This was a surprise, at the least:
Solo Cello String Ensemble (4-4-4-3-2) c. 25 minutes
“Clifford uses the word to describe ‘a discourse that is travelling or hybridising in new global conditions’ and he stresses ‘travel trajectories’ and ‘flow’ (Clifford 1994, pp. 304 /6). Worrying that assertions of identity and difference are celebrated too quickly as resistance, in either the nostalgic form of ‘traditional survivals’ or mixed in a ‘new world of hybrid forms’ (Clifford 2000, p. 103), he sets up an opposition (tradition/hybrid) that will become central to our critique of the terms” (Hutnyk, 2005: 80).
Tradition – Hybrid – Survival is a work for solo cello and string ensemble. The requirements for the ensemble are 4-4-4-3-2 divided into the following groups:
Local: 1st Vln I 2nd Vln I 1st Vln II 2nd Vln II 1st Vla 2nd Vla Vc DB Diaspora: Vln I Vln II Vla Vc DB
Outsider: Vln I Vln II Vc
See fig.1 for a representation of how the groups should be arranged on stage.
Note that there should be a physical gap between the local and diaspora groups, and diaspora players should be either seated on a raised platform or standing. Outsider players should be offstage and unseen by the audience and musicians. The solo cello is intentionally partially concealed by the conductor. Groups and Their Meanings Each of the groups represents a certain kind of identity group and therefore uses musical material in a particular way. The local group represents identities that share a locality: persons of shared cultural heritage who are co-present, and whose actions are directed into greater alignment through the sharing of laws, practices, codes and customs. The diaspora group represents people of shared cultural heritage who are separated in space and time. They exchange material both amongst themselves and with the local group, but are variously distanced from these interactions, leading to a sense of fracturing and alienation.
The diaspora and local groups relate to each other in important ways. At many points during the piece (for e.g. letters R, S, V, W & Y) the local and diaspora groups play a similar or identical boxed phrase with distinct starting points. That is, all members choose their own tempo but the local group begin together at the conductor’s downbeat while the diaspora group start the phrase when they choose. This results in a blurred aural landscape in which all members explore the same basic idea but with some members more united in this process than others. Moreover, at other moments such as letter T, both groups come together and play in a united, frantic manner.
The outsider group stands apart from both the local and diaspora, and operates completely independently. They are unseen, unconducted and virtually unknown to the wider group since they do not join the ensemble prior to the final rehearsal. This is so that the music played by the outsider group comes as a surprise to the rest of the ensemble, who should not otherwise be informed of the nature of what this group will play. The outsider group represent vague and distant ‘others’; individuals who drop in from nowhere and then disappear again just as quickly. They do not interact with the complexities of diaspora/local relations since their music never relates to anyone else. Moreover, the outsider group parts are partially redacted so that they receive only a small amount of information on the activities of other members of the ensemble.
From AA, the outsider group begin playing a repeated figure at their own slow tempo. Their material is relatively simple – cycling through a series of chords – but since the rhythmic content is uneven and the tempo unknown, it should be practically difficult for the local and diaspora groups to work out when each chord will change. This is intentional and important, since at letter FF the local and diaspora groups are charged with attempting to align their material with these chords. This should be a difficult process that forces the ensemble to listen carefully to this group, momentarily providing the outsider group with the entire focus of the ensemble and a great deal of power as result. For these reasons, it is imperative that the local and diaspora groups do not see the notated outsider parts at any point. Due to the complexity of achieving such an alignment, it is recommended that the only rehearsal at which the outsider group are present should be focused on this section of the piece.
The solo cello charts a course between these three ensemble groups, weaving in and out of the different material they present; subverting, challenging, echoing or extending it. The solo cello remains most distinct from the outsider material, which they do not draw on explicitly until the final bars of the piece. At letter II the soloist detunes their C string to a B while playing, aligning with the tonal centre of the outsider group’s material and thus forming a sense of communion with this group for the first time. The solo cello therefore represents an individual who charts a course between each of these identities, never remaining entirely fixed in any grouping and with the ability to draw on each of these forms of being at particular moments.
For the rest of this confection see: https://escholarship.org/content/qt5c04v6g3/qt5c04v6g3.pdf
Great to see old stuff taken up in religious studies – where after all, I had my first job, thanks max Charlesworth and Purushottoma Billimoria, so a sort of return:
This below is from:
Peter Taehoon Lee and Godfrey Harold 2019
‘Potential or Threat?: Adopting Cultural Hybridity as a Concept for Diaspora Missiology’
October 2019, Project: Reflexivity and Missiology
One of the main concerns about hybridity is that the concept is too ambiguous and yet loaded with too many different ideas that its usage, if not careful, can easily become inconsistent and contradictory (Hutnyk 2015, 2005; Kraidy 2005, 2002; van der Veer 2015). It means that hybridity if covering too many angles at once, can become what John Hutnyk (2005:79–80) calls “a usefully slippery category” which is conveniently invoked to be an easy answer for all kinds of social and cultural situations. For example, if we state that everything is hybridised and everyone is hybrid, we are making the term lose much of its currency as a tool for social analysis. The same mistake can be made in missions if we conclude that certain religious traditions or cultural practices are hybrid without
looking at particularities of the specific hybrid phenomenon and how it differs from other hybrids and why it may be different.
And in case it is at all useful. Some texts discussing hybridity are:
Hybridity from Ethnic and Racial Studies 2005;
The chapatti story: how hybridity as theory displaced Maoism as politics in Subaltern Studies from Contemporary South Asia 2003;
Adorno at Womad from Postcolonial Studies 1998;
and you can get the book Diaspora and Hybridity, by Raminder Kaur, Virinder Kalra and me (its on book4you.org for example).
Don Miller was the mystical magical master of metaphor at Melbourne Uni in the politics department when it was mad for theory. In those days, Alan Fu Davies, John Cash, Nikos Papastergiadis, Scott McQuire, Glenda Sluga and others met regularly in the open coffee area (now boarded up as cubicle offices) to discuss psycho-social politics, Foucault, Derrida, Spivak, Rose, and where Anthony Giddens came and tore his stretch denim jeans on an armchair and Jean Baudrillard talked about everything as simulation and was asked ‘so why do you write’.
Don has now perpetrated another book, his fourth, a long time coming, but a beauty. Happily published by Pavement, it is endorsed by the great and the good of time studies, but it is much more. Also a theoretical book, but filled with examples, cases studies and commentary on everything relevant to Australian politics, global theory, matters of the minute and problems of the ages. It is infused with sport and science, India and Europe, Melbourne to its core yet never parochial in a way that will wind some people up and get others scratching their heads to think. The ‘think piece’ indeed was Don’s meter, asking his students to sit under a tree and consider their assignment before writing them in – as he encouraged – prose that challenged the stiff conventions of Political Science in its day, and today.
Time itself is more than a metaphor, but then nothing can escape time, or metaphor. The book benefits hugely from years beyond the university, talking to people as a conversationalist, a life coach, an advisor and a neighbour. A product of travels across the globe and across the shelves, armchair readings of psychoanalysis and on the spot samples of subcontinental conflicts, dilemmas and designs. The book is a conceptual challenge to tik-tok and clock time, taking temporality through its paces, trialling different angles, wearing away, shifting, displacing the assumptions of the watch, how duration has a face, apparent and hegemonic, which orders time and is thereby disrupted by those who champion fluidity of thought and action. McEnroe’s sublime.
In his blurb for the book, the China specialist Michael Dutton, also a one-time member of the Melbourne Uni Politics Department, says Miller ‘hones in on the ethereal and the everyday quotidian yet paradoxically political character of timing’. Too much perhaps, but that hits the head of the nail in ways most florid writing cannot. Don’s prose never exceeds its remit, but its remit is to provoke you to think again, to think of how style is bound up with what a book says, to think of multiple times of reading, and living. To accept the gift of being responsible for reading and thinking and living in your time and for all time as a finite yet multiple being. The longer perspective is not in the length of the book but the time that these thoughts will stay at the back of thinking, a contemplation engine informing and reforming thoughts and schedules. Make time to read this book, it will be worth the wait (for the delivery, in this time of Covid, will also pass fast enough, in due course).
Buy it here: http://pavementbooks.com/time-and-time-again/
A sacred site in Western Australia that showed 46,000 years of continual occupation and provided a 4,000-year-old genetic link to present-day traditional owners has been destroyed in the expansion of an iron ore mine.
The cave in Juukan Gorge in the Hammersley Ranges, about 60km from Mt Tom Price, is one of the oldest in the western Pilbara region and the only inland site in Australia to show signs of continual human occupation through the last Ice Age. It was blasted along with another sacred site on Sunday.
Mining company Rio Tinto received ministerial consent to destroy or damage the site in 2013 under WA’s outdated Aboriginal heritage laws, which were drafted in 1972 to favour mining proponents.
One year after consent was granted, an archeological dig intended to salvage whatever could be saved discovered the site was more than twice as old as previously thought and rich in artefacts, including sacred objects.
Most precious was a 4,000-year-old length of plaited human hair, woven together from strands from the heads of several different people, which DNA testing revealed were the direct ancestors of Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura traditional owners living today.
But the outdated Aboriginal Heritage Act does not allow for a consent to be renegotiated on the basis of new information. So despite regular meetings with Rio Tinto, the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation was unable to stop the blast from going ahead.
“It’s one of the most sacred sites in the Pilbara region … we wanted to have that area protected,” PKKP director Burchell Hayes told Guardian Australia.
“It is precious to have something like that plaited hair, found on our country, and then have further testing link it back to the Kurrama people. It’s something to be proud of, but it’s also sad. Its resting place for 4,000 years is no longer there.”
Hayes said the site had been used as a campsite by Kurrama moving through the area, including in the memory of some elders.
“We want to do the same, we want to show the next generation,” he said. “Now, if this site has been destroyed, then we can tell them stories but we can’t show them photographs or take them out there to stand at the rock shelter and say: this is where your ancestors lived, starting 46,000 years ago.”
The Aboriginal Heritage Act has been up for review, in some form, since 2012. Draft legislation put forward by the former Liberal government in 2014 was rejected after even a National party MP argued it was unfair to traditional owners and did not allow for adequate consultation.
Re-writing the act was listed as a priority for Labor before their election win in 2017, and last month Aboriginal affairs minister Ben Wyatt pushed back the final consultation on his draft bill until later this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new legislation will provide options to appeal or amend agreements to allow for the destruction of heritage sites, Wyatt said. He wasn’t aware of the risk to the Juukan site, or its destruction, until Monday.
“It will provide for agreements between traditional owners and proponents to include a process to consider new information that may come to light, and allow the parties to be able to amend the agreements by mutual consent,” he said. “The legislation will also provide options for appeal should either party not be compliant with the agreement.”
In its submission to the legislative review, Rio Tinto said it was broadly supportive of the proposed reform but that consent orders granted under the current system should be carried over, and that rights of appeal should be fixed, not broad or subject to extensions, lest it “prolong approvals or appeals processes at a critical point in the project.”
A spokesman from Rio Tinto said the company had a relationship with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people dating back three decades, “and we have been working together in relation to the Juukan area over the past 17 years”.
“Rio Tinto has worked constructively together with the PKKP People on a range of heritage matters and has, where practicable, modified its operations to avoid heritage impacts and to protect places of cultural significance to the group,” the company said.
The mining company signed a native title agreement with the traditional owners in 2011, four years before their native title claim received formal assent by the federal court. They facilitated the salvage dig in 2014, which uncovered the true age of the site.
An earlier 1 metre test dig, conducted in 2008, dated the site at about 20,000 years old, but the salvage expedition uncovered a “very significant site” with more than 7,000 artefacts collected, including grid stones that were 40,000 years old, thousands of bones from middens which showed changes in fauna as the climate changed, and sacred objects.
The flat floor of the cave allowed for a significant depth of soil and sand to build up, creating a layer almost two metres deep in parts. Most archeological digs in the Pilbara hit rock at 30cm.
Most significantly, the archeological records did not disappear during the last Ice Age. Most inland archeological sites in Australia show that people moved away during the Ice Age between 23,000 and 19,000 years ago, as the country dried up and water sources dried up. Archeological evidence from Juukan Gorge suggest it was occupied throughout.
“It was the sort of site you do not get very often, you could have worked there for years,” he said. “How significant does something have to be, to be valued by wider society?” he said.
• This article was amended on 27 May 2020 to correct the spelling of Burchell Hayes.
It seems like that old “goodness gracious me” sketch about the funny uncle that was claiming everything in Britain was ‘Indian’ was, – yup, Indian – accurate after all:
Reading Wittfogel and on page 214 he finds the Domesday Book, tdocumenting property rights for landlords of yore, has Arab [Saracen – Ghengis – ok, almost Indian] origins…
‘When in 1066 the Normans conquered England, some of their countrymen had already set themselves up as the masters of southern Italy, an area which, with interruptions, had been under Byantine administration until this date: and some of them had established a foothold in Sicily, an area which had been ruled by Byzantium for three hundred years and after that by the Saracens, who combined Arab and Byzantine techniques of absolutist government.
We have no conclusive evidence regarding the effect of this Byzantine-Saracen experience on William and his councilors. But we know that in 1072—that is, thirteen years before William ordered the description of England—the Normans had conquered the capital of Sicily, Palermo, and the northern half of the island. And we also know that there were considerable “comings and goings” 43 between the Italian-Sicilian Normans and their cousins in Normandy and England, particularly among the nobility and clergy. The latter happened also to be actively engaged in administrative work.44 No wonder, then, that on the basis of his knowledge of the period Haskins, the leading English expert on English-Sicilian relations in the Middle Ages, suggests “the possibility of a connexion between Domesday Book. and the fiscal registers which the south had inherited from its Byzantine and Saracen rulers.” [cites himself]
Haskins’ hypothesis explains well why a typically hydraulic device of fiscal administration appeared in feudal Europe. It also explains why for hundreds of years afterward this “magnificent exploit” had no parallel in that area. Evidently, systematic and nationwide registration was as out of place in feudal society as it was customary in the realm of Oriental despotism’ (Wittfogel 1957: 214)
from Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power and yes, the Orientalism and the anti-communism are strong in this one, and comparative studies on this scale are wild speculation at the level of conclusion, but int he detail, well, the detail is amazing. It is like a randomised global free association generator.
Highly unlikely, but if there were to be a collection of quotes for such an edition, this fine example would do very well as a back cover quote alongside the old ones. It is from a very fine-looking book by Nabaparna Ghosh – A Hygienic City-Nation: Space, Community, and Everyday Life in Colonial Calcutta 2020 Cambridge. I am excited to read the rest of the book, as I’ve only seen an early part so far. Of course, I mean the second part of this paragraph, though great to again be in the company of Arturo, and earlier Chris Pinney and others. This is on page 9:
The book itself – out in stores soon I believe (you can have a sneaky peak and read about 20 pages on Google books).
Many times mentioned on this blog, it is now more relevant than ever to write and support comrade Sai Baba whose conditions, like so many prisoners, are inhumane.
GN Saibana is one of the most prominent political prisoners in India and
one of the main leaders of the unification efforts of the Indian
revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements.
Press release by /The Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. GN
Release Dr. G. N. Saibaba from Nagpur Central Jail
In the face of an imminent threat to his life exacerbated by the
Over the last six years, the health of Dr. G. N. Saibaba, incarcerated
in Nagpur Central Jail, has deteriorated alarmingly. Prof. Saibaba is a
teacher of English at the University of Delhi and is a human rights
Due to post-polio residual paralysis of his lower limbs, he is over
ninety percent physically disabled and wheelchair bound. Since
incarceration, he has developed severe additional ailments that have
resulted in irreparable loss to his health. On May 9^th 2014, he was
abducted from Delhi by the Maharashtra Police and charged under several
sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). None of
the electronic documents supposedly seized from G.N. Saibaba’s house
were displayed in the court or tested through any witness or made part
of the course of evidence. These electronic documents were directly
brought only as part of 313 statement, and not the main course of
evidence. The judge rejected all Supreme Court judgments regarding
bringing these documents which were not part of the course of evidence
as part of 313. These documents used were not a part of the trial.
Gadchiroli Sessions court gave life imprisonment on March 7^th 2017 to
Dr. GN Saibaba along with five others. Excluding a brief reprieve in
2016, he has been kept in the solitary /anda/ cell of Nagpur Central
Jail since arrest. With Indian jails filled beyond capacity and lacking
in basic medical facilities, and with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping
across the country particularly affecting the aged and those with
serious pre-existing medical conditions, Dr. G. N. Saibaba’s future
looks exceedingly bleak.
Throughout his political life, Dr. G. N. Saibaba has been a vocal
advocate for the rights of Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims and other oppressed
communities. He has spoken against the state sponsored attack on people
in Central India under Operation Green Hunt. He stood by his students
and advocated for democratic principles and social justice within the
university. He has never shied away from speaking his mind and has
worked tirelessly to uphold the spirit of democracy. While hospitals in
Nagpur and jail authorities have stated that they lack of facilities
needed to care for a person with such severe disabilities and ailments,
he remains incarcerated, untreated and denied bail. Nonetheless, he
retains the spirit of struggle, even when dehumanised by the lack of
medical facilities and denied the basic fundamental right of a life with
Dr. G. N. Saibaba suffers severe physical pain caused by the
degeneration of muscles in his hands. He is plagued by pancreatitis,
high blood pressure, Cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility and
sleeplessness. The weather conditions of Nagpur, magnified by the
windowless solitary /anda/ cell have even strained the functioning of
his heart. Consequently, his physical ailments intensified while the
lack of pain relief and neglect due to inadequate medical facilities
further debilitate his already fragile health. Despite interventions
made by the National Human Rights Commission and authorities of
international human rights organisations, the Courts have repeatedly
denied him bail.
The Supreme Court of India has upheld the right to life and reflected on
prisoners observing that “the treatment of a human being which offends
human dignity, imposes avoidable torture and reduces the man to the
level of a beast would certainly be arbitrary and can be questioned
under Article 14”. India is also a signatory to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which recognises the
inherent dignity of human beings and the ideal of free human beings
enjoying civil and political freedom. Furthermore, India has ratified
the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on
October 1^st 2007. India has even adopted the United Nations Resolution
70/175 on Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also
known as the Nelson Mandela Rules). These covenants, conventions and
resolutions ensure life and dignity to all persons, prisoners and
persons with disabilities and layout the essential parameters necessary
for its implementation. When the National Crime Records Bureau states
that prisons across the country prison are filled at 117% with
Maharashtra exceeding the average at 149%, the impact of the spread of
the COVID-19 virus in such a space is likely to be a death sentence for
/The Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr. GN Saibaba/fears for
his life and appeals to the Government of India and the Government of
Maharashtra for the immediate release of Dr. G. N. Saibaba, in light of
the impending threat to his life from the COVID-19 virus. The committee
urges all democratic organisations and individuals to appeal for the
release of all political prisoners.
Prof G. Haragopal
Prof Jagmohan Singh
Prof Manoranjan Mohanty
Prof Amit Bhaduri
Srikrishna Deva Rao
Subrat Kumar Sahu
Co research in Vietnam for the anthropology classroom with Do Thi Xuan Huong, In Education Philosophy and Theory, 2020, with supplement rept_a_1752187_sm3452
The Pecuniary Animus of the University in Education, Philosophy and Theory, 2020
‘If the Tigers and Cyclones Don’t Get You, the Law Will’, outh Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 2019
Global South Asia on Screen. Book, India only edition, Aakar, 2019
What did you do in the war? Revisiting the WW2 memoirs of Stoker Thomas Mouat Tate’ History and Anthropology 30(5): 581-599, 2019
Marx in Calcutta, CITY 22(4): 490-509, 2018,
- ‘Museum of Vernacular Regeneration’, CITY, 22(4): 584-594, 2018
Global South Asia on Screen, Book, World Edition, Bloomsbury, 2018
‘Screen violence and partition’, Inter Asia Cultural Studies, 19(4): 610-626. 2018
‘Mela: festival scenes in South Asian cinema’, Inter Asia Cultural Studies, 19(1): 129-147, 2018
- ‘Cine-Politics: Film Stars and Political Existence in South India, by M. Madhava Prasad’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 41: 236-238, 2018 https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4826-8949
Co-research in Vietnam for the anthropology classroom
Do Thi Xuan Huong & John Hutnyk
50 free ‘eprints’ for those who want to read it now – https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/DJGVNGGB5JEUHXFUPYZF/full?target=10.1080/00131857.2020.1752187
This will in due course belong to a special issue on Education.
Emailing a friend today – a Leftist of significant standing, and seven decades – who has found joy in reading Marx after attending a workshop here.
‘Very fun reading, which you’d never guess just based on his reputation.’
Exactly exactly exactly.
And the footnotes are really worth their time in gold, where he calls Pop Malthus a sycophant and plagiariser, and later Burke, whom Malthus plagiarises, is in turn unable to have an original thought…
Even John Stuart Mill, whom Marx has around for lunch on occasion, comes in for hefty shots of gnarled abuse, as should be the case for an agent of. the East India Company.
And the immortal line in the text at the end of chapter 6 about the market as that perfect utopia of freedom, property, equality and Bentham. Poor Mr Bentham, having started the London Port police force – a hidden barb is there where Marx says the police invent the criminal – his name also comes to stand for the entire system. Foucault’s later attribution of Benthamite to the surveillance state is misty-eyed in comparison.
But it must have been so hard to translate into Tieng Viet, so its no surprise there are occasional liberties taken with the text. Mostly improvements :)
Happy May Day
Full story here: The Rumour of Calcutta
As I was chatting to Tony who wanted an update, here it for economies sake for the family and friends too: we are in week 12 of homeschooling. Heaven forfend, help the kids. We sailed past the ‘we have this’ phase into stir crazy part three in and out the other end of ‘this is how it will be forever’. Playing the Animals ‘We Gotta get Out of This Place’ over dinner. Vietnam = 0 deaths, under 300 infections found, yaaay, and all of those traced to a couple of folks returned from pommyland, one airline pilot who went clubbing!! Nevertheless, great effort and a system that works – go figure, communism for all, I say – and we hope it will just be a few weeks more before the schools welcome us back, otherwise, its forever and, well, at least life is cheap here. On the other hand, life is cheap here. Thankfully some factories and businesses have been paying wages and there’s a lot of govt support, but marginal, part-time, street-level workers, waste-pickers., lottery tix people, etc, must have it tough, so very, tough times for many people, but I am still surprised, a little, since not all that many are visibly losing it. People sit around as casual as ever in the smaller outdoor street cafes that are still functioning in a minor way; for the bigger cafes – and in our area, every second house is a small cafe or foodie joint – in terms of the near-subsistence level businesses here must be a lot of pain – 80% of shops still closed (though the guy selling Security System’s can’t be an essential service can he? I mean, everyone is at home, and the restaurant tips are empty. Who needs security gadgets right now?). There was a moment when we could think, ah, it is just like a long long staycation, – endless Tet – but its harder to concentrate on anything the longer this goes on without a clear outcome/prognosis. I guess we have a lot of people starting to construct these. Home kit versions mostly – and often prognosis by numbers. And Guesswork. When I do get a moment to think work things, apart from just getting the few articles out with others, the analytic side is a minefield of doom and chaos. Again, maybe in some ways, Vietnam should be ok because not so many foreign students come here compared to say, Australia, UK and US uni’s, who are gonna suffer extreme measures – part inflicted by the ‘crisis’, partly by the bodgy silver budgie management types that will cut to the bone to save their skins. Especially UK ones who recently spent tonnes of money on tarting up their facilities to attract more students. Expect a huge crash in the higher education sector there. That, plus travel, are going to be a long time coming back. Venture capital will no doubt be looking to invest in remote digital services for rich folks on islands. If they can secure private armies to defend their fibre optic links and helicopter/drone Amazon deliveries, their life will be the same – well, wall-to-wall Rolling Stones ‘at home’ videos are the saddest part of it. Quite a long way from the Honky Tonk, eh Mick.
‘During the hot 1968 season, the name Anna Ernestovna “Asja” Lācis (1891–1979) unexpectedly reemerged among young leftist cultural “archaeologists” as an unearthed ruin of a historical “dream city.” A crucial missing element of a certain political-cultural trajectory had been rediscovered. With it, Benjamin’s short essay “Program for a Proletarian Children’s Theater” regained the character of a concrete and dialectical political-aesthetical pedagogical praxis, based on real experience. His writings on childhood and pedagogy thus assumed a programmatic character too: to oppose the dominant “bourgeois” education and behavioral models by all means, locating the very foundations of the capitalist ideological edifice in early childhood education’.
“In times of struggle, art has to be both an ally and friend of those in conflict. In this century of struggle, we look for art in the magnificent, free life. In it the creative process reveals itself through an intense and free action of the spirit, through masses that flow united by a common exhilarating rhythm’.
Comparative. Who’d have thought to do this one – but, its done, and there’s an intriguing and generous review – of J. Warren’s Cultures of Development: Vietnam, Brazil, and the Unsung Vanguard of Prosperity, from the Journal of Vietnamese Studies Vol 14, No 4 (they have made their content free up till May). Unfortunately, the book itself is mega expensive.
Click on the image to get the review:
What does solidarity look like? There have not been enough in the way of critiques of revolutionary tourism, of the exoticist trap of romanticising rebel movements abroad while ignoring practical tasks at home. A critique of that from an internationalist position would have to stress the co-constitution of the oppressions over there and over here. Often the same corporate and government players, yet, also often the same sort of privileged myopia within and among those who say co-constitution and act only, or at best, in the ways Amnesty International or similar might do – insisting on the expertise of the well placed, thriving on the time drain of those accessed at the front lines. Trying to hold the two ends together is no doubt hard, but hang on to only one and you float away into la la land. Learn from those cut at the cutting edge, and don’t be the cutter.
Several Robinsinades are coming soon.
But folks seem a bit confused about which Daniel Defoe to get into right now. As the world splutters towards total collapse, I mean, do you read his notes on the plague year first, or go for a refresher course on self-isolation in Robinson?
I’ve articles in the works on this, and have been translating an excellent essay from German on Crusoe/Croix/Kreutznaer/Kreutzer by Wulf Hund. But today, recognizing the new viral potency of the Crusoe effect, I am stumbling through a new version. We are all Robbo now.
There are few better descriptions of colonial extraction than this one where Marx eviscerates the Brits in India. He was on the case right till the end, in this case just before he heads off to Africa. Here is part of the letter to Danielson, in case you have not looked at it in a while:
In India serious complications, if not a general outbreak, is in store for the British government. What the English take from them annually in the form of rent, dividends for railways useless to the Hindus; pensions for military and civil service men, for Afghanistan and other wars, etc., etc. – what they take from them without any equivalent and quite apart from what they appropriate to themselves annually within India, speaking only of the value of the commodities the Indians have gratuitously and annually to send over to England – it amounts to more than the total sum of income of the sixty millions of agricultural and industrial labourers of India! This is a bleeding process, with a vengeance!
Marx, Letter to Nikolai Danielson
London, February 19, 1881
See here for Marx in Calcutta
I confess to ill-discipline at times, I think I enjoyed this anime from China far too much – on the 200th birth anniversary, so a bit dated, but its epic :
I have taught a lot of great students in my (eight!) years in the anth department at Goldsmiths, and now finally it looks like my escape to full time graft in the Centre for Cultural Studies is going to be confirmed – yippideee (for better or worse – its gotta be easier than two half time jobs = 150%). Its also a time for somewhat wistful reflections, and, gotta say, things have been pretty flat for obvious reasons the past few weeks…
Anyway, fact is, I won’t be teaching the Representation course anymore, so thanks to Chris, Richard, Atticus, Lia, Carrie, Nick and Will who taught alongside. Thanks also to all those who wrote and made work – fantastic films and photography projects, multimedia and chaos performances – which were really the greatest part. So many good films – onwards and upwards. I cannot list the…
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After some time, and somewhat shorter (tighter) edited to be less of a devotional prayer for Thorstein Bunde Veblen, this piece – The Pecuniary Animus of the University – is out with Education Philosophy and Theory. Look out for more soon.
Thanks to the many who helped get this together with good advice, critique and suggestions. Its taken a while, but all to the good.
This just in from Taylor & Francis. I comply, with a wink and a nod, but email if the 50 run out and I will work out a way…
“Want to tell others you’re published? Use your free eprints today
Every author at Routledge (including all co-authors) gets 50 free online copies of their article to share with friends and colleagues as soon as their article is published. Your eprint link is now ready to use and is:
You can paste this into your emails, on social media, or anywhere else you’d like others to read your article. Author feedback tells us this is a highly effective way of highlighting your research. Using this link also means we can track your article’s downloads and citations, so you can measure its impact.
Back on the elite theorists are plagiarists bandwagon, to remind you that Zizek does not only repeat himself. At best this is laziness. And I don’t mean its lazy to repeat yourself, but to romp with other people’s words.
Was reading and discussing with a comrade Dinesh Wadiwel about his stuff on animals in Marx, and took up discussion of the bit from Capital 1867 edn , cited by Endnotes 2, on animals as general equivalent (dropped in subsequent editions). This since I am giving a talk on related themes: Marx, Animals, India, a certain rhinoceros, in Senegal this Saturday.
But then I did a search of the phrasing (english trans of 1867 edn from Value Studies by Marx <download here>). There, discovered a bit of suspect website scrubbing.
Let me put it neutrally, and let the people decide <the people know I have nothing against Zizek, except for my polemic in Pantomime Terror, that is: (see here)
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Somewhere I have a photograph of a piece of graffiti from Kolkata in the early 1990s. It shows three palms behind a brick wall on which is painted “Like the two Germany’s Bengal should be reunited”. (Cannot find it right now but will post it when I do).Of course, there is other news from India today, tragic violence in Delhi, a buffoon invited a buffoon to address 100,000 and other atrocities, but the good news was buried on page 6 as usual, and yes I know that is not what this railways initiative means, but 150 metres of track to go sounds like a useful development (for the record, the first partition of Bengal was proposed in 1905 and resisted, the second in 1947 we call partition and it was brutal, with ongoing effects, not least on the Jute Industry which lurched from collapse to collapse). Now this minor item of return.
From the telegraph today 22 Feb 2020
Is it the wrong time to say Make Bengal Great Again, and get some hats?
Of course, there already is a hat – but it is from Cincinnati…
We should ask V&A head honcho Tristram Hunt if he plans to hand any of the booty back.
The famous sepoy being eaten by a tiger should surely be repatriated to Seringapatnam. It was stolen after Tipu was defeated. I guess responsibility lies with Wellesley, but that the V&A did not itself first ‘acquire’ the object, that is no reason not to return it to the place it was stolen from. Elgin marbles are broken, but this piece is still operative and would be a great draw at the Summer Palace in Daria Daulat Bagh
Who is up for a campaign for this. See pic – they make the most of it here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/tipus-tiger
The times are those of distraction. Intensive scrutiny of slights and perceived hurts, while the libidinously ironic engage in rampant expressive display of mildly unacceptable comic-cum-outrageous transgressive provocation. At the same time substantial, world destroying, crimes of armaments, pollution, resource obsession, privatised prisons and obscene wealth carry on regardless.
While we should no doubt be interested in efforts to extend a ‘theoretical framework for how appropriations contribute to both the construction and reception of visual icons and how personification constitutes the main link between icons and their appropriations’ (Mortensen 2017: 1143) maybe we want to stress context as key to what is called personification. The personification is, we might contend, of a moment, a period, a, tragically, zeitgeist, that would identify as emergent, even established, cynicism on the run. Never wants to be tied down, and never thinks of its own identification as such, but fascism might be another name for it. Sure, we can recognise the difficulties of this as context – it looks back too far and the danger of any interest in Adorno is that some people think a postcolonial Adorno is not plausible. The contexts of appropriations that took place then, already dated in WW2, are also now, and the now is a time when the critical power of irony has been stolen. The memes and edgelord culture of the far-right thrives on a cynicism that is hardly worth the name, it is ironically cynical and all the worse. There is no telling some people. Yet, conversely, on the other side, an eroded ‘left’ politics is often where irony and perspective have been eviscerated by an unexamined warrior earnestness, exaggerated and solemn intensity, unable to recognise self-inflicted, humourless, damage and futility. The ancient idea of humour being about having a laugh has long, long gone, if from Freud and others, as we note, it never was without power plays. For the caustic circulation of name-calling and regimented thinking that refuses to laugh, even sometimes inappropriately, is what Adorno had already diagnosed as a taboo. An injunction that ‘nothing should be moist’ (Adorno), and even if this has still has not taken hold absolutely everywhere, sometimes even the moisture just tastes like what Michel Leiris called a ‘sexual lozenge’ (Leiris), an approved limit to desire imposed with a sales pitch effectively keeps us quiet, keeps us from getting at them with a bat as the bombing continues.
I was recently in an information briefing (which was very useful) about Web of Science and citations/searches. Here are some thoughts on how the system at present breeds conformity. Or at least, this is what I said, pretty much. very slightly odified to remove some names:
On Metrics as Tools
My concern – something I have discussed with a few others – is how there are some serious gaps in the Web of Science coverage for some areas of the social sciences and humanities. I wonder if you are interested in this discussion as well. I think there are a few important things to consider, or if they have been considered, make the thinking clear as to how they have been handled.
I work (and think) in a variety of different ways that sometimes seem to me to be specifically designed to fall between the cracks of the indexes. This started with noting that the journals I really admire, were not making it from ESCI to SSCI, or rather, some were even choosing not to. I don’t think I should say which ones, but a few I have had some reviewing or editorial exchange with have said they are pulling out of the indexing ‘game’ as metrics was both too blunt and too normative. There are also a few things, discussed especially, that were not being indexed. Smaller magazines for example, museum catalogues and artist books, visual research (I had taught ethnographic film for many years) and political pamphlets are falling by the way in the face of a normative centrifugal force.
The blunt version of the argument here is that the new Incites tools do not ‘incite’ enough – but rather encourage heading in the same direction that everyone else is heading in – collaborate with those who are most likely to collaborate with you, cite those who cite you, read those who read you etc. Sure, that perhaps has its merits in terms of group cohesion, but academic work should surely be, at one level at least, not about that at all. It is disagreement and difference we should seek, not everyone heading towards the same spiral of universal chanting “ISI ISI” as if a group of characters from a Thomas Pynchon novel had spring off the page in full riot gear. Doesn’t the tendency to seek out the most popular make it harder for new and novel ideas to get a hearing? At what point do the top citations, top metrics, top index procedures need to be disrupted by ideas might not even be recognised by ‘metrics’? Ideas that disrupt the play of uniformity, conformity, safety and repetition? Obviously, I am setting this out starkly to make the point clear, but I think there is a fundamental problem when we have 50 million papers that are there because, as you said, ‘we want to make the world a better place’ but some could argue that the world is demonstrably becoming less better, or at least a significant set of indicators would suggest that. maybe the 50 million need to not refer more and more to the centre, but seek more and more the alternative, angular, oblique and even opposite/oppositional ideas. Ahh, we are communist after all (though in communism there is also a tendency to centralisation, of course – as I said, overstating to make the point).
What mechanisms can be demonstrated within your presentation, or within the tools, that cater for the need to engage in a ‘ruthless criticism of everything’ as old beardo would have us do. The old man with a beard also saw himself as on the road to science, but that it was no easy path, there was work to be done. What could be entered into the search algorithms to ensure the critiques of normative and even hegemonic ideas in each area are challenged? What mechanisms in the search can be dysfunctional for the ongoing business model that is, frankly, no longer really fit for purpose in a degraded and entropic world…
I would love (ironic and hysterical laughter – cackle cackle hee hee hee) to see some explicit attention to how critical disruptive thinking could be built in as potions for the indexing process. I know indexing cannot be neutral, but can the biases run the other way sometimes? can you say how these questions might be addressed? And what great possibilities would be there if 100 flowers contended with 100 schools of thought in bloom…
Just to confirm that referentiality takes all kinds, my most often cited ISI works (ISI articles cited by ISI journals) show interesting trends. (All available on the download texts link in the sidebar).
Well, I know, this is not such an appropriate headline and a bit cheeky to add it, but I find this article predictable and mind-boggling at the same time. Charles Sobraj escaped from this place, so now you can try too. Though the last line comparison with a similar program in, of all places, Telangana jail has a nice little earner attached.
Illustrating the growing trend for dark tourism, Delhi’s Tihar Jail is opening cells for tourists to give them a first-hand taste of life behind bars in an Indian prison. Emily Eastman reports
For about £20, the “Feel Like Jail” initiative will invite tourists to sample life in Asia’s largest prison – living in a locked cell, eating prison food, sleeping on the floor, wearing a uniform and grinding wheat at 5am.
The prison, which sprawls across 400 acres and houses more than 16,000 inmates, has constructed special tourist cells that are separated from the main prison by high walls.
There’s also the possibility of meeting real inmates, although not the notorious criminals currently imprisoned there. Instead, only selected inmates will be allowed to live in the complex with tourists.
Speaking to India Today, a source said: “These prisoners will be shortlisted based on their behaviour while they are lodged in jail. It is important for visitors to share the same premises with these inmates so that they can interact with them, listen to their stories.”
A source within Tihar Jail said that the complex was reviewed in June. “The feedback by superintendent-rank officers emphasised that visitors could be kept with inmates of semi-open and open prisons.
“Also, the proper uniform of the jail must be provided to the visitors and she/he should be kept away from mobile phones and other special facilities,” they said.
Although cells have toilets, tourists will still have to sleep on the floor like a real inmate and phones will be removed for security reasons. Activities during the stay will include dawn exercises and daily activities such as painting and meditation.
There are rumours that the attraction could be a Delhi Tourism initiative, which is not so hard to believe when you consider that the prison already sells a wide-range of “TJ’s” branded goods – from textiles to furniture – made by prisoners.
It’s not the first time that so-called “prison tourism” has been used to attract visitors and generate more tourism receipts.
In the 1990s, English inmate Thomas Mcfadden started offering tours of San Pedro Prison in La Paz, Bolivia, where he was imprisoned after being convicted of drug smuggling.
Mcfadden’s tours were borne of a need for income – San Pedro operated as a mini city, with inmates required to pay for everything, including their cells – but modern prison tours seem to be built on demand from a niche segment of travellers.
Perhaps the first in India was the “Feel the Jail” programme at Sangareddy Prison, in India’s Telangana state. Similar to the Tihar offering, visitors were given a prison uniform, basic cutlery and toiletries while being stripped of their phones – and freedom – for 24 hours.
The prison’s superintendent Santosh Kumar Rai said in 2018: “30 per cent of the prisoners leave out of abrupt sheer fear and for those who do this, we levy an extra charge of Rs 500 [US$7]. But those who complete full 24 hours walk out with a new sense of freedom.”’
Really, that last bit just seems to ice the story as fully baked cake in contemporary India. A levy on fear and the feeling of freedom. Also, you can pay to get out – probably the most authentic part of the deal.
Seems about to nail the head on the hit:
‘Surrounded here by the wealth of objects, documents, images, and resources available in public and private museums, archives and universities, I soon felt obliged to delve into the study of worlds that the accumulation and dubious ownership of such wealth helped to destroy. This was a natural expansion of my interest in the potential history of Palestine and its destruction. I came to understand that the structural deferral of reparations for slavery was the organizing principle of imperial political regimes as well as the intellectual wealth of universities. The challenge became how not to become imperialism’s ambassador and not to normalize the privileged access to these objects offered to scholars, and rather to recognize others’ rights to and in them’ (Azouley 2019:xv)
Ariella Aïsha Azouley 2019 Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, London: Verso.
Can someone in the UK souvenir one of these fab posters for me please (for ‘research’ purposes). I find them amazing. Yes, I know, it was the flip-floppery on Brexit, the contempt of the class (failure to purge the party, and inexplicable tolerance of the Blairite Right with their vicous articulation of privilege in a virulently prejudiced class system) and media demonisation. And yes, more youth and more votes and etc.
But this poster is truly awesome:
Is this poster even true – crikey, there were posters like this! So bad, I want one. The absolute gobsmacking craziness of the three-toed mugwumps that dreamed these up. Oh, wait, maybe here, and here, and here:
Foolish to ask if Jeremy can sue them – sue who? – for this kind of smear. Its of the level of the “For Wider Streets Vote Conservative” poster (that I love, and used in Australia) or the Saatchi and Saatchi (Thatcherite) campaign posters of yore. Only lawyers would gain from such a move. And, well, maybe that will permit the luvvies to indulge in still more endless recriminations, rather than getting in the way of a larger necessary project. They will never be the ones able to transmute the interest in the ‘manifesto’ into something that really is for the many.
The point is, if you can hear this outside the triple echo-camber, with the three scourges of pointless reaction: going off social media for a while, sniping at everyone, or I told you so (well, I did – can only support labour for so long) you can get on with generalising and universalising the so-called little Britain manifesto. Then, whatever the vote tally that so reassures you however you do the sums, it is still the case that a left labour step towards a larger communist future has to be better than what Boris has in store.
(NB. Before I knew he was labour party, that Jeremy bloke came to demonstrations I’d helped organise – eg a London group against the Internal Security Act in Malaysia, a protest of 6 people outside Malaysian Airlines office decades ago. So, you know, if he keeps on, it is a good thing. He does not have to be Jezza the superstar to do worthwhile things). So, in return for joining an overlooked cause, please see the video:
Then, finally, to bring something forward from elsewhere,there is Neil Davenport, who I also knew as a journalist in Manchester long ago. He seems spot on to say:
‘It is wrong to assume that a re-run of mild social democracy was to blame for Labour’s catastrophe on Friday. Instead it was a reliance on continuity Blairism that led to the collapse of its northern heartland. There are a number of key aspects of Blairism that Corbyn and Momentum continued and went further with. The most obvious one was Blair’s peace with the EU and outright Europhilia, a position miles away from Labour’s old left and ex miner’s in the north. Secondly, the replacement of class solidarity with institutionalising diversity and identity politics, with the narrative of suspicion and at times outright hostility towards its traditional constituency.”
and to point out the pressing need to dismantle the middle-class drive
“to culturally reform the masses along middle class hairshirt lines”
Yes – it is high time to abandon that moralising sermonizing class and tone – the very middle-class hairshirt which is so beloved of moaners of many stripes. It has always been a less scratchy version of hairshirt than usually imagined. I mean, it seems like it comes in a whole variety of designer styles, slinky, sexy, never take it off, dom-fem versions, versions approved by your valet, gortex and microfiber outdoor hiking versions and more. Suits you sir, they say. Wearing political t-shirts with a 800 thread count. That hairshirt comes tailored and home delivered in Rugby and Superdry options. Nothing should be moist. They for sure aren’t taking it off for a proper scratch anytime soon.
The inadequacy of charitable care as an international cure is evidenced despite the widespread propagation of philanthropic intervention. Bill Gates dedicates millions towards eradication of less glamorous diseases, and receives favourable blanket coverage across BBC World and other outlets. All manner of charitable organisations leech goodwill from the small-scale individual touristic concern through to huge Christian institutions with administrative apparatus and sans frontiers bureaucracy. Newspapers give support to campaigns to outlaw genital mutilation or to screen for trachoma, but a general inability to scale-up to the required distribution of universal well-being is structurally implied in philanthropic effort, even among those who would reject the injustice of global inequality. All very well-meaning and caring for sure, but fundamentally inadequate as a ‘cure’, dealing in a terminology of medical symptom and unable to confront the epidemiology of capitalism itself.
Here is a grotesque let them eat cake image – it shows the three billionaire amigos: Bill Gates, Akilo Dangote, Mohammed Ibrahim, and 2 women. The women are not named in the first five paras of the Forbes article I could read before the paywall closed on me. Erm, paywall? These are the richest guys in the world, and we all know no-one earns a billion dollars – do the math – you need to get $4578 per hour working ten hours a day every day for 60 years to ‘earn’ a billion. Of course, if you had $100 billion to invest in shares that rose 1% you would earn a billion in a day. Its nabbing that first $100 billion that is the trick. Anyway, instead of stealing all that money, there could be a global health service run by Governments rather than the discount Gates love-in reported here. Gates claims he pays more tax than anyone, at 10 billion on 106 billion, that is still a lower rate than I pay on my not even $1500 a month, and even as he says he’s given away $35 billion in charity, he is still ‘worth’ $106 billion (after tax? = good accountants). How can anyone be worth that, when clearly – do the math – they are still stealing the money, and asking you to smile at how generous their gifts are. Take a hike Bill. I mean, instead of thanking Gates for his self-aggrandising alibi donations in favour of a spot of science research, he could without fanfare pay proper taxes and that science x 10 could be funded by Governments without any of us having to see these cake-cutting bloated egoist philanthropists that even Charles Dickens would have mocked at Christmas.
So, in 1988 I was evading fieldwork or whatever it was – frankly, I had abandoned the very idea – and was hanging around with a writer whose short stories I had long adored, so much that I wrote to her. Vishwapriya L Iyengar – Vishwa – invited me to visit, cooked food, talked all day and night and into the next day. Talked so food that had been prepared went uneaten. Talked as her partner prepared posters for a Delhi Science Forum demonstration at JNU. And then took me one day by auto to the grounds of some closed I think electric station or even water tank, sort of diagonal from the science institute where there was a concrete T-rex – not far from Triveni. It was late. Delhi was getting cool at last – in those days the air was more like air, yet still it grew misty as the night closed in and the car horns muffled on. Anyway, we were there to meet some people who turned out to be rehearsing a play – workshopping roles, and joining in as the top-hatted factory boss. This was a performance for the picket line, theatre to be taken into factories. Shy, very clumsy, and not a little self-conscious, it was made all the more fun by a woman who turned out to be one of the organisers making fun, and in banter and laughter the mosquitoes did not seem to big a deal (until we stopped). Then food in tiffin tins, late into the night talk about all the theory of the world etc. In those days I was read up on D-school sociology.
It was about two weeks before Christmas, then Safdar was killed on 1 January. I left the next day thinking that there was too much I could not understand in India.
Books like this one planned by Sudhanva Deshpande for LeftWord show just how true that was. I am looking forward to reading more. No matter how much sociology you read, going to have a look for yourself is better, but harder.
There is more – click the link:
The Journey of ‘Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi’, Part 1
The Journey of ‘Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi’, Part 1
It was towards the end of July that the author, serial hashtagger and indulgent ‘Boss’, Sudhanva Deshpande, began sharing updates on the book’s progress on Facebook. Occupied with all kinds of tasks at LeftWord, Vaam Prakashan, and Studio Safdar – over and above the writing of the book – he could hardly be expected to sit down and talk to us about it. These updates were all we had as we grew more and more impatient.
Read on. There’s a lot here that didn’t make it into the final text. (Click on the sub-heads to see the individual Facebook posts.)
Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi will be out on January 1, 2020. Do join us for the book launch at Jhandapur that day.
I’m writing a book on Safdar Hashmi, Jana Natya Manch, street theatre, political activism, and the attack that resulted in Safdar’s and Ram Bahadur’s death. I’m going through Safdar’s papers. And every time it gets a little heavy, Safdar amuses me with his little doodles.
… and later that day
More doodles by Safdar Hashmi. Sometimes I want to say: Stop it Safdar, stop distracting me, can’t you see I’m working?
There is more: