliberal restructuring of post-secondary education seeks to further embed market logic and corporate-style management into the academy, killing consultation, autonomy and collective decision-making. The salaries of university presidents and the ranks of administrators swell, but the people the university is supposed to serve — students — are offered assembly-line education as class sizes grow, faculty is over-worked, and teaching positions become increasingly precarious. International students and scholars seeking post-secondary or graduate education are treated as cash cows rather than as people who might contribute to both research and society. Debt-burdened students are seen as captive markets by administrators, while faculty is encouraged to leverage public funds for private research on behalf of corporate sponsors.

The attack on what remains of public education has been total. Over the last year we have witnessed the closure of humanities programmes, further tuition hikes, the replacement of financial support with loans, union lockouts, and the accelerated development of private, for-profit universities. Yet at the same time we have seen growing waves of struggle against these incursions, as students, staff and faculty in Europe, Latin America, and across the Middle East organize, occupy and resist the transformation.

Our struggles are not limited to the university, but are a part the widespread resistance against the neoliberal market logic subsuming all sectors of our society. The university is a key battleground in this struggle, and a point of conjuncture for the various labour, economic and social justice struggles that face all of us – workers and students alike. Crucially, these struggles occur on stolen indigenous lands and manifest through colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, ablism and other forms of oppression that hurt and divide us and that shape what sorts of knowledge are considered valuable.

We cannot cede the ideal of the university as a site for struggle and debate. We cannot permit the dissolution of proliferating research, ideas and innovations free from the demands and control of the market. We cannot watch as universities are degraded into a mere site for corporate or state-sponsored research and marketing. The time to mobilize is now!

This conference will connect and chart the varied struggles against neoliberal restructuring of the university inNorth Americaand beyond. We envision a series of debriefings on experiences of resistance, the creation of a cartography of local and global struggles, and a strategizing session for students, teachers, workers and activists. We aim to develop a North American network of struggles.

We encourage presentations that raise questions and generate dialogue among the rest of the participants. Ideally, submissions will indicate the specific outcomes they hope will emerge from the discussion. We encourage participation from those with first-hand experience of these crises, and those engaged in the fight for free and public post-secondary education, especially student groups and trade unions.

For a better future for all – join us!

POSSIBLE THEMES:

ü        Mapping the terrain of campus struggle inCanadaandNorth America

ü        Connecting with and learning from global struggles

ü        Waged and unwaged labour in the university

ü        Abolition of student debt

ü        The university and the occupy movement

ü        The cultural politics of the neoliberal university

ü        The death of the humanities

ü        Militarization of the university

ü        Intersections of university struggles other fights against oppression

ü        Environmental justice

ü        Beyond public education

ü        Radical pedagogy

ü        Academic freedom

ü        The politics of research funding

ü        The economics of the neoliberal university

ü        University and student governance

ü        The undergraduate experience of neoliberalism

ü        Alternative/free/autonomous universities

ü        Organizing the education factory

ü        The suppression of on-campus dissent and organization

Please email submissions to universityisours@gmail.com by January 16th.

Also,if you would like to attend the conference, please RSVP to the same address so organizers can plan for numbers.

This conference is organized by the Edu-factory Collective in collaboration with theUniversityofToronto General Assembly.

Edufactory: http://www.edu-factory.org/wp/

**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)

‘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

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