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PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM MATTERS!

UPDATE 18th FEBRUARY 2011

SOAS Palestine Society Conference Organizing Collective

On 5-6 March 2011, the Palestine Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London will hold its seventh annual conference, “Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine. ” This year’s conference aims to understand Zionism as a settler colonial project which has, for more than a century, subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation and erasure in the pursuit of a new Jewish Israeli society. By organizing this conference, we hope to reclaim and revive the settler colonial paradigm and to outline its potential to inform and guide political strategy and mobilization.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often described as unique and exceptional with little resemblance to other historical or ongoing colonial conflicts. Yet, for Zionism, like other settler colonial projects such as the British colonization of Ireland or European settlement of North America, South Africa or Australia, the imperative is to control the land and its resources — and to displace the original inhabitants. Indeed, as conference keynote speaker Patrick Wolfe, one of the foremost scholars on settler colonialism and professor at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia, argues, “the logic of this project, a sustained institutional tendency to eliminate the Indigenous population, informs a range of historical practices that might otherwise appear distinct — invasion is a structure not an event.”

Therefore, the classification of the Zionist movement as a settler colonial project, and the Israeli state as its manifestation, is not merely intended as a statement on the historical origins of Israel, nor as a rhetorical or polemical device. Rather, the aim is to highlight Zionism’s structural continuities and the ideology which informs Israeli policies and practices in Palestine and toward Palestinians everywhere. Thus, the Nakba — whether viewed as a spontaneous, violent episode in war, or the implementation of a preconceived master plan — should be understood as both the precondition for the creation of Israel and the logical outcome of Zionist settlement in Palestine.

Moreover, it is this same logic that sustains the continuation of the Nakba today. As remarked by Benny Morris, “had he [David Ben Gurion] carried out full expulsion–rather than partial–he would have stabilised the State of Israel for generations.”[ii] Yet, plagued by an “instability”–defined by the very existence of the Palestinian nation–Israel continues its daily state practices in its quest to fulfil Zionism’s logic to maximize the amount of land under its control with the minimum number of Palestinians on it. These practices take a painful array of manifestations: aerial and maritime bombardment, massacre and invasion, house demolitions, land theft, identity card confiscation, racist laws and loyalty tests, the wall, the siege on Gaza, cultural appropriation, and the dependence on willing (or unwilling) native collaboration and security arrangements, all with the continued support and backing of imperial power.

Despite these enduring practices however, the settler colonial paradigm has largely fallen into disuse. As a paradigm, it once served as a primary ideological and political framework for all Palestinian political factions and trends, and informed the intellectual work of committed academics and revolutionary scholars, both Palestinians and Jews.

The conference thus asks where and why the settler colonial paradigm was lost, both in scholarship on Palestine and in politics; how do current analyses and theoretical trends that have arisen in its place address present and historical realities? While acknowledging the creativity of these new interpretations, we must nonetheless ask: when exactly did Palestinian natives find themselves in a “post-colonial” condition? When did the ongoing struggle over land become a “post-conflict” situation? When did Israel become a “post-Zionist” society? And when did the fortification of Palestinian ghettos and reservations become “state-building”?

Such an alignment would expand the tools available to Palestinians and their solidarity movement, and reconnect the struggle to its own history of anti-colonial internationalism. At its core, this internationalism asserts that the Palestinian struggle against Zionist settler colonialism can only be won when it is embedded within, and empowered by, the broader Arab movement for emancipation and the indigenous, anti-racist and anti-colonial movement-from Arizona to Auckland.

SOAS Palestine Society invites everyone to join us at what promises to be a significant intervention in Palestine activism and scholarship.

For over 30 years, SOAS Palestine Society has heightened awareness and understanding of the Palestinian people, their rights, culture, and struggle for self-determination, amongst students, faculty, staff, and the broader public. SOAS Palestine Society aims to continuously push the frontiers of discourse in an effort to make provocative arguments and to stimulate debate and organizing for justice in Palestine through relevant conferences, and events ranging from the intellectual and political impact of Edward Said’s life and work (2004), international law and the Palestine question (2005), the economy of Palestine and its occupation (2006), the one state (2007), 60 Years of Nakba, 60 Years of Resistance (2009), and most recently, the Left in Palestine (2010).

For more information on the SOAS Palestine Society 7th Annual Conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine: http://www.soaspalsoc.org

SOAS Palestine Society Organizing Collective is a group of committed students that has undertaken to organize annual academic conferences on Palestine since 2003.

First published on: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/661/past-is-present_settler-colonialism-matters
______

[i] Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event, Cassell, London, p. 163

[ii] Interview with Benny Morris, Survival of the Fittest, Haaretz, 9 – January 2004: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=5412

 Original Post, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine (including a detailed programme of the event), 25th January 2011, is at: https://rikowski.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/past-is-present-settler-colonialism-in-palestine/

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Gaza

PAST IS PRESENT: SETTLER COLONIALISM IN PALESTINE

7th Annual Conference
5- 6 March | Brunei Gallery | School of Oriental and African Studies – London

Organised by SOAS Palestine Society and hosted by the London Middle East Institute

For over a century, Zionism has subjected Palestine and Palestinians to a structural and violent form of destruction, dispossession, land appropriation, and erasure in the pursuit of a new colonial Israeli society. Too often, this Palestine ‘Question’ has been framed as unique; a national, religious, and/or liberation struggle with little semblance to colonial conflicts elsewhere. The two-day conference, Past is Present: Settler Colonialism in Palestine, seeks to reclaim settler colonialism as the central paradigm from which to understand Palestine. It asks: what are the socio-political, economic and spatial processes and mechanisms of settler colonialism in Palestine, and what are the logics underpinning it? By unearthing the histories and geographies of the Palestinian experience of settler colonialism, this conference does not only chart possibilities for understanding Palestine within comparative settler colonial analyses. Rather, it also seeks to break open frameworks binding Palestine, re-align the Palestinian movement within a universal history of decolonisation, and imagine new possibilities for Palestinian resistance, solidarity and common struggle.

Day One: Saturday, 5th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 9.00-9.30

Opening and Keynote: 9.30-10.15
Hassan Hakimian – London Middle East Institute

Not Another Racism: Zionism, a Logic of Elimination
Patrick Wolfe – La Trobe University

Session One – Empire, Settler Colonialism and Zionism: 10.45-12.15

Chair: Nelida Fuccaro – School of Oriental and African Studies

Playing the Zionist Card: The British Empire and the Middle East
John Newsinger – Bath Spa University

Literature of Settler Societies: Albert Camus, S. Yizhar, and Amos Oz
Gabriel Piterberg – University of California, Los Angeles

The Settler Colonialism Paradigm and its History in Revolutionary Palestinian Resistance Literature: Poetry and Politics
Naseer Aruri – University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Refreshments: 12.15-12.30

Session Two – Zionism Destroys to Replace: 12.30-14.00

Chair: Laleh Khalili – School of Oriental and African Studies

The Palestinian Labour Market and the Politics of Zionist Settler Colonialism
Gershon Shafir – University of California, San Diego

The Erasure of the Native
Ilan Pappe – University of Exeter

The Second Phase of the Settler Colonial Conquest of Palestine: The 1967 Allon Plan and the Search for a Zionist ‘Settlement’
Gilbert Achcar – School of Oriental and African Studies

Lunch: 14.00-14.45

Session Three – Zionism Controls the Native: 14.45-16.15

Chair: Ruba Salih – School of Oriental and African Studies

Chronicles of a Cultural Destruction: The Appropriation of Palestinian Knowledge during the 1948 War
Gish Amit – Ben-Gurion University

Indigenous Citizens and the Contradictions of Status amongst Palestinians in Israel
As’ad Ghanem – Ibn Khaldun, The Arab Association for Research and Development

Frontier Wars and Robotic Colonisation
Eyal Weizman – Goldsmiths College

Refreshments: 16.15-16.30

Session Four – A Political Economy of Settler Colonialism: 16.30-18.00

Chair: Elisa van Waeyenberge – School of Oriental and African Studies

A ‘Bad Lot’? Palestinian Businessmen and the British Colonial State
Sherene Seikaly – American University of Cairo

The Exploitation of the Palestinian Economy by Israel
Shir Hever – Alternative Information Center

Palestinian Capitalism, Regional Accumulation Processes and Implications for Liberation Strategy
Adam Hanieh – School of Oriental and African Studies

Day Two: Sunday 6th March 2011

Registration and Refreshments: 10.30-11.00

Keynote: 11.00-12.00

Letter from Gaza: On Colonialism, Capitalism and Resistance
Rabah Mohanna – Palestinian Legislative Council, Gaza

Session Five – Indigenous Life and the Reverberations of Settler Colonialism: 12.00-13.30

Chair: Lori Allen – University of Cambridge

Counterfeit Citizenship: On the Politics of Property in Nahr El-Bared
Monika Halkort – Queen’s University, Belfast

Ethnic Cleansing in the Naqab: The Razings of the Bedouin Village of Al-‘Araqib
Mansour Nsasra – University of Exeter

Policing, Self-Policing and Indigenous Collaboration
Mouin Rabbani – Institute of Palestine Studies

Lunch: 13.30-14.30

Session Six – Overcoming Zionism, Dismantling Settler Colonialism:  14.30-16.00

Chair: Jan Jananayagam – Tamils Against Genocide

Decolonising Settler Colonialisms
Lorenzo Veracini – Swinburne University of Technology

The Power and Pitfalls of a Support Movement: Campaigning Against the Jewish National Fund
Selma James – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Towards Common Liberation
Mezna Qato – University of Oxford

Refreshments: 16.00-16.15

Roundtable – Unsettling (Settler) Colonialism: 16.15-18.15

Tickets

Please note SEATS ARE LIMITED – book in advance

Price: £30 (£20 concessions, and £40 organisations) – all tickets include lunch and refreshments

To buy your tickets Online at: – http://www.soaspalsoc.org

By cheque: Send cheques payable to SOAS Palestine Society with attached note of email address to: SOAS Palestine Society, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H 0XG

Location:
SOAS Brunei Gallery
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
London, WC1H 0XG

Contact:
palestineconference@gmail.com
http://www.soaspalsoc.org

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Socialism and Hope

NEW INTERVENTIONS – VOLUME 13 NUMBER 3

New Interventions

New Interventions is a socialist magazine, independent of any party and of any left group. Our aim is to provide an open forum for all shades of radical left opinion. We believe that dialogue and discussion are particularly important at this time because of the collapse of the Soviet Union and official communist parties throughout the world, the increasing moves to the right of social democratic parties, and the sectarianism and bureaucratic centralism of left groups.

The latest issue of New Interventions (Volume 13, no 3) is now available.

Contents:

* Mike Belbin, Gone For a Soldier: The Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday

* Mike Jones, The British People Decide: But What?: The Con-Lib coalition and the Labour leadership competition

* Pat Byrne, A New Approach to Europe: How the left should deal with Europe

* Tikva Honig-Parnass, The Limitations of Post-Zionism: Disregarding the Palestinian national question

* Carré Rouge, Thinking About Communism: The relevance of communism in the twenty-first century

* Harry Ratner, Comments on ‘Thinking About Communism’: How might the left approach today’s problems?

* JJ Plant, Francisco Ferrer (1859-1909): Remembering the revolutionary educator

* Paul Flewers, Hitched On His Own Petard: Christopher Hitchens gets it wrong about Animal Farm

* Tawney’s Wit and Wisdom: Some political quips from Richard Henry Tawney

* Chris Gray, Second Glance: Looking at Robert Paxton’s analysis of fascism

* Graham Milner, Rudyard Kipling and British Imperialism: Assessing one of Britain’s major poets

* Reviews — The Invention of the Jewish People

* Letters — Stalinism and Revolution; Yugoslavia

Copies £2.00 plus p+p from Dave Spencer at: drdavidspencer@talktalk.net

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ARABS AND ISRAELIS FACING THE HOLOCAUST AND THE NAKBA

LONDON MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE

School of Oriental and African Studies

TUESDAY EVENING LECTURE PROGRAMME ON

THE CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST: AUTUMN 2010

The LMEI’s Tuesday Lecture on 19 October will take the form of a panel debate on the subject of Gilbert Achcar’s book The Arabs and the Holocaust, please see below for details.

ORGANISED IN ASSOCIATION WITH SAQI BOOKS

Arabs and Israelis Facing the Holocaust and the Nakba

Gilbert Achcar, SOAS

Nur Masalha, Centre for Religion and History and the Holy Land Research Project, St Mary’s University College, University of Surrey

Idith Zertal, Institute for Jewish Studies, University of Basel

Chair: Deniz Kandiyoti, SOAS

Tuesday 19 October – 6.00pm

Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

All Welcome

This lecture is free and there is no need to book.

Tea and biscuits are available from 5.30pm in the Brunei Suite

For further information contact:

The London Middle East Institute at SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street,

Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG, T: 020 7898 4330; F: 020 7898 4329,

E: lmei@soas.ac.uk, W: www.lmei.soas.ac.uk

Participants:

Idith Zertal is an Israeli historian and essayist, professor of contemporary history and senior research fellow at the Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Basel. Previously she has been teaching at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the Hebrew University Jerusalem. Her works include From Catastrophe to Power, Holocaust Survivors and the Emergence of Israel (1996, 2000); Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel’s Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007 (co-authored with Akiva Eldar, 2005, 2007); and Israel’s Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (2005, new ed. 2010, original ed. in Hebrew in 2002), which has been published in eight languages. In 2005 she co-edited and co-authored Hannah Arendt: A Half Century of Polemics, a collection of essays by Israeli scholars on Arendt’s political thought.

Nur Masalha is a Palestinian historian, currently Professor of Religion and Politics and Director of the Centre for Religion and History and the Holy Land Research Project at St Mary’s University College, London, and Professorial Research Associate, Department of History, SOAS. He has also taught at Birzeit University, Palestine, and is the editor of Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal. He authored and edited many books, including Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 (1992); A Land Without a People (1997); Imperial Israel and the Palestinians (2000); The Politics of Denial: Israel and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (2003); Catastrophe Remembered (2005); and The Bible and Zionism: Invented Traditions, Archaeology and Post-Colonialism in Palestine-Israel (2007).

Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. He grew up in Lebanon and moved to Europe in 1983. Before joining SOAS in 2007, he taught and researched at the University of Paris-VIII and the French-German Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin. His works includeThe Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder (2002, 2nd ed. 2006), published in 13 languages; The 33-Day War: Israel’s War against Hezbollah in Lebanon and Its Consequences (with Michel Warschawski, 2007); Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-authored with Noam Chomsky (2007, 2nd ed. 2008). His latest book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, came out recently in Beirut, Cairo, London, New York and Paris.

 — 
Gilbert Achcar
Professor of Development Studies & International Relations
University of London – School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Russell Square – Thornhaugh Street
London WC1H 0XG
Phone +44 (0)20 7898 4557
Webpage: http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff30529.php
Latest book: http://us.macmillan.com/thearabsandtheholocaust
http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/display.asp?isb=9780863566394
Most recent reviews: http://www.economist.com/node/16789290
http://www.laviedesidees.fr/Hitler-the-Arabs-and-the-Jews.html
Forthcoming event: 
http://www.soas.ac.uk/lmei/events/cme/19oct2010-arabs-and-israelis-facing-the-holocaust-and-the-nakba.html

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Gaza

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Socialism and Hope

INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW 72

ISSUE 72:
July-August 2010

¡Todos Somos Arizona!

Letter from the editors

http://www.isreview.org/index.shtml

ANALYSIS IN BRIEF

Sharon Smith
Laws that need breaking: It’s impossible to avoid comparing Arizona today to the South in the era of Jim Crow

PLUS: plus Nicole Colson on abortion rights in peril; Giles Ji Ungpakorn on the Red Shirt revolt in Thailand; John Pilger on the modern class war in Greece

COLUMN

Phil Gasper • Critical thinking

Economic crisis and class struggle: Are recessions better for the left or the right?

FEATURES

Orlando Sepúlveda
¡Todos somos Arizona!
The revival of the immigrant rights movement since the passage of SB1070

Noam Chomsky, interviewed by David Barsamian
The new imperialism

Tikva Honig-Parnass
Apartheid Israel and the contradictions of left Zionism

Dave Zirin
Women, gender, and sports

Eric Kerl
Contemporary anarchism

Chris Williams
Marxism and the environment
The real track record, from Marx and Engels to the Bolsheviks and beyond: An excerpt from the New Ecology and Socialism

Frances Fox Piven
The working class in the Great Depression
A celebrated left sociologist introduces new editions of Irving Bernstein’s The Lean Years and The Turbulent Years

BOOK REVIEWS

Michael Steven Smith and Paul Le Blanc
Learning from a revolutionary
Review of Peter Camejo’s memoir, North Star

Sherry Wolf
Are men really better athletes?
Review of Playing with the Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal

PLUS: Greg Love on the business of capturing and transporting Africans to be slaves; Ashley Smith on Dilip Hiro’s After Empire: Helen Redmond on why surgical errors are no accident; Paul D’Amato on Lenin’s Marxism

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Recession 2

INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM 127

Out now!

http://www.isj.org.uk

This issue leads with an article on “Marxism and feminism today”. Neoliberal capitalism promised women genuine equality and personal fulfilment. But the realities of women’s oppression persist, reinforced by a debased culture of lap-dancing and cosmetic surgery that has taken the transformation of women into objects to new extremes. This has provoked a new wave of feminism in reaction.

Judith Orr gives the new feminism a critical welcome, arguing for a materialist analysis of the relationship between women’s oppression and class exploitation. Genuine liberation, she concludes, is inseparable from the struggle against capitalism.

The issue also includes interviews with Shlomo Sand (author of The Invention of the Jewish People) and Richard Wilkinson (co-author of The Spirit Level). John Newsinger looks at the great wave of sit-down strikes in the mid-1930s that broke bosses’ resistance to the unionisation of basic industry in the United States. Gonzalo Pozo looks at the theory of the permanent arms economy developed by Tony Cliff, Mike Kidron, and Chris Harman. The late French Marxist philosopher Daniel Bensaïd is remembered in an article by Sebastian Budgen. Plus analysis, feedback, reviews and pick of the quarter

Issue 127

Analysis
The mould cracks

Marxism and feminism today
Judith Orr

Interview: Zionism, socialism and nationalism
Shlomo Sand & John Rose

Interview: Reviving the spirit of equality
Richard G Wilkinson & Iain Ferguson

1937: the year of the sitdown
John Newsinger

Reassessing the permanent arms economy
Gonzalo Pozo

The Red Hussar: Daniel Bensaïd, 1946-2010
Sebastian Budgen

Empire and literature
Gareth Jenkins

Feedback

Another side of anarchism
Ian Birchall

A response to the sex work debate
Gareth Dale and Xanthe Whittaker

Book reviews

Economic development
Joseph Choonara

Sharing history
Penny McCall Howard

Gramsci rendered whole
Chris Bambery

Driving American decline
G Francis Hodge

Philosophy on the barricades
Stacey Whittle

Drama in three acts
Louis Bayman

Dispelling “the Malthus myth”
Martin Empson

Poles apart?
Adam Fabry

Irrational records
Paul Blackledge

Contesting the revolutionary tradition
Leo Zeilig

Pick of the quarter

This quarter’s selection

To order, contact the office on 020 7819 1177, email isj@swp.org.uk or visit the website at http://www.isj.org.uk/index.php4?s=buy

DON’T FORGET MARXISM 2010 STARTS ON THURSDAY – http://www.marxismfestival.org.uk

International Socialism
http://www.isj.org.uk
+44 (0)20 7819 1177

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Peter McLaren

ACADEMIC REPRESSION

http://www.akpress.org/2010/items/academicrepression

Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex

Peter McLaren (Editor), Steven Best (Editor), and Anthony J. Nocella II (Editor)

The extreme repressive attacks on Churchill, Finklstein, Fontan, Best, Massad, the “Dirty Thirty,” and many others represented in this book demonstrate the repressive logic of “US democracy,” whereby political elites, the mass media, and the education system establish and police the parameters of acceptable discourse. Churchill became America’s own Salman Rushdie terrorized by the fatwa of the right. Unprecedented for the media coverage given to a professor (in a mass media culture that virtually ignores substantive ideas in favor of spectacle and sensationalism) the Churchill affair was, however, just one of many cases of attacks on academic freedom that eerily evoke the tyranny of the McCarthy era where actors were blacklisted and professors were fired for having even liberal views or showing dissent against state repression. While there has been much research on political repression carried out by the Bush administration, FBI, and various law enforcement agencies, there has been little discussion on political 
repression in academia and how the shockwaves of 9/11 have reverberated throughout academia. This anthology brings together prominent academics who contribute original essays commissioned for this volume. The writers are known and respected figures in their respective fields, and many have experienced academic repression first-hand.

This volume aims to be a cogent intervention in debates over free speech, culture wars, and academic freedom. Given that the importance of free speech to academic life, and the crucial role universities play in the intellectual life of cultures as a whole, a volume addressing the political environment of universities in the current period promises to make a significant contribution.

Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex (AK Press), is a much needed book on a topic that has seen little attention. Since 9/11 the Bush Administration has ventured to every campus influencing and forcing change by administration to handover faculty, staff, and student work to be flagged as possible signs of threatening behavior. While there have been numerous books on academic freedom, that topic is outdated and something that arguably does not exist on U.S. campus soil anymore. This volume addresses not only overt attacks on critical or radical thinking, it also – following socioeconomic trends unfolding for decades – engages the broad structural determinants of academic culture. Slowly but surely, the university is being transformed from a space for free thinking, experimentation, and philosophical education in the broadest sense into a narrow, restrictive, utilitarian institution that serves the technical needs of corporations, government, science and technology, and the military. Thus, as emphasized by numerous contributors, the ultimate cause of repression is not the academy itself, but contemporary capitalist society as a whole, which strongly shapes the structure, function, and priorities of higher education. This volume shows that while universities are crucial sites of socialization in capitalist ideologies and utilitarian performance, they are not monolithic citadels or homogeneous systems of thought that grind out in assembly-line fashion each and every student into the service of capitalism. For just as universities can train tomorrow’s FBI and CIA agents, so they can breed the next generation of radicals, resisters, saboteurs, and revolutionaries.

The university is a contested political space for three reasons. First, it is home to a diversity of viewpoints, ranging from far-right to far-left, from Christian to Muslim, from white to black, Indian, or Chicano/a, from speciesist to animal liberationist, and from heterosexual to gay/lesbian. Second, despite broad and growing trends of repression, there are varying degrees of tolerance for the discussion of non-mainstream or radical ideas in classrooms and campus life. Third, however uncritical, conditioned, and conformist some students might be, they have the potential (often actualized) to discuss, debate, and think critically about issues such as US colonialism, slavery, sexism, and speciesism, and professors, staff, and students – consciously or unconsciously – cannot socialize all of them into their own worldviews and politics.

— Nocella, Best, and McLaren

About the Editors:
Anthony J. Nocella, II is completing his doctoral work at Syracuse University. He is a Visiting Scholar of SUNY Cortland’s Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice (CEPS) and is teaching classes in Sociology and Criminology at Le Moyne College.

Steven Best is Associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Peter McLaren is Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK:

This courageous and chilling book reminds us that the Academy is always a context for intellectual exchange and political struggle. Don’t miss it! — Cornel West, Princeton University

This book takes us into the Corporate University, and it’s not a pretty sight. From firing critical thinkers to putting students in debt, the system is failing America. Time to take it back by fighting for free higher education. — Jim Hightower, populist speaker and editor of the “Hightower Lowdown”

The university should be a place of freedom not a battlefield where the military industrial complex is launching its most violent attack yet on the future of education. Nocella, Best, and McLaren shows us that education must be protected if we want peace and social justice for the world. Read now! — Cindy Sheehan, Peace Activist and Founder of “Gold Star Families for Peace”

To the litany of claims by academics that the university is a safe haven for intellectual and political dissent, this book offers a convincing counter-argument. Academic Repression is a long overdue collective study of the long and sorry history of violations of academic freedom, iconoclastic thought and political dissent in US institutions of higher education. The editors have assembled an impressive group of scholars who, often through personal experience as much as analytic acuity, have supplied us with commentary as much as documentation of the central thesis of the book. This book should be required reading in all of the social sciences, humanities and education courses. —
Stanley Aronowitz, author of “The Knowledge Factory: Dismantling the Corporate University and Creating True Higher Learning”

Absolutely and utterly indispensible as we chart a way forward and attempt to finally turn the page on an era best left in the dustbin of history. It’s a first round knock out. — Dave Zirin, author APHOS

For over half a century, matters of knowledge and education have been central to the political struggles shaping our world, and the university has been a primary battleground. This collection is a chilling and powerful survey of contemporary battles, their stakes and possibilities. We should all be scared, and we should all concerned enough to take a stand. — Dr. Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Using the tired canards of anti-semitism, terrorism and radicalism, rightwing zealots are carrying out a merciless campaign of ideological cleansing on American campuses, often with the shameful complicity of university administrators. Academic Repression takes you to the frontlines of this fierce battle for the mind, telling stories of
purges, institutional cowardice and resistance. Here at last is a strategic plan for how to fight back against the New McCarthyites. Read it twice and then throw the book at them. — Jeffrey St. Clair, author Born Under a Bad Sky, co-editor of CounterPunch

Freedom of speech in the academy is a cornerstone of democracy — fascism always creeps closely behind intellectual repression, and we are not immune from the virus. If you want to understand how rocky our freedoms are today, pick up this book, read it, and join the fight to end censorship in all of its imperialist forms. — Joshua Frank, co-author with Jeffrey St. Clair of the forthcoming Green Scare: The Government’s New War on Environmentalism

The powers-that-be are uncomfortable with academic freedom because when one investigates any political, social, economic or even scientific issue thoroughly, a leftwing analysis will tend to emerge. Thinking is dangerous for them. This book is full of the stories and observations of some of the greatest thinkers alive today. — David Rovics, Singer-Songwriter

The editors have drawn together a diverse and competent group of scholars to assess critically the climate of academic repression. This is an essential book for anyone with a deep concern for the future of the academy. It will help raise awareness of crucial issues that face the universities. We ignore this challenge at our peril. — Dr. Andrew Fitz-Gibbon, Director, Center for Ethics, Peace and Social Justice, SUNY Cortland

As the editors and contributors of this valuable collection make clear, American academia has long been a combat zone, and never more than today. Eternal vigilance, and constant struggle, remain the watchwords if the free expression of thought upon which a good society depends is to be realized. — Joel Kovel, author of “Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine”

—————————————————

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE BOOK:

William Armaline

John Asimakopoulos

Bill Ayers

Liat Ben-Moshe

Michael Bérubé

Carl Boggs

Marc Bousquet

A. Peter Castro

Ward Churchill

Dana Cloud

Sumi E. Colligan

Maria E. Cotera

Christian Davenport

Victoria Fontan

Takis Fotopoulos

Henry Giroux

Adam Habib

Joy James

Robert Jensen

Richard Kahn

Caroline Kaltefleiter

Doug Kellner

Mark LeVine

Bill Martin

Peter McLaren

Micere M. Githae Mugo

Mechthild Nagel

Cary Nelson

Michael Parenti

Emma Perez

Mark Rupert

Rik Scarce

Deric Shannon

Stephen Sheehi

Amory Starr

Gregory Tropea

Ali Zaidi

Howard Zinn

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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

Daniel Bensaid

DANIEL BENSAID – OBITUARY

Daniel Bensaïd obituary
French philosopher and leading figure in the events of 1968
   
By Tariq Ali

The Guardian, 14th January 2010

Online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/14/daniel-bensaid-obituary

The French philosopher Daniel Bensaïd, who has died aged 63 of cancer, was one of the most gifted Marxist intellectuals of his generation. In 1968, together with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, he helped to form the Mouvement du 22 Mars (the 22 March Movement), the organisation that helped to detonate the uprising that shook France in May and June of that year. Bensaïd was at his best explaining ideas to large crowds of students and workers. He could hold an audience spellbound, as I witnessed in his native Toulouse in 1969, when we shared a platform at a rally of 10,000 people to support Alain Krivine, one of the leaders of the uprising, in his presidential campaign, standing for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR).

Bensaïd’s penetrating analysis was never presented in a patronising way, whatever the composition of the audience. His ideas derived from classical Marxism – Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, as was typical in those days – but his way of looking at and presenting them was his own. His philosophical and political writings have a lyrical ring – at particularly tedious central committee meetings, he could often be seen immersed in Proust – and resist easy translation into English.

As a leader of the LCR and the Fourth International, to which it was affiliated, Bensaïd travelled a great deal to South America, especially Brazil, and played an important part in helping to organise the Workers Party (PT) currently in power there under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. An imprudent sexual encounter shortened Bensaïd’s life. He contracted Aids and, for the last 16 years, was dependent on the drugs that kept him going, with fatal side-effects: a cancer that finally killed him.

Physically, he became a shadow of his former self, but the intellect was not affected and he produced more than a dozen books on politics and philosophy. He wrote of his Jewishness and that of many other comrades and how this had never led him, or most of them, to follow the path of a blind and unthinking Zionism. He disliked identity politics and his last two books – Fragments Mécréants (An Unbeliever’s Discourse, 2005) and Eloge de la Politique Profane (In Praise of Secular Politics, 2008) – explained how this had become a substitute for serious critical thought.

He was France’s leading Marxist public intellectual, much in demand on talkshows and writing essays and reviews in Le Monde and Libération. At a time when a large section of the French intelligentsia had shifted its terrain and embraced neoliberalism, Bensaïd remained steadfast, but without a trace of dogma. Even in the 1960s he had avoided leftwing cliches and thought creatively, often questioning the verities of the far left.

He was schooled at the lycées Bellevue and Fermat in Toulouse, but the formative influence was that of his parents and their milieu. His father, Haim Bensaïd, was a Sephardic Jew from a poor family in Algeria and moved from Mascara to Oran, where he got a job as a waiter in a cafe, but soon discovered his real vocation. He trained as a boxer, becoming the welterweight champion of north Africa.

Daniel’s mother, Marthe Starck, was a strong and energetic Frenchwoman from a working-class family in Blois, central France. At 18 she moved to Oran. She met the boxer and fell in love. The French colons were shocked and tried hard to persuade her not to marry a Jew. She was bound to get VD and have abnormal children, they said.

With France occupied by the Germans and a bulk of the country’s elite in collaborationist mode with its capital at Vichy, the French colonial administration fell into line. As a Jew, Daniel’s father was arrested, but he managed to escape from the PoW camp, and rashly decided to go to Toulouse, where Marthe helped him obtain false papers. Armed with a new identity, he bought a bistro, Le Bar des Amis. Unlike his two brothers, who were killed during the occupation, he survived, thanks largely to his wife, who had an official Vichy certificate stating her “non-membership of the Jewish race”.

In his affecting memoir, Une Lente Impatience (2004), Daniel noted that these barbarities had taken place on French soil only a few decades prior to 1968. Le Bar des Amis, he wrote, was a cosmopolitan location frequented by Spanish refugees, Italian antifascists, former resistance fighters and a variety of workers, with the local Communist party branch holding its meetings there too. Given his mother’s fierce republican and Jacobin views (when a relative, after a French television programme on the British monarchy, expressed doubts about the guillotining of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Marthe did not speak to her for 10 years), it would have been odd if young Bensaïd had become a monarchist.

Angered by the massacre of Algerians at the Métro Charonne in 1961 (ordered by Maurice Papon, chief of police and a former Nazi collaborator), he joined the Union of Communist Students, but soon became irritated by party orthodoxy and joined a left opposition within the union organised by Henri Weber (currently a Socialist party senator in the upper house) and Alain Krivine. The Cuban revolution and Che Guevara’s odyssey did the rest. The dissidents were expelled from the party in 1966.

That same year, Bensaïd was admitted to the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Saint-Cloud and moved to Paris. Here he helped found the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire (JCR), young dissidents inspired by Guevara and Trotsky, which later morphed into the LCR.

The last time I met him, a few years ago, in his favourite cafe in Paris’s Latin Quarter, he was in full flow. The disease had not sapped his will to live or to think. Politics was his lifeblood. We talked about social unrest in France and whether it would be enough to bring about serious change. He shrugged his shoulders. “Perhaps not in our lifetimes, but we carry on fighting. What else is there to do?”

Daniel Bensaïd, philosopher, born 25 March 1946; died 12 January 2010

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

TWO TALKS BY SHLOMO SAND IN NYC

 

TALK  BY  PROFESSOR  SHLOMO  SAND, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY,  UNIVERSITY  OF  TEL  AVIV, ON  HIS  NEWLY TRANSLATED  BOOK, THE  INVENTION  OF  THE  JEWISH  PEOPLE

”This may be the most important and most surprising book on Zionism, Israel and Judaism written in the last fifty years. Nothing in the Middle East looks the same after reading it. To whet your desire to attend the talk, I’ve appended a brief sketch of some of the major themes in the book at the end of this announcement. I’ve also booked a large hall for Sand’s talk (SEE BELOW), so please pass this announcement on to friends, students and colleagues who are (or should be) interested in these subjects”–Bertell Ollman

BRECHT FORUM –
451  WEST  STREET  (BETWEEN BANK  AND  BETHUNE  STREETS,  THAT IS  ON THE CORNER OF WHAT WOULD BE ABOUT 12TH STREET AND THE WEST SIDE HIGHWAY)

DATE /  TIME  – THURSDAY,  OCTOBER 15  –  7:30 – 10:00 PM
(In Discussion with Professor Joel Kovel, Bard College, author of OVERCOMING ZIONISM)

***

MARXIST THEORY COLLOQUIUM AT NYU

DATE / TIME – FRIDAY, OCTOBER  16   –   4:15 – 6:15 PM
(Please note new date and later starting time)
PLACE  – MEYER HALL,  N.Y.U., 4 WASHINGTON PLACE (between West 4th Street and Waverly Place, just west of Broadway), Room 121. (Please note new place)

SPEAKER: – PROFESSOR SHLOMO SAND
Sand is a much published professor in the Dept. of History at Tel Aviv University specializing in the history of ideas. His most recent book is THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE.  It is an extremely scholarly, very original, and often shocking work – the title is meant literally – with profound implications for Zionism and the ongoing conflict between Israel and its neighbors. I can’t recall when last I – Bertell – learned so much about both nationalism and Zionism from any book. It was a best seller and caused a huge scandal when it appeared a couple of years ago in Israel and another scandal when the French edition appeared last year. Sand will be in the U.S. for a week promoting the English edition of the book. For more, see reviews and interviews in English at: http://inventionofthejewishpeope.com      

TOPIC – “THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE”

DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

*********MEDIA – Professor Sand has a few time slots available for interviews with the media during his stay in New York (Oct. 15 – 18). Those of you in the media (or who have contacts in the media) who are interested in interviewing him, should write to Julie McCarroll, his editor at Verso Books at juliem@versobooks.com

******************* NYU REQUIRES A PHOTO I.D.TO GET INTO ALL OF ITS BUILDINGS

BRIEF SKETCH OF SAND’S BOOK

THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE  is divided into two parts. The first is a long section on the theory of nationalism, whose main characteristic, according to Sand, is the tendency to invent a past that suits the current needs and goals of the people in question. This is not a new idea (Benedict Anderson and Ernest Gellner have presented versions of it), but this is the best account of it that I have read. Second, there follows a much longer section on Zionism, Judaism and Israel, in light of the earlier discussion of nationalism. Most of this long book is devoted to showing with a great deal of evidence and arguments from several different disciplines that most of Jewish history has been invented.

The turning point is the supposed expulsion of the Jews from Palestine by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. (apparently, there is no evidence for this; the Roman’s never engaged in such mass expulsions; and most of the Jews in Palestine at the time were peasants living in the countryside, who would not be directly affected by the destruction of Jerusalem).

This raises two key questions: 1) Where did the large Jewish populations that turn up later throughout the rest of the Middle East and Europe come from, if they were not descended from people who were expelled from Palestine by the Romans? Sand’s answer is that most of them came from mass conversions of peoples to Judaism that occurred in at least three different places and times between the destruction of the Second Temple and the early modern period. (He also shows that some mass conversions of people to Judaism took place in Palestine even before the destruction of the Second Temple. So the practice of converting people, even large groups of people, to Judaism is not as unknown to the history of Judaism as is commonly believed.)

Probably the biggest mass conversion took place in Khazaria, a Turkamen empire between the Caspian and the Black Sea between the 8th and 11th century A.D., which was destroyed in the 11th century by attacks from Russians, with most of its Jewish population migrating west into eastern Europe. Together with a somewhat later, smaller, more prosperous and more cultured Jewish migration from Western Europe through Germany, they became the future Jews of Poland, Russia, Hungary, etc.

A second mass conversion in the period after the destruction of the Second Temple took place among several Berber tribes in North Africa in the 6th century A.D., though many conversions to Judaism occurred in and around what had been Carthage and other coastal towns in North Africa before that. When the Arabs brought Islam to these lands a century later, they showed their typical respect for the “people of the book” by not forcing them to adopt their religion. Then, when North African Muslims (not Arabs from Arabia) invaded Spain in 711 A.D., Jewish Berbers made up a good part of their army, and included at least one general. Many of them settled in Spain, and became the core of what we call the Spanish Jews. The third big conversion(s) occurred in Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian 
peninsula, which had a large number of Jews from very early on, including at least one Jewish king in the 6th century A.D., who tried to convert  his subjects to Judaism.

Granted that some Jews already lived throughout the Middle East and Southern Europe before the destruction of the Second Temple – but if we add up all the mass conversions to Judaism that occurred after this event, it appears that the bulk of world Jewry from the early middle ages on were descended from people who never set foot in Palestine. Which raises, of course, the next key question – what happened to the Jews who were still in Palestine after the destruction of the Second Temple? Where did they go? Sand’s answer is that they didn’t go anywhere. They are today’s Palestinians, most of whom converted to Islam in the early years of Islam’s expansion into the rest of the Middle-East. These are not unsupported conjectures, for the great strength of Sand’s book lies in the enormous wealth of evidence and careful, scholarly argumentation he offers for each of his claims.

Where does all this leave the central idea that underlies the whole Zionist project: that Jews everywhere have not only a duty but a right to return to “their original homeland”, Palestine? I can’t think of a more fundamental critique of Zionism and therefore of Israel too than the one found in Sand’s book. No serious reader who is interested in Zionism or Israel – whatever their personal views  – can avoid being shaken up “big-time” by Sand’s impressive redrawing of the major religious and “racial” boundaries that are usually taken for granted in most discussion of these subjects.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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

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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