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POSTHEGEMONY AND METHOD
“POSTHEGEMONY” AND METHOD: A POSTGRADUATE WORKSHOP WITH DR JON BEASLEY-MURRAY
12 May 2012
Culture Lab
Newcastle University
Organiser: Dr Matt Davies (matt.davies@ncl.ac.uk)

The core concept at the foundation of Cultural Studies was “hegemony.” In the wake of the rebellions of the 1960s, as political and economic systems in both the developed core and the developing periphery appeared to be more stable than expected or as reactionary regimes settled in, theorists and observers in various disciplinary idioms set out to examine the persistent ideational basis for liberal political and economic systems. These thinkers found in the concept of hegemony a powerful notion that confirmed much of what they had suspected. The idea was taken up not only in Cultural Studies proper, but also in disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences: in Politics and in International Relations, in Literature and Linguistics,  in Film and Television, in Geography, in Sociology, in Development Economics.

But what theoretical work does the concept of hegemony do? What conception of politics does it presuppose, and what conception of culture? Is the concept tied, ontologically, to particular kinds of political and social formations? Given that hegemony describes particular structures and ways of knowing, what are its epistemological underpinnings? And, crucially given its multi-disciplinary applications, what are the methodological implications of hegemony?

This one-day workshop for postgraduates in the North East Doctoral Training Centre will explore these questions through dialogues between our postgraduate research students and Dr Jon Beasley-Murray, author of the 2010 ground-breaking critique of cultural studies, Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

Contributors to the workshop will participate in roundtable discussions with Dr Beasley-Murray and members of Newcastle University’s academic staff. Doctoral students will be asked to familiarize themselves with the arguments from Posthegemony and to prepare very short statements (maximum two sides of A4) regarding problems of method, problems with regard to hegemony, and/or problems regarding inter-disciplinarity for circulation at the workshop. These will be the basis for the day’s discussions.

Jon Beasley-Murray is a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University, thanks to a generous grant from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. His home institution is the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, where he lectures in Latin American Studies. He has published widely on Latin American culture and politics and on contemporary political theory and philosophy. He has made some interesting contributions to Wikipedia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Jbmurray), and he blogs at: http://posthegemony.blogspot.co.uk/.

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