Anthropology and the War Machine, winning.

It seems very wrong to classify this ‘jobs.ac.uk’ post under ‘social care’:

Anthropologist
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) – Behavioural and Cultural Systems Team
Location: Fareham, Portsmouth
Salary: £23,500 to £33,500
Hours: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Placed on: 13th June 2014
Closes: 18th July 2014
Job Ref: 1415972
Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies and sometimes other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

This is a genuinely involving, unusual and rewarding anthropology role – it’s an opportunity to apply your expertise to inform the way the UK responds to security and defence threats.

You will be joining the Behavioural and Cultural Systems team within Dstl’s Strategic Analysis Group, a 50 strong group of specialists drawn from diverse backgrounds such as psychology, theology, war studies and law. Anthropology is an important element in the mix, as the UK’s ability to tackle future challenges depends on in-depth, accurate insight into populations and societies.

You will be supporting analysis at strategic and operational level, by drawing on a wide range of established and emergent human and social science theories. Your analysis, assessment and advice will be crucial to aiding our understanding of individuals, groups and organisational systems – relating to a wide range of social and cultural issues confronting Her Majesty’s Government. Ultimately, your contribution can help shape and influence government policy and UK Armed Forces operations.

It’s essential that you have an Honours degree in Anthropology or a related subject, and membership of a relevant professional body.

You need a proven record of using a variety of structured social science analysis / research methods to support decision making, together with practical experience of applying Anthropological principles in problem-sets.

You will be a customer-focused researcher who works well both independently and collaboratively.

An understanding of UK defence and security environments or experience of analysis on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism is an advantage.

Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across the government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies … even other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.

In return for playing your part in the UK’s defence and security, we offer extensive benefits that include everything from a pension and generous leave, to excellent learning and development opportunities – all in addition to a competitive salary. Our sites are equipped with gyms and restaurants. But it’s not just your working environment that we’ve thought about. Your home life is important too, which is why we offer childcare vouchers, a flexible work-life balance and even discounts on everything from bus tickets to the cost of a new bicycle. In short, we’ve done our best to ensure that our rewards reflect your talents.

To find out more about this role and the work of Dstl, please go to Civil Service Jobs https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/ and search for the vacancy reference 1415972. Follow the instructions to apply.

Due to the reserved nature of this role, it is only open to UK Nationals who have lived in this country for more than five years. All posts require standard Security Clearance (SC).

Closing date: 18 July 2014.

The Rumour of Calcutta

Really pleased that The Rumour of Calcutta is available again, and now with those soft buttery covers that I’d wanted when it was first published way back in 1996.

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Key ring terror distractor trinket

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Tucked in a side street in London Bridge today, a police stand handing out devices which I suspect.

I suspect an effort to distract from this evening’s BBCLondon report that Scotland Yard’s heavily redacted Operation Tiberius investigation covers up the exposure of 42 senior cops (and 19 former cops) for close links with drug crime and contract killings.

It is our duty, we are told: if you suspect it, report it.

J’suspect!

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On offer: this little show-bag of stuff from the dodgy non-uniform suits who refused to be photographed. I guess the key ring for terror is handy because I so want to be carrying that number around with me as a permanent anxiety reminder. That it came in what seems to be a used gram bag may only be coincidentally linked with the – let me repeat – exposure today that 42 members of the senior police were well paid crime syndicate stooges – as revealed in documents from Operation Tiberius previously heavily redacted by Scotland Yard but exposed tonight by BBCLondon.

The pen speaks for itself, was it previously used to sign payola cheques perhaps? I suspect it, so I report it.

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And this one just really is the perfect Fathers Day Trinket, no?

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FFS, I say, for fucks sake. Get these people a water cannon as soon as possible. Anyone need a news item to distract from the – did I mention – massive exposure of senior cops linked to crime syndicates?

Trinketization as damage control.

That new-ish mancy lefty writery group broadside text is now up on the AMM site, with AMM intro citing NXRB. A welcome provocation.

AMM Introduction

The AMM has been tagged as ‘anti-academic’, a stigma we wear with pride. However, that doesn’t mean we ignore how academic fads and fashions influence the world. So we applaud the advent of the Manchester Left Writers who – in their first ‘broadside’ – attack “symptoms of bad writing operating across contemporary ‘left’ academic discourse … because we feel that it needs to be rescued from itself”. This is an entirely necessary project. What we like about the MLW is that, though they are concerned with the degeneration of language and concepts in the postmodern humanities, their world is not defined by striking poses within that milieu. They are not aspirant alt.superstars vying for attention in the vile metropolitan limelight, but conscientious “autodidacts, libertarians and nonconformists“ as Liverpool AMMer Luke Staunton put it in a recent post (Derek Bailey: “free improvisation is better in the provinces”) . One of the MLW’s number, Robert Galeta, is actually from Bradford, but bothers to cross the Pennines to attend MLW meetings (metropolitan internationalism is a cinch; for a Yorkshireman to penetrate Lancashire takes REAL GUTS). Galeta is sufficiently unfazed by postmodern crapola to notice that Esther Leslie’s Derelicts “generously brings the Academy out through its doors” (New Cross Review of Books). That’s exactly why we published it: great reading material for precisely anyone. All hail MLW! May you flourish and prosper. THIS is how to rebuild the Left.

__________________

Manchester Left Writers on the State of Scripts

We want to provide a picture of what is wrong with ‘radical’ or ‘left wing’ academic writing, because we feel that it needs to be rescued from itself. What we have identified collectively are elements of ‘scripts’ that we fall back on when we are not utilising the full potential of our resources in the here and now. Scripts are all resources from the past. Scripts are always half bad style and bad meaning, ruts of lazy thinking which have congealed into dead literary-academic modes.

‘The left’ needs to reoccupy the present and future, actually, physically, and politically, but to do this we need to recalibrate writing so that it is symbolically fit for the scale of the task. This is the first utopian step. ‘Utopia’ is the unwritten no-place we have to move towards, but to do that we have to identify as many of the elements of the bad scripts as possible, the lazy, default modes of writing.

Otherwise, how can we write this no-place, how will we inscribe it with all the changes we desperately need? Scripts only allow us to produce something because the ego needs gratification. Scripts are not about exploring the representation and politics of life in 2014, in a new, risky or tentative way, because what is being produced has not yet been tried, and so is a little frightening. Scripts are about making ego-capital.

We wondered if we might get these reflections on scripts published in a ‘radical’ journal or philosophy magazine, but decided that most of them are probably far too enslaved by the lazy mental habits being described below. We are cynical about work being produced by a washed-up, London-centric, mediocre middle-class ‘autonomist’ scene. To get us started, here are some elements of bad academic scripts that we have identified, strung together as a loose narrative:

1. The Sanctimonious Style: a classic discourse of ‘traditional intellectuals’. An academic star system breeds noblesse oblige: ‘Here I am, fulfilling my “progressive” duties’, but in a self-indulgent windbag fashion, bound up with position and status. In fact, the tone of this script is produced by status, and a life essentially spent on a reservation. Ironically, this script is often replicated by admirers without that power. We can perhaps add to this the ‘Left Worthy’, where writers start to designate ‘the good socialist’. When this happens, be sure that all thinking has stopped. Some elements of this script reveal its emptiness, including…

2. The Tenuous Theoretical Inversion: ‘Aha! But is that the case? If we turn Habermas’s notion inside-out we get…’ not very much, usually. Inverting the ‘notions’ of others usually means that you have few of your own left.

3. The Abstract Expression: This has a long pre-history in leaden macro-Marxism, where everything is covered in ash, as thick curtains of theoretical fog obscure everything. We can include in this the excesses of Frankfurt School ‘totalizing’, and macro ‘up in the clouds’ views of vast swathes of countries and cultures. This leaves us with…

4. Opacity: The residual afterglow of texts that are meant to be complex, compressed, portentous, poetic or ‘deep’, but are actually just opaque. Some of us think that Calvino’s Invisible Cities falls into this category for much of the time, and is so celebrated that people shy away from describing it as such. We will add to this…

5. The Spurious Psychogeography: Accounts of vague wandering, accompanied by photographs of fetishised, aesthetic urban ruins, pierced by striking solipsistic outbursts, emptied of all politics.

6. The Foucauldian Cauldron and Deleuzian Eel Barrel: Power is everywhere and therefore nowhere, it is ‘between’. Everyone is oppressor and oppressed at the same time. This is correct in many ways, but nobody in this murky soup is ever prepared to identify ‘the enemy’, because nobody in it can actually see one. There is a related, but opposite risk here, in writing which posits all identities as ‘spectral’ on ‘our side’, yet ‘over there’ is a big slab of oppression called Capitalism, The Patriarchy, et cetera. These ‘slabs’ of oppression derive in part from Foucauldian and Althusserian anti-humanism. It was once said that Foucauldian theory is a giant ‘spider web without a spider’. If we’re just bearers of the structure, points of intersection, then the spectral spider becomes an abstract oppression, rather than something human beings do to each other (and some more than others). We need to identify the spider and pull its legs off. Then Deleuze arrived, and everything is unstitched, in a state of permanent exodus or ‘becoming’, nothing is one thing, everything is between states, or ‘problematic’ if it isn’t.

7. Kine-spew: Swallow a mix of pulped texts by Lacan and Deleuze. Find a film, cut it open, vomit in it. Type up the results and then publish it in a citation index journal. We can add to this…

8. The Pop Confection: Apply a random mix of theorists to an obscure corner of popular culture to simply describe it through the theory, in order to then have something to submit to a journal. I like this band or film or novel, and I like this theory, so even though there is no direct historical link between them, I’m going to mash them together and say that the cultural text conveniently reflects the ‘radical’ features of the theory. This is fandom writing itself into ‘academia’, the creation of product by re-describing other products. It is postmodern pick ‘n’ mix, which could only happen in better times. The recession claimed Woolworths.

9. Binaries, 010101: This is especially prevalent in subcultural circles of ‘third wave’ feminist and queer theory. The lived realities of oppression are seen through an abstraction that has taken binaries for reality. It would be bad enough if philosophical idealism was the only problem here: but it is not, the theory itself is also faulty. Distinctions are not necessarily ‘binary’. The dominant works in different, often contradictory ways. There are endless ‘radical’ propositions that exclaim ‘A-ha! this bit of the world undermines the binaries, which I’m assuming structure everything, so it must be radical!’ Suddenly, the world as described becomes a seething hotbed of queerness, and we can all relax and pat ourselves on the back. This goes some way to explaining the inane cultural populist radicalism of claiming that Lady Gaga is going to bring down Capitalism and The Patriarchy, or more to the point that she represents it apparently falling apart of its own accord.

10. The Trouble With Normal: The helpless confusion between a liberating left politics, which needs to posit desirable norms different to those we have, and countercultural transgression, which sees all norms as oppressive. ‘Radical’, ‘progressive’, ‘queer’, et cetera: there’s a total and convenient lack of specificity as to the political co-ordinates of the positions signified by the above countercultural confetti. Norm-bending becomes ‘radical’, and not just in what gets analysed by ‘left’ academics, but in their own writing. Every new book is about ‘radical’, shaken-up ways of doing theory. This starts to look a lot like the search for novelty in the capitalist marketplace.

11. The Affect Alibi: A trendy and vague contemporary script, which is yet another mirror of the personalisation of everything, and therefore the Americanisation of everything. It has become acceptable to form a worldview based only on your own immediate experience under the alibi of ‘affect’. This is a reactionary rebound from the theoretical weakness of ashen anti-humanism, heading straight back into romanticism, with its ‘immediacy’. We must add solipsistic forms of ‘experimental’ auto-ethnography to this. The deepest problem here is the utter confusion of ‘standpoint epistemology’, or so-called ‘strong objectivity’.

12. Undiplomatic Immunity: Smearing someone as transphobic, misogynist, or racist because their intellectual framework isn’t the same as yours doesn’t mean that you don’t have to engage with them, yet it’s a convenient way to shut down debate. David Harvey is often the victim of this kind of thing in the written ‘scripts’ we discuss, but it goes on at an everyday level too. It is the lurking, residual blunt instrument of 1980s identity politics, something supposedly abandoned in these more theoretically supple times. It is nevertheless a handy auxiliary club to beat people up with when they disagree with your work. If writers place themselves outside criticism nobody wins, but the writer is probably the worst loser of all, drifting off, unchecked. With well-known writers, this process is facilitated as much by their fans as the writers themselves. And they are ‘fans’. As you can see, the creation of ‘scripts’ involves both the consumers and producers of texts.

13. Don’t talk to us about Post-: Postmodernity and Poststructuralism were blind alleys. Poststructuralism has been extremely successful at becoming an authoritative discourse, rendering all other discourses relative and shaky, simply by saying that all other discourses are relative and shaky. Why? Because no-one explicitly talks about it as ‘current’ anymore. Its assumptions are now hegemonic, naturalised, taken for granted.

These are just a few examples of the scripts we have been discussing, at meetings and across them. Scripts are partly dead styles, and partly what some anthropologists have called ‘epistemological hypochondria’, sick philosophies. We are not saying that we can escape the historical repertoires of left discourses completely, nor should we try to. But we need to very carefully select resources from the past. Particularly script styles, because they frame so much, so subtly. All scripts need to strongly justify their direct relevance to the present as a resource now. If this is unclear, we should probably try to create differently.

We felt ourselves being pulled into a script when we caught ourselves thinking, out of nowhere, that we needed a ten-point manifesto, we do not. However, we also admit that this piece was written in a ‘mode’, a kind of script, because of course it is a satire, and therefore it reduces and ridicules in order to make its points. The broadside pamphlet also has a long history. But we think that these scripts have been carefully selected, because the one thing ‘the left’ and ‘radical’ academic writing is clearly in need of right now is sending-up. It also uses a cartoon version of the aphoristic style in its epistemological rubbishing, a little like Adorno in Minima Moralia, a wonderful work that is also opaque in places.

So you see, script problems aren’t always total. We admit that we are playing devil’s advocate in order to diagnose. We all seemed to be in agreement that Zizek’s book on film and Lacan, Looking Awry, was good, but it’s often what happens to these resources when they become lazy paths to nowhere that concerns us, and it concerns us as a group of writers. These are representational questions. It isn’t always the fault of Marx, Foucault and Deleuze, it’s what does or doesn’t get done in their names, although sometimes, the theory is simply faulty.

There’s an urgent, current need to start creating a new kind of attack in political writing. These bad scripts function, like any cliché, to block new associations and thoughts. ‘Critical theory’ which uses Marxist or other premises without any sincere interest or belief in social change, has become orthodoxy in many universities. What use is the obscurantist prose, the demand to go back and read some dead 19th century saint, or do closer research, or ‘problematise’ some incoherent juxtaposition of popular culture and some mishandled linguistic or juridical concept? It all actually seems to prevent people from engaging in politics. It polices knowledge, the right and wrong way to think, it doesn’t necessarily produce knowledge, particularly when its peddlers are professors or senior lecturers.

We need to make completely explicit the fact that these scripts are hegemonic within ‘left’ academia. Unquestioned. They are doxa. Meaning is so much assumed that thought stops, despite the constant claims that everything is being ‘re-thought’, a claim that has also become hegemonic. These terms are being used with only a vague, general sense of what they might mean. Writers simply cast the same scripted spells on everything they encounter, producing the same results every time, yet expecting something different to happen.

There is much more work to do here, and the biggest script myth of all is perhaps that of the ‘left’ and ‘right’ itself. This co-ordinate version of politics is often so much fairy dust, the geographical-spatial metaphor designating the places where the people wear white and black hats, and it is created and maintained by language. At the same time, this does not mean that we are ‘post-Marxists’, what we need to do is redefine the use of our terms to better fit where we are historically, and always be specific.

These scripts are magical acts, and the field we are critiquing is occult: In the 17th century, as alchemy became chemistry, much time and energy was spent in the blind alley of trying to isolate ‘phlogiston’, a supposedly elemental substance that causes things to burn. That’s what we’re stuck in, a massive waste of energy, analysis hamstrung by bad theory, a search for something that might ignite, but never will. Often, bad scripts simply chop up existing knowledge into even thinner slices and then re-circulate it. Their failure is confirmed by their inability to imagine or suggest any political alternatives. Even revolution in its most vague outline has been largely dropped. Instead, wherever one turns, careers are made and incomes sustained by an infinite pursuit of criticising the existing state of things. The urgent desire for change is there, but much of its energy is pulled into this collapsing star. In this universe, any real fruits we bear will rot on the vine.

There’s another way for left thinkers, we are sure of it. Left or radical academic writing needs to be saved from itself and the institutions and measuring systems which frame it and will continue to transform it in a bad order. Crucially then, we must scrutinise not only bad scripts, but also the institutional systems that frame them, not to mention their geo-political and economic surrounds. If we do not start working out how to transform these conditions in tandem with transforming left scripts, our intervention is just more bad writing.

We are not suggesting that these are new observations. Everybody involved that we speak to affirm it as a commonplace assumption, if not in an official capacity. This diagnosis could be depressing. But that we all seem to roughly agree on this is extremely exciting, because that means something is happening. The new crisis of the academy may actually be productive, although that also means we’re going to be poor. But being ‘outside’, even though that also means working for them, for many of us, at least at the moment, is going to produce new critical positions. We may actually be lucky not to have access to a stylish lift into a dead ivory tower.

There’s a broader and deeper dissatisfaction brewing against institutions of politics, education, policing, et cetera. The university is going through a major transformation, towards an even more marketised, profit-driven system. Outside, the rest of the First World resembles this in mirror image, with even more precarious and divided peoples. All of this is obvious, and has a much longer history, which pre-dates the 2008 crash. E.P. Thompson on Warwick and Althusser may be a useful service station back down that road

The changes made to the academy, and the ways in which knowledge is now weighed and judged, were in so many ways completely unnecessary, but they have all been underwritten by the post-Lehman Brothers crash world. As a group we need to concentrate on the question of institutions next. But these shifts in the fabric of the university mean fundamental changes to the calibration of academic writing. We need to take this moment as an opportunity to clean the epistemological stables.

Original post here

M.I.A.; The Partysquad – Double Bubble Trouble official music video Unc…

DIY Anti War Drones and more:

The East as a Career – talk 22.5.2014

  • Logo Universität Hamburg

  • Institut für Volkskunde / Kulturanthropologie

  • 16. Mai 2014 | Studium und Lehre

    Do. 22.5. | Kollaboratives Forschen mit John Hutnyk

    John Hutnyk, London: “The East as a career: Marx Writing Capital and the Value of Bengal.”

    Um 18.15 Uhr in Raum 220

     

Virilio conference: The Squared Horizon: 6. June 2014 Nottingham Trent.

The Squared Horizon: The Frames and Trajectories of Paul Virilio

6 June 2014. Nottingham Trent University

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In Desert Screen, Paul Virilio suggests the notion of a ‘squared horizon’ as a way of envisioning the interposition of the screen, multiple screens, in matters of war, conflict and international relations. Yet, the ‘squared horizon’ might also function as a starting point for bringing together the various frames and trajectories which make up Virilio’s oeuvre. The ‘squared horizon’ evokes the fragmented, pixelated existence of late capitalism, the perpetual dividing up of time into ever smaller units, the deferred, bracketed out future, put aside in favour of the instantaneous and immediate, the impact of urbanization with its grid systems and blocks on our experience of space, time and identity.

We are pleased to present a one-day conference focusing on the work of Paul Virilio organized around theme of the squared horizon.

Attendance to the conference is free but please reserve your place here so we have an idea of numbers.

Conference Schedule (room tbc)

9.30 Registration and Coffee

10.00 Welcome

10.10 PLENARY

The Big Night: Into the Ultracity - John Armitage, University of Southampton

11.00 Coffee

11.30 SQUARING OFF – VIRILIO AND SPACE

The secret underground bunkers do exist!!! - Michael Mulvihill, Artist.

The Negative Abyss - Mark Featherstone, Keele University

Topological Variations in Virilio’s Le Futurisme de l’instant - Enda Mccaffrey, Nottingham Trent University

13.00 LUNCH

14.00 SQUARING CIRCLES – VIRILIO AND TIME

War and Post-War: Memory and European Identity in Paul Virilio’s Phenomenology of Modern Technology - Neil Turnbull, Nottingham Trent University

Concepts and Catrastophes: Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio - Gerry Coulter, Bishop’s University, Canada

15.00 Coffee

15.30 SQUARE HEADS – VIRILIO AND THE DIGITAL IMAGINATION

Framing the Criminal - Sophie Fuggle, Nottingham Trent University

The digi-child and dromospheric sensibility - Felicity Coleman, Manchester Metropolitan University

Inner screens and cybernetic battlefields: Paul Virilio and Robocop - Brian Sudlow, Aston University

5pm Close of Conference followed by Conference dinner in Nottingham (details tbc)

ATTENDANCE IS FREE. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE

For further information about the event please contact: sophie.fuggle@ntu.ac.uk

Diaspora and Hybridity out in Korean

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ENIG-MAS Rich Mix – Sat 17 May 2014 at 1pm Free / Main Space / Unreserved Seating

The play Enig-Mas asks: What is woman? What is man? Where does love lie when you’re on a political quest? What does it take to be a revolutionary? Set in 1930s India and Bengal and modern Britain in 2000s, Professor Raminder Kaur of University of Sussex, has written a new play inspired partly by the 1931 novel, Kuhelika (Enigma) by the renowned Indian writer and poet/ national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam. This play puts a searing lens on relations between men and women in times of political turbulence. It is one of the plays in the new season from Mukul and Ghetto Tigers directed by Mukul Ahmed.

The story covers a period of 7 decades through generational and geographical connections, characters that are vastly separated by time and space, but intimately connected through blood and passion. It is partly set in 1930s pre-independent India and Bengal, and 2000s Britain. Jahangeer, an impressionable young man, is gradually turned into a protagonist of revolution against British colonial rule. His high-class Muslim background proves to be an asset in circumventing British surveillance when the main ‘trouble-makers’ are identified as Hindus, making a marked contrast to the present era. Through the play we witness with the characters, the joy and horrors of revolutionary struggle, the sacrifices and dangers as well games and dilemma of loyalties and personal pain and loss.

The play relates a series of incidents inextricably interlinked through sorrow, grief, humour and happiness. Love, hatred and extreme emotions are laid out in multiple scenarios and deeply moving music and dramatic style. It makes for a memorable theatre experience through a story that reaches out from the past and embraces the present with echoes and meaningful questions that probe who we were, what we have become and suggest possibilities for all our futures.


www.mukulandghettotigers.com

Subversive Festival In Zagreb. Talks 14.5 and 15.5 2014

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Here: Subversive

Uneasy Inhabitants

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One night two summers ago, I was in a car speeding across the border into the eastern Indian state of Bihar. The unlit, pitch-black freeway didn’t deter traffic from barreling forward at breakneck speeds. In the inevitable accident, a young man was shredded by a truck. A politician showed up, but instead of taking charge, he distracted the police with laughter and gossip.

Preventable death or official callousness is not unique to Bihar, but this particular incident seemed, to me, typical. Bihar is a state that until recently took the troubles that bedevil all of India and amplified them to levels that were unbearable even by Indian standards. In Bihar, an accident was carnage and apathy was criminal neglect. Although matters have since improved, to survive, the poor still traffick their children and the rich still get out.

Few writers are better placed to examine this near-dystopian state of affairs than the novelist Amitava Kumar, a native son, although now a professor of English at Vassar College.

“A Matter of Rats” calls itself “a short biography of Patna,” the capital city of Bihar, but like Kumar’s other books, it is many (perhaps too many) things at once. A memoiristic essay that strives to reconcile his feelings for his hometown — despair on the one hand and concern on the other, for it is where his elderly parents still live. “There is no way to avoid it,” he admits. “When I step on Patna’s soil, I only want to see how much older my parents look.” It is an insider’s alternative to the scornful narratives of Patna made popular by Western writers, and which the author, with even greater scorn, calls “hysteria as travel writing.” It is also an adventure in pursuit of witnesses to stories both real and apocryphal — a 1967 visit by Marlon Brando, the rumor that Napoleon’s bed lies in a decrepit old Patna mansion. (There is a bed in Patna that belonged to a Napoleon, just not that Napoleon.)

It is, in all, an intimate and whimsical book, but one that truly shines when the author turns his gaze to the ordinary people who still live in Patna — the rat catchers of the lowly Musahar caste, the tutor who helps poor children crack the entrance tests to India’s exalted institutes of technology.

The chapter on the rat catchers is the book’s finest, skillfully evoking the circumstances of chaos, filth and absurdity in which even the city’s middle-class professionals are forced to live.

Patna’s vast number of rats, the author tells us in a marvelous bit of anthropomorphizing, appear like “stout ladies on tiny heels, on their way to the market.” Nurses at a city hospital play the radio at night in the hope of keeping the rats from nibbling their toes. The rats haven’t escaped the attention of a local bureaucrat. But instead of trying to get rid of them, he sets himself the loftier ambition of ending anti-rat prejudice. If middle-class people would only appreciate rats, he rationalizes, they would also appreciate the Musahars, who are condemned to catch the rats. A Musahar whom the author accompanies on a rat-catching expedition isn’t holding his breath for change. “High-minded abstractions weren’t among his pressing concerns,” Kumar tells us. “His worry was finding food for that day and the next.”

That food was rats.

A MATTER OF RATS

A Short Biography of Patna

By Amitava Kumar

116 pp. Duke University Press. $19.95.

Vision Mix 13.5.2014

visionFace to face (201)) Gigi Scaria [Digital print on archival paper. Image courtesy of the artist]

 

VisionMix international artists’ and filmmakers’ network presents a screening of

“VisionMix Short Cuts” film, followed by a Roundtable.

 

When: 19.00 to 21.00, Tuesday 13th May 2014 

Where: SOAS, University of London, Old Building Khalili Lecture Theatre

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square London, WC1H 0XGhttp://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/

http://www.soas.ac.uk/ssai/events/13may2014-visionmix-short-cuts.html

 

VisionMix is an international network of video and sound installation artists and documentary filmmakers whose members are based in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and London. Launched in October 2013, VisionMix’s aim is to explore the agency of the artist in lens-based media projects that are acts of resistance, investigating the relationship between the social responsiveness of ‘documentary’ practices, video installation art and other audio/visual art forms. Whether dealing with issues of gender, environmental challenges, migration or issues around ‘marginality’, the ways in which these works mobilize audiences invites questions about the methods used in their production. VisionMix is also planning exhibition-screenings and symposia in the UK and in India in 2015-17.

The film, “VisionMix Short Cuts”  (55 minutes) showcases 12 artists and filmmakers from the India-based members of VisionMix, whose directors have contributed samples of their work, and are interviewed about their practise. These are: Atul Bhalla, Sheba Chhachhi, Ranbir Kaleka, Priyanka Chhabra, Anupama Srinivasan, Sameera Jain, Gigi Scaria, Asim Waqif, Paramita Das, Moutushi, Avijit Mukul Kishore and Kavita Joshi. VisionMix’s curator (and director of this anthology) Lucia King, is an artist-filmmaker and researcher of South Asian artists’ non-fiction film practices, and will contextualize the film after the screening.

The post-screening roundtable invites the UK-based VisionMix associates to explore how local predicaments and today’s art (and non-fiction film) industries are contributing to the artists assumed forms of public intervention, the themes and tactics used in these projects. VisionMix welcomes students, curators, art historians, industry professionals, researchers, filmmakers, artists and those interested in new media developments on an international stage, to join this discussion.

For more information: lucia@luciaking.co.uk

Bougainville: shareholders v board

Radio Australia, 8 May 2014

Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review

Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.

The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.

Presenter: Jemima Garrett

Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacific/radio/program/pacific-beat/bougainville-shareholders-hsupport-corporate-review/1307728

Marx and Engels Collected Works links

PDFs of Marx & Engels’ Collected Works

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  1. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 1
  2. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 2
  3. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 3
  4. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 4
  5. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 5
  6. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 6
  7. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 7
  8. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 8
  9. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 9
  10. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 10
  11. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 11
  12. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 12
  13. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 13
  14. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 14
  15. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 15
  16. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 16
  17. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 17
  18. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 18
  19. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 19
  20. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 20
  21. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 21
  22. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 22
  23. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 23
  24. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 24
  25. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 25
  26. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 26
  27. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 27
  28. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 28
  29. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 29
  30. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 30
  31. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 31
  32. Marx & Engels Collected Works, Volume 32

Subversive Festival, Zagreb – 13.5.14. and 15.5.14

Screen shot 2014-05-04 at 23.31.10

most downloaded pdfs over the last year

hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/adornomarcuse_germannewleft.pdf 331
hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/cap-and-cult-studs-outline0131.pdf 324
hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/ershybrid280104.pdf 145
hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/stimulus18.pdf 131
hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/bataille.pdf 124
hutnyk.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/351-376-tcs-062700.pdf 104

Book Launch Daya Thussu Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood

DayapicBOOK LAUNCH

 

Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood

Professor Daya Thussu

 

Date: Thursday 8 May 2014, 6:30 pm

Venue: Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF
http://www.nehrucentre.org.uk/contact-us.html

 

As the world’s largest democracy with a vibrant and pluralist media system, India offers an excellent case study of the power of culture and communication in the age of mediated international relations. This pioneering attempt – the first book-length study of India’s Soft Power – from an international communication/media perspective, fills the existing gap in scholarship as well as policy literature in this area. The book, published by Palgrave/Macmillan in New York in their prestigious Global Public Diplomacy series, has been described by Professor Ashis Nandy as an ‘excellent, comprehensive yet brief survey of the scope and limits of India’s Soft Power and the country’s changing status in global public culture and media’.

Daya Thussu is Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of the India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London.  Professor Thussu has a PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and he is the author or editor of 16 books and the founder and Managing Editor of the Sage journal Global Media and Communication.

The event will mark the formal launch of the book by Dr Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner of India in the UK, to be followed by a brief presentation about the book by the author and a discussion with Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh about the issues raised in the book.

Channeling Cultures – a great new book edited by Abhijit Roy and Biswarup Sen (a chapter by me, and afterword by Arvind Rajagopal). Great to add to the growing chatter on TV and film in South Asia.

20140502-195010.jpg

Television plays a very important role in constructing and presenting images of Indian modernity. Channeling Cultures brings together scholars from various disciplines to locate television within multiple histories of the nation as well as current trajectories in global culture and politics. Building on analytical frameworks of postcoloniality, citizenship, democracy, development, globalization and consumerism, this volume addresses questions in televisual form, genre, identity, politics, affect, gender, body and sexuality, and explores regional, national, and global itineraries of Indian television.
Focusing on the genres of news, reality show, and soap opera, the book interrogates some of the standard assumptions of television studies and more broadly global media studies. It provides fresh perspectives on the transition of Indian television from a state monopoly to a market-driven system and liberalization’s nuanced relationships with Indian media in general. The arguments invite the reader to critically engage with many theoretical perspectives ranging from political economy to cultural studies that energize the field of research on Indian television. The book will interest all those looking to critically engage with television, media theory, and popular culture.

Buy it here OUP India

top blog hits in the last 3 months #Adorno #precarious

Home page / Archives 8,082
Adorno Marcuse correspondence on the student left, dialectics, left fascism, Institute, distortions, travel, recuperation and more 1,106
Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪ 753
Plan C: Institute for Precarious Consciousness – ‘we are all very anxious’ 486
Downloadable Texts 396
Marx’s own copy of Kapital, page one 390
Hybridity and Diaspora 325

 

Marx Complete Works #firestorm #firesale #Lawrence and Wishart

A writer is a productive labourer not in so far as he produces ideas, but in so far as he enriches the publisher who publishes his works, or if he is a wage-labourer for a capitalist.” 

Well, I had to post something on this because the debate on the accessibility of the texts is important and interesting, and the various statements in the links below are worth reading for what they say about publishing and history, both from the Lawrence and Wishart and from MIA sides.

[I'm amused that so far I've not seen anyone quote the obvious bit of Marx that applies, and which I've used above as banner quote - reader, please insert your own gender correction to the ancient pronouns (if we must get all scriptural about it - the quote is from Theories of Surplus Value - manuscripts of 1863-64, chapter 4, p303 in the Progress Press version)].

The possibility of actually turning a profit on any book nowadays, is of course also up for consideration.

Here from Hist Mat list:

As a consequence of Lawrence and Wishart’s decision to withdraw the Marx-Engels Collected Works (MECW) material under L&W copyright from the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) website, Marxist scholars and activists all over the world have

Following a first petition and Lawrence and Wishart’s response, in 24 hours 700 people signed the following petition, including many leading scholars.

They have asked Lawrence and Wishart to allow Marx’s and Engels’s writings to remain on the MIA website and in the public domain.

“We are very grateful for the work you have done, along with International Publishers and Progress Publishers, translating into English and publishing the MECW. This is an extremely valuable contribution to the workers movement and Marxist scholarship not only in the English-speaking world, but internationally.
MIA has made these works available for free on the web to an even wider public, and they have now become an essential tool for thousands of Marxist scholars and activists around the world.

We fully appreciate the efforts and difficulties that running a small independent publishing house entails. But allowing free access to the MECW on the MIA website does not hinder sales. On the contrary, the publicity it provides increases them, and we would support any attempt to further improve this aspect.

But over and above any commercial considerations, there is a crucial matter of principle at play here. Having been available freely online for ten years, the MECW have become an essential part of the shared knowledge and resources of the international workers movement. We cannot take a step backward.

There is also the real danger that the laudable contribution that Lawrence & Wishart has made in the past would be tarnished. This decision would only damage its reputation without bringing any significant economic advantage.

That’s why we call upon you to reconsider this decision and reach an accommodation which keeps these essential resources in the public domain, where they belong.”

To support this petition, link: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lawrence-and-wishart-allow-marx-s-and-engels-s-writings-to-remain-in-the-public-domain?utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_campaign=new_petition_recruit#share

To read Lawrence and Wishart’s response to the first petition, see: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/collected_works_statement.html

To read the statement of the Marxist Internet Archive collective, see: http://marxists.org/admin/legal/lw-response.html

 

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