Monthly Archives: March 2010

Scott McQuire at Goldsmiths 28.6.2010

CCS Guest Lecture:

‘Networked cultures and participatory public space’

Scott McQuire (University of Melbourne, author of “The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space”)

28 June 2010 at 5pm, Goldsmiths Cinema (Richard Hoggart Bldg)

All Welcome

Borg USA

The winner of the design for the headquarters of “compelling all nations to adopt the bourgeois mode of production” is a thief. KieranTimberlake seems to have copied the idea for the building to house the London US Embassy directly from the lovable integrators of Star Trek fame – its a Borg Cube! Where is Captain Janeaway when we need her? (no, not that crazed Mentat. We are doomed). In all other respects the building is a great idea – yup, lets build a postmodern castle with a moat, just to emphasize how unlovable US bureaucracy can be.

Sent down – riotinto

Riotinto cowboys locked up by a Chinese court, the ringleader gets ten years. I think i’ll send a postcard.

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A Shanghai court on Monday sentenced a Chinese-Australian executive of Rio Tinto to 7 years in prison on Monday on charges of accepting bribes and 5 years on charges of stealing commercial secrets.

The Shanghai Intermediate People’s Court said Stern Hu, who headed Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in China, will serve 10 years, with part of the sentences running concurrently, and will also be fined 500,000 yuan ($73,250), and have 500,000 yuan worth of assets confiscated.

Three other Rio executives, all Chinese nationals, were also sentenced to between 7 and 14 years in prison on bribery and secrets charges.

The court said the infringement of commercial secrets caused a great loss to Chinese steel mills, putting them in a disadvantageous position in iron ore pricing talks.

More here.

The View from on High.

A month ago new pics were released from nearly ten years ago in New York. Interesting – a view from above.

Seeing these images, and the way that this is still identifiably New York despite the dust, and the death that we know lies as under a shroud below (and the years of death to follow in the new imperialism) – this vertical perspective evokes that city like no other. I am forcibly struck by how this is not at all like looking down on London. It seems somehow important. Sure, most of us do look down on London in some way nearly every day (but not always from high buildings, or from a helicopter [though right now I am typing this from the eight floor of the New Cross estate tower block - with superb views]). Our usual view of London from ‘above’ is more or less glossy, and typically stylized: the tube view of London is that of the visitor who does not yet ‘get’ that the tube map is more art, not a guide to space – the stations are closer or much further apart than the design indicates (the tube map is a simplified, relative view of the network, where lines run only vertically, horizontally, or on 45 degree diagonals. It was designed by Harry Beck in 1931). The contrast with the horizontal evokes the visitors’ view of New York which must necessarily involve looking up from the street (or down from a plane as a prelude to control, Dick Tracy, Spiderman, Google™). In New York the skyscrapers fascinate the visitors from out of town, while the locals seem more concerned with moving across the grid. Recall the fabled comment of the film auteur Antonioni that he would only make a film in New York if the rectangle of the cinema screen were built on a vertical axis. This was reinforced in the televised scenes of downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001 – the view as if in cinemascope from uptown or from Brooklyn just made the event look like a motion picture spectacle. But on the street, passers-by looked up aghast and saw their city anew. That I think was the strange thing of the day, well one of the strange things.

I recall TV images of people on the street that day staring up at the towers shocked and awed as the planes crashed into the buildings and they fell. Tourists aside, this looking up is usually unusual. Quotidian street protocol does not often include such moments – people look up at advertising hoardings, or the increasingly prevalent public screens of the city, tourists gawp at skyscrapers, but generally city folk mind their own business and carry on. Head down, sidewalk traffic, hustle and bustle, going somewhere. It was much more besides, but September 11 in New York was a neck strain, televised to all.

The people of the street are quintessentially the crowd, the masses of festivals, street party (lights out in New York), café’s (Ash Amin conducting a seminar), conviviality, the rows of shops, the enticements to buy, the seductions of commodification that grab us and make as part of the all consuming apparatus. The street market, with its connections and flows – commerce to the illicit trades, drugs, street people, organized crime, sex work (Berman 2006), restaurants, fashion, fantasy, spectacle (also Berman 2006). All the time careful to note as we pass: the infrastructure of the street; power supplies, underground cables, roadworks, traffic disruptions; a massive network of material labour which still produces the street; lighting: the streets as avenues of neon. CCTV, security guards, doormen, Jane Jacobs, out for a stroll. Taxis – in Cairo I am hailed by a taxi driver who says, without taking a breath: “in my taxi I will take you anywhere you want to go to my brother’s emporium” (see also Mathew 2005, and Kalra 2000b). Marshall escorts his students to his favourite bar. Cars and trucks: delivery vehicles, lorries, buses. The street also as the site of accidents, car crashes, stalled or too fast, traffic; bars, cafes, street food; cinemas, amusement arcades. Pollution – sewerage, drains, the gutter – rubbish, garbage disposal – Boy George working off his community service; rag-pickers – detritus held up to the gloaming by Siegfried Kracauer, who was not the least of these, whatever Benjamin says. Who makes and maintains the street? Monsieur Hulot has been mechanized, the steamroller more rapidly paves what took aeons before, a team of pavers pave the footpaths and painters paint the signage in rapid time.

The rackets, the numbers, dealers, look-outs, scams, pyramid schemes; passport and visa forgers, job search entrepreneurs, denizens of the doorstep, visitors to the soup kitchens, survival strategies of the many; looking out for the street-peddlers, the organ-grinders, and if we are lucky, the lazzaroni; if we are hungry, the Iskon krisna consciousness devotees offering free vegetarian recipe booklets; muggers, petty thugs, street-smarts, wise-guys, the cleaner, the fixer, marabout (Simone 2004:41); criminal slumlords, drunks, musicians; money-changers; carum players and pan-handlers, Reclaim the night, dykes on bikes, the strip, at sunset, and after hours, arcade workers, meter maids, hawkers, buskers, vendors of sweets and treats. Exchange at this level involves all sorts of informal economic connections. I walk with a roll of money seeking trinkets, transgressions and the routines of my 24 hours. The city is alive, has a pulse, skips a beat. Marshall Berman stops and shows me a sign in Times Square. There are all sorts of mixings, the transgressive has become the rule. For sale as well – everything on offer. Multiplicity with corporate sponsorship, and always escaping the ratchet that would bolt everything down and stop it from moving, pluralizing, hybridizing.

The street is horizontal plane – if we go up the lifts of the towers, even those in the Eiffel tower, we see the city as plan, as flattened space. But this view from the gods erases diversity and community in favour of a privileged and sanitized position. On the horizontal plane, the issues are about sanitary drainage and the cacophony of the crowd. This evokes the class and racial hierarchies of the Megacity which are visible at street level just as much, if not more, than in the high-rise and boardroom. An equally important but less uniform global heterotopia assembles at street level – in what has been called a culture of congestion – the ‘urban jungle’ is worryingly described as a ‘potent yet troubling term’ (Cairns 2000:125). There are reasons to both valourize and worry over this scene, since jungle bunnies is an unhelpful designation. Even as the ethnicity of the street-scape is apparent, it cannot be adequately discussed without reference to shifting articulations of racial hierarchy, national chauvinism, communal politics and geo-imperial consequences such as the war on terror or economic restructuring. Los Angeles as city of migration is differently diasporic than the migrations that have swollen Mumbai or Shanghai. The Megacity is always one of movement and babel.

Street politics also deserves mention, the tunes are buzzing round my brain, the page is organized to the tunings of ‘Street Fightin Man’, by the Rolling Stones; in cinema everywhere there would be moves from ;The Commune; or ‘Favela Rising’, Watts to the blak bloc; marchin’ chargin’ feet, offering rehearsals for police crowd control; the over policing of Eid in Manchester has a different soundtrack, sirens and bhangra; in Brick Lane street bombs made of nails, racists attack; on May day there are anti capitalist and anti-war rallies, and these affirmations of the spirit (Rosie) also serve as exercises in crowd control – hasn’t this always been necessary in the Capital? There is a history of house to house street fighting that stretches the horror from Berlin to Nablus to Falluja; the future urban wars will be still more brutal – and on to the future – ‘Terminator’ chronicles devastation, or ‘Bladerunner’ with its polyglot urban chiasmus that has been recreated so often in subsequent films like ‘The Fifth Element’… Slum clearance in honour of Indira’s lost son Sanjay Gandhi, who died in a plane stunt … The reserve army of labour is currently living in dormitory metropolises, 85% ‘occupy property illegally’ – if one accepts a notion of legal property at all in such a context, as Mike Davis suggests: ‘Street vendors and informal sector entrepreneurs’, as well as regularized low level service sector workers, often squat in subsistence accommodation within (long commuting) reach of the inner urban centres of commerce and wealth. In what Mike Davis calls ‘Haussman in the tropics’, the ongoing ‘conflict with the poor’ characterizes the situation of ‘most Third World city governments’ (Davis 2006a:99). Although his capitalization of the relational-hierarchical term ‘third world’ indicates some level of adherence to what Aijaz Ahmad had denounced as the three worlds theory (1992), it is clear that the street is uneven here. High housing costs, long commutes…

Of course the streets of the ‘gated community’ have gates and access security systems, which significantly changes the formation of ‘community’ in such places, as does the fabled presence of ‘armed response’ signs on the lawns of residents of Los Angeles, and the burly doormen outside the clubs and bars. Access is denied, the arcades are privatized. The electronic swipe-card ingress to urban compounds, the video surveillance of new build estates in London. The difficulty of walking the streets now because the way is blocked with fear. ‘If I had a shotgun what would you do?’ asks a guy near Madison. ‘Anything you like’ I reply. We laugh and can talk. But not everyone has it so easy. The necessarily scripted visit is a research requirement, and provokes a humbled awareness of the need for the researcher to begin to learn new rules, protocols and the order of any street – fifth avenue or a sewer ridden slum lane come close together for once. The word on the street is not free.

More pictures of NYC here.

Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs

Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs

via Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs.

Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs

28th May – 18th July 2010

Dead Fingers Talk (2010)
© The Burroughs Trust
Click on image for slide show.

Dead Fingers Talk is an ambitious forthcoming exhibition presenting two unreleased tape experiments by William Burroughs from the mid 1960s alongside responses by 23 artists, musicians, writers, composers and curators.

Few writers have exerted as great an influence over such a diverse range of art forms as William Burroughs. Burroughs, author of Naked LunchThe Soft Machine and Junky, continues to be regularly referenced in music, visual art, sound art, film, web-based practice and literature. One typically overlooked, yet critically important, manifestation of his radical ideas about manipulation, technology and society is found in his extensive experiments with tape recorders in the 1960s and ’70s. Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs is the first exhibition to truly demonstrate the diversity of resonance in the arts of Burroughs’ theories of sound.

listen to your present time tapes and you will begin to see who you are and what you are doing here mix yesterday in with today and hear tomorrow your future rising out of old recordings

everybody splice himself in with everybody else

The exhibition includes work by Joe AmbroseSteve AylettAlex Baker & Kit PoulsonLawrence EnglishThe Human SeparationRiccardo Iacono,Anthony JosephCathy LaneEduardo NavasNegativlando.blaatAki OndaJörg PiringerPlastique FantastiqueSimon Ruben WhiteGiorgio SadottiScannerTerre ThaemlitzThomson & CraigheadLaureana Toledo and Ultra-red, with performances by Ascsoms and Solina Hi-Fi.

Inspired by the expelled Surrealist painter Brion Gysin, and yet never meant as art but as a pseudo-scientific investigation of sounds and our relationship to technology and material, the experiments provide early examples of interactions which are essential listening for artists working in the digital age.

In the case of the work in the exhibition the contributors were asked to provide a “recording” in response to Burroughs’ tape experiments. The works, which vary significantly in media and focus, demonstrate the diversity of attitudes to such a groundbreaking period of investigation.

Dead Fingers Talk: The Tape Experiments of William S. Burroughs is curated by Mark Jackson. The project is supported by the London College of Communication, CRiSAP and ADi Audiovisual and has been made possible by the kind assistance of the William Burroughs Trust, Riflemaker and the British Library.

London College of CommunicationCRiSAPADi

Avatar and Bougainville??

Avatar and Bougainville: A Parallel History? « Tubuans.

‘sthaniya sambaad‘ (‘spring in the colony‘) Firday 19 March 2010

This new feature film by Arjun Gourisaria and Moinak Biswas is well worth seeing. First screening in Europe.

sthaniya sambaad‘ (‘spring in the colony‘),

(105 min. 2009, 35 mm, cinemascope, EST).

Q & A with one the director.

5pm friday 19th March – Goldsmiths Cinema RHB

please take a look at and also the blog for responses to the film.

A moving, and funny, story of life in a refugee colony south of  the city of Kolkata.

All welcome.

Border Infection

Amazon Ironies

Gffzzzzttttzzgg!, I bought Harvey’s Marx Prompter online (I know, I should’ve ordered it from a real bookshop, but I was in a hurry) and now I get some sort of unanticipated refund, just as I was rereading the section on Credit. And my ‘dividend’? – 50 pence. Wow – you bet I have some ‘questions about their refund policy’ (basically, I’ve lent them 50 p for a week – it all adds to the nectar they leach out of us – see pic):

From Amazon:

We are writing to confirm that we have processed your refund in the amount of £0.50 for your Order 202-483690-478037.

This refund is for the following item(s):

Item: A Companion to Marx’s Capital
Quantity: 1
ASIN: 1844673596
Reason for refund: Pre-order price protection

The following is the breakdown of your refund for this item:

Item Refund: £0.50

Your refund is being credited as follows:

MasterCardDebit Credit Card [ending with 6055]: £0.50

These amounts will be returned to your payment instruments within 10 business days.

Have questions about our refund policy? Contact

Hidden Herstories Goldsmiths Cinema 22.3.12010 6pm.

Film Screening Monday 22nd march Goldsmiths Cinema – All Welcome.

The Octavia Foundation is a charity based in Ladbroke Grove which supports local people through innovative projects which have a positive impact on individuals and communities. Our youth work focuses on young people’s creativity, energy and talent, and has resulted in award-winning, broadcast-quality multimedia projects.

The project was supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) following the award winning youth-led film Grove Roots.

What is “Hidden Herstories”?

“Hidden Herstories” incorporates four short documentaries into one film, charting the journey of four women who changed society as we know it:

Octavia Hill‐social housing pioneer, environmental campaigner

Amy Ashwood Garvey‐Pan Africanist, first wife of Marcus Garvey

Claudia Jones ‐ “Mother” of the Notting Hill Carnival

Jayaben Desai ‐ leader of the great Grunwick Strike

With contributions from local film-makers, musicians and artists including singer Ms Dynamite, MC Akala, director of “Bend it like Beckham” Gurinder Chadha, musician Don Letts, MP Karen Buck, and political experts from as far a field as Guyana, the film spans three continents in a quest to uncover the histories of four pioneering women.

The Octavia Foundation worked with partners HISTORYtalk, Black Cultural Archives’, Mendez Media, BlackNine Films, St Charles College and the Institute of Race Relations to deliver the project.

We retained the Grove Roots film participants and recruited more young people from the community, including filmmakers from Action Disability Kensington & Chelsea (ADKC), to total 20 young film-makers.

Building on the successful screening tour of Grove Roots, the Hidden Herstories screening tour will benefit from our growing working relationships with local theatres, cinemas, schools, FE/HE institutions and community organisations. The screening tour is perhaps one of the most important parts of the project as it is when the filmmakers present their work to the public, developing their public speaking skills and general self-confidence.

For more information please visit:

Education without Frontiers: Workshop, Music Food, at Goldsmiths 18 March 5pm 2010;

Education without Frontiers: Has the UK Border Agency Overstayed its Welcome?

Speakers, Workshops, Music, Food
Date: 18 March, 5pm – late
Location: Goldsmiths, University of London

We stand united, as students and staff, in opposition to the new
points-based immigration rules. They frame students as suspects and turn
staff into border agents. Join us, meet others, and help spread the

With Les Back (Sociology Department, Goldsmiths)  Phil Booth (NO2ID),
Valerie Hartwich (Manifesto Club), Sandy Nicoll (SOAS Living Wage
Campaign/Justice for Cleaners), Frances Webber (Human Rights Lawyer),
speakers from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, No Borders,
and more.
Organised by the Students Not Suspects campaign and hosted by Goldsmiths
Students’ Union and Goldsmiths UCU.

Speakers and workshops in RHB 142 (Main Building) from 5PM to 8:15PM;
food/social in the Stretch 8:15-10PM, music 10pm-late.

Location: Main building, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Way, New Cross, SE14 6NW
Closest train stations: New Cross, New Cross Gate
Buses: 21, 36, 53, 136, 171, 172, 177, 225, 321, 343, 436, 453.

The event is free; register at

More details about the Students Not Suspects campaign at:
Facebook: Students Not Suspects
Download a poster:

Talk at Austin Texas 22 April 2010

A talk in the Media and Postcolonial Theory in South Asia Series

John Hutnyk

“Music and Terror: World War III and South Asian Diasporic activism”

Thursday 22nd April from 3:00-5:00 p.m

South Asia Institute at UT-Austin


From Partha Banerjee:

India govt’s ghastly Commonwealth cleanup of the poor

I’m deeply troubled. Very deeply troubled.

An inconspicuous report in British paper Independent shows how the Delhi administration in India is sweeping up hundreds of thousands of poorest of the poor — men, women and children — from the city’s streets and jailing them randomly. I heard they are doing it because of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in October when sports personalities, politicians, dignitaries and most importantly, corporate businesses will come to our once-colonized land and spend their royal time and money to celebrate another round of the so-called global fraternity. Oh yes, some of them will run, jump and play ball too.

And Indian middle class will cheer.

So, in order to make the city look clean, the streets beggar-free, and the country wear a First World image, Delhi and India governments have taken on an urgent mission, with a religious zeal, to pick up the countless, hapless, half-naked, starving Indians — men, women and children — and are indefinitely putting them in India’s dreaded jails before they’re shipped out to somewhere across the country. What will happen to these God-forsaken millions and their lives, livelihoods, social connections and dignities? I’m sure they’ll let us know when the celebrities and business houses check out after the Games. Normally, in India, middle class don’t query on social connections or education of street children.

We’ve seen such grotesque acts of violence in India many times over the past, particularly since India graduated from its mediocre non-alignment, “socialist” days to a glitzy-globalized “democracy” days. We’ve seen numerous, bloody communal riots, barbaric genocide of the poor in the name of religion and caste, and international terrorism. We’ve also seen a massive change of government with transition of power from a so-called right wing dark force to a so-called centrist liberal enlightened. The new leaders of India are not the zealots and bigots, but internationally known economists and academics, United Nations celebrities, and of course, the Gandhi Dynasty — I’m sure they have certain qualifications too.

In 2002, when a barbaric carnage took place in Gandhi’s state of Gujarat when thousands of poor Muslims were slaughtered by a bigoted chief minister and his bigoted administration, there was international uproar: the New York Times, BBC, CNN, PBS, NPR and all other big-name media organizations gave us the ignorant a thorough coverage and insider information on the ghastly violence. In 2008, when a group of Pakistan-based terrorists snuck in to the five-star Taj International in the Indian Wall Street city of Mumbai and killed hundreds of hotel residents, there was another series of media uproar; CNN provided unprecedented, round-the-clock, “ticker-tape” coverage of the terrorism. We were delighted to see the extent of responsibility corporate media displaying to unearth major events happening on the other side of the world.

I’ll make it short. This time around, however, when another major act of violence is happening in the capital of West-blessed India, I see no outrage — barring a few small news blips here and there — either by the mighty human rights groups and their liberal followers, or by the mighty media that spent so much of their precious time and money to uncover Gujarat or Mumbai. I’m sad and disappointed, but not truly surprised.

The liberal outrage — either of the international rights and justice groups or of corporate media — is selective, and media keeps manufacturing peoples’ consent for or against a social, political or economic event. If the Gujarat (or the 1992 Babri Mosque) carnage is ghastly (and they are), then the Delhi clean-up of the begging destitute is equally grotesque: in the former, poor people die immediately; in the latter, poor people die a slow but sure death because of police torture, forced displacement, starvation, hunger, poverty and depression. In case of the latter, women and children suffer the most. In both cases, the brutality leaves lifelong, negative impacts on the surviving children who’d spare no time to act back against the repressive system with their own acts of violence.

I hope ordinary people both in India and the West (and perhaps some conscientious media people) pick up on this new fascism of the India government, and force them to stop this state-sponsored violence and brutality.

Again, I’m deeply troubled — to see the inaction and lack of outrage, especially of the elite liberal that screamed their lungs off before. You can’t have a double standard to denounce hate.

Thank you for reading my quickly drafted note.

Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York
March 14, 2009

Border Infection Poster and Program Flyers



Click the above to download poster and program.

Princeton talk – April 20, 2010

John Hutnyk: “Keep Calm and Carry On: diasporic musics and low level anxiety warfare in London today”

- a talk about the absurd and worrying scrapes South Asian musicians have ‘gotten themselves into’ under the new civil (un)liberties environment of the contemporary city.

University of Princeton, Program in South Asian Studies, April 20 at 4:30 pm

Border Infection – Goldsmiths 22-24 March 2010

Border Infection…Border Infestation… Border Indigestion! … We want to give the Border Authority the bug.

Each of the workshops in the series so far have been around themes where have been heavily invested in the ironies of these terms – Sonic Border was an earache, chaotic, noisy, cacophonia inserted into the ear-hole of postcolonial Britain. ‘Theatre border’ performed and misbehaved, clowning around with pantomime, and staging cross border apparitions of other worlds; Cinema Border-documentary tried to film ways across the border, looping reels and cut and splice to re-forge the documents of immigration control. So, this next “Border Infection” workshop takes the virus and infection metaphor a bit more seriously, critically and its obviously more on the edge, but its not the only governing metaphor of our event(s).


EXHIBITION – Monday through Friday || 22–26 March

An ongoing collaboration between Beyond Borders and LDN/ BRU which originated from a shared enthusiasm for questioning and transgressing creative, cultural and geographical boundaries. The exhibition brings together a group of international artists who share similar concerns and interests. Exploring issues and limitations surrounding urban and city narratives, ownership and dislocation, the show includes multimedia installations, videos and performances.

Work by: Raul Gschrey, Nicolas Sauret & Ashley Wong, Moustache Collectif and Helen Turner
The Gallery
Goldsmiths Students’ Union
Dixon Road, New Cross
London SE14 6NW
T 020 8692 1406
Day Workshop sessions:

Monday 22nd March 2010 12 noon–3pm and 6-8

Introduction: John Hutnyk

KEYNOTE: Vivek Bald – “Bengali Harlem: Histories of Indian Maritime Desertion in New York City, 1914-1946″

Jennifer Otter – “The infection of America Record Companies”

Leila Whitley “Producing the Migrant as Laborer”

Followed by the film “Hidden HERstories” (6PM RHB Cinema)


Tuesday 23rd March 12 noon-4pm and 6-7pm

Raul Gshrey – “Migration and Border Regimes in Europe: Systematic Invasion or Suppressed Movement”

Enis Oktay– “What’s the border bordering on, infection or fundament? Three interrelated anecdotes concerning the border’s economies of distinction.

Alix Brodie “‘God Bless the Village Green’: Protecting Fortress Britain in Fashion and Music”

Lindsay Crisp “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it: Swine flu and the paraphernalia of sterility.”

Sarah Ralfs “Transgressing borders: staging disease – infecting everbody. A talk about Christoph Schlingensief’s latest works”

KEYNOTE: Eyal Wizeman – “Political Plastic” (6pm)


Wenesday 24th March 11am– 6pm

Edda Manga – Weapons, Idealism and the Construction of Western Security

KEYNOTE: Angela Mitropolous “Borders, Contagion, Contracts” (2pm)

Guided Walk Neil Transpontine – “New Cross: borders and crossings”(3pm)

[note: at 6PM – Gurinder Chadha is the 7th Olive Till Memorial guest – separate ticket from Media and Comms dept]

8pm – PARTY


Plus also, THIS LINKED EVENT ON THURSDAY 25th march 2010:



Department of Media and Communications, Centre for Cultural Studies, L’Orientale University of Naples.

10 .00  Introduction Angela McRobbie

10.15- 10.45 Tiziana Terranova ‘Post Coloniality and Neo-Liberalism;Foucault in Iran’. 10.45- 11.15  Marie-Helene La Forest ‘Postcolonial Feminism and Transnational Claims’. 11 15- 12.00 discussion.


14.00- 18.00 DREAD CITY SECTION.

14.00- 14.30 Emanuela Maltese ‘Metaphors of Contagion Surrounding Haitian Vodou in NY . The Other Side of the Water’ (2009).

14.30- 15.00 Beatrice Ferrara ‘Dread City; Bass Culture and Postcolonial Urban Spatialities’

15.00- 15.30 Michaela Quadrano ‘Afro-Cyborg Visions; Affect and memory in Isaac Julien’s Encore 11 Radioactive (2005)

15.30- 16.00 Julian Henriques ‘Bass Culture, Rhythm and Representation’

16.00-16.30  John Hutnyk ‘keep Calm and Carry On; Low Level Anxiety in wartime London Today’

16.30- 17.00 Goldsmiths Post-Grad Contributions TBA



Exact venue and scheduling  information will be available next week, please email me to be on the invite list.

offenders are using public transport

Criminals on our buses. So we better check their tickets cos we want them to pay full fare right! (Far Right – from the lovely people who brought you points based immigration, endless queuing, lost passports, deportations to Iraq, and the generalized cretinization that is the UK Border Agency). Worse than Homeland Security I think.

The sharp-as-a-tack-smart Emma informs me of the Home Office’s boneheaded formulation:

“‘Intelligence has shown that failed asylum seekers and other immigration offenders are using public transport on a regular basis. Previous operations on public transport routes have resulted in identifying and arresting failed asylum seekers and also removing them.’

See also here, here and here.

sthaniya sambaad 19.3.2010 5pm

I am very pleased to announce a special screening of the feature film by Arjun Gourisaria and Moinak Biswas

sthaniya sambaad‘ (‘spring in the colony‘),

(105 min. 2009, 35 mm, cinemascope, EST).

Q & A with one of the directors.

5pm friday 19th March – Goldsmiths Cinema RHB

please take a look at and also the blog for responses to the film.

A moving, and funny, story of life in a refugee colony south of  the city of Kolkata.

All welcome.

requiem for ethnography

In the past I have called for a moratorium, but today wanted to list the things I thought were still useful, interesting or important in anthropology and ethnography now, even if contradictory:

- a refusal to simply sit alone and panic at the complexity of the world – often trinketising, but can be more (contextualisation, attention to commodification, critique)

- an anti-racist sentiment that has morphed at last into a recognition that rhetoric and reflexive angst is not enough (and the question of what would it would mean to win is on the agenda)

- a more or less well-intentioned tendency towards political and social intervention, or at least an ethic of this (often wrong, but in any case at least not dead)

- recognition of the co-constitution of self and other, near and far, metropole and colonial, empire and transition. Multi-site ethnography (transnational flows, North South, South South, Centre-Borders, In betweens.)

- project of going to have a look for yourself, to get involved as a means of understanding, constituent power of the knowledge industry may have its problems but not resigned to withdrawal and mere speculation (spectacle)

- critique of institutionalised context of knowledge production, of disciplinary formations, of the commercialization of knowledge, of the teaching factory

- ideology critique, suspicion of appearances, recognition that appearances are also all we have to go on. Representation issues not just in the claim for visibility mode, but a politics of making visible, mainstraeaming, as step one of something that goes further, demands more.

- collaborative work – ahh, collaboration has its tainted history, but nevertheless, some degree of co-production

- attention to all possible aspects of human life, and a growing awareness that this quite possibly facilitates real subsumption

- widest possible interest, Open principle, even when habits of thought and contextual (political, historical, personal) constraints block this.

Of course there are limits and more failings than successes. The scandals of anthropology are legion. But the project for trying to think through our circumstances and find ways to name what is going on around us is still a worthwhile pursuit – a reason to be alive and productive, even in the most desperate of conditions (global chaos – it can be explained, and is – as Mao said, an opportunity – ‘Everything under heaven is chaos: the situation is excellent’).

Of course there is also no reason to take yourself too seriously all the time. Theory is hard, but not without fun. Gawd, save us from the dire and dull philosophers


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