draft endorse for forthcoming book by Don Miller “Will to Win”

Will to Win
Don Miller used to set his students a ‘think piece’ instead of an essay question. His commitment to provocations has never waned, and this book on sport is of course about much more than sport – or ‘Sport’, capitalised. From the corruptions of commercial sponsorship, to the druggy self-deceptions of Lance Armstrong or the gladiatorial parallels of big business Olympian chauvinism: Sport as gambling, made for TV (the camera always knows where the action will be), amateur, spectacular, Wagnerian self-parody. The book canvasses topics as varied as the Vatican beautifying Italian victims of Ottoman raiders as intervention in anti-Islamic politics today, to the body-sculpting substance abuse of school kids that put cyclists on steroids to shame – each compared and contrasted to the Australian obsession with winners and losers in swimming, while quoting bush-ranger folk heroes (no need to acknowledge, ‘such is life’) and Georges Perec.
I remember when I was 11 years old and playing for The Rosellas under 12 football team in the Eastern Districts Footy League. It was three-quarter time in the preliminary final and we were one-point ahead. Our coach Mr Scanlon gathered us kids together in a huddle as we sucked at our sliced oranges and he told us: ‘boys, it’s not how you play that counts, it’s going out there to win’. I was shifted from ruck-rover to the back-line, took a lucky mark or two, no-one scored, and the final siren brought pandemonium and glory. We went on the next week to lose the grand final to our sworn enemies Knox Eagles, but even today I meet up with teammates who have lived fulfilling lives and we remember that moment. Sport is formative.
If I were critical, I would say Miller runs over some of the same ground more than once, developing his points, lapping himself perhaps, inspired by the logic of his opening parable about the alternative playbook of the ‘fuzzy wuzzy angels’, so famous from the Kokoda trail (not track?). The problematic redeployment of the ANZAC myth and its ‘one day of the year’ jingoism is skewered here too, alongside duly ironic recognition of the  subcontinental origins of cricket and a judicious lambast of Bradman’s displaced militarism. These really are things to think with, and weighty matters are made light yet serous. Like Sport. Here are films, Proust, speed, repetition, Bentham and excess – the range renders Sport as complex as life. Sport as a labour of life, a play, to win or to lose, as serious as heck. A morality, a life lesson, a local-global parable for all times.



Order http://hybridpublishers.com.au/index.php/will-to-win-the-west-at-play.html


UCU strike at Goldsmiths includes public teach out at Library picket.

Strike 31.10.2013

9.30am ‘Banking on Food Poverty’, Tom Henri (STACS)

9.50am ‘Pantomime of Terror’, John Hutnyk (CCS)

10.10am ‘What is education for?’ John Wadsworth, Clare Kelly and Maggie Pitfield (Education)

10.30am ‘The internet, security and London Crypto Festival’, Matt Fuller (CCS)

10.50am ‘Digital capitalism and activism’, Veronica Barassi (Media & Comms)

11.10am ‘The militant image’, Ros Gray (Visual Cultures)

11.30am ‘Exclusion and higher education’, Claudia Bernard (STACS)

11.30am ‘Where now for Occupy?’ David Graeber (ex-Anthropology)

11.50am ‘Pedagogy/Practice/Protest’, Irit Rogoff (Visual Cultures)



A distraction from extraction. #murdoch #slept-in

If you had time to read the newspapers critically… – I would think you would start with cartoons, then segway to games of chance, the races, football transfer windows, the property market, subprime crisis, austerity and bankers bonuses to show that the entertainment logic of the sports pages/back of the paper runs to the same surface logic as the so-called news at the front of the paper – all in effect a distraction from ongoing geopolitical and micro-political value extraction no matter that it’s culture like opera or weapons sales and death. It makes no difference what the investment is in, so long as a profit is made for the owner (Marx chapter 16 of capital – sausage factory quote).

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

#Marx #Capital #lecture #course at #Goldsmiths #GoldsmithsUni ✪

Public Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome


Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too.

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion.

The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press or German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)


From Sydney Uni (as reported in the CPA paper)

Issue #1609      September 4, 2013

University of Sydney strike.

Staff at the University of Sydney took the extraordinary measure of striking last Saturday on the university’s Open Day. It’s the 7th day of strike action since March over stalled collective agreement negotiations.

University staff gathered at the main gates on campus to explain to prospective students – and their families – the reasons for their collective bargaining campaign and how deteriorating staff working conditions will affect the quality of education and the conditions of learning.

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) branch president Michael Thomson said it was a serious issue but the union action at Open Day was also fun and informative, with barbeques, balloons, and music laid on.

“We’re reclaiming Open Day and the University of Sydney from the marketeers and spin doctors.”

Staff were on the main gates from 8am and leafleted at public transport hubs during the morning. Thomson said that management’s current pay offer to staff was a real wage cut of 0.5 percent a year.

“The paltry pay offer is part of a concerted effort by Vice Chancellors across the country to force down the wages of staff in the higher education sector, even as they ask us to work harder for longer,” he said.

“At Sydney, student load increased by more than 5 percent in 2012 alone, yet staff numbers have remained unchanged. Management simply expects us to meet increased demand through increases in our workload and work intensification.

“Management’s claim that anything more than their offer is unaffordable is an attempt to suggest staff are being greedy. However, our pay claim aligns closely with community standards and expectations.

“Figures released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations show national system public sector employees received average enterprise agreement wage increases of 3.9% a year in the March quarter 2013. Across the whole national system, wages in enterprise agreements increased 3.7%.

“We deserve a fair pay rise that recognises both our hard work and broader community wage outcomes. The University of Sydney is a wealthy institution and can afford it.”

Next article – Life under an Abbott government

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Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths

This is one of those internal discussion documents that never sees the light of day – here it is for the gnawing criticism of the mice (supposed to leave it in a drawer for that, but of course I mean digital mice):

The Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths has offered the PhD for over ten years and aims to provide the destination of choice for research in cultural and postcolonial theory, popular culture studies, critical philosophy of praxis, creative and interactive technological media, new media and media activism. The PhD can be either ‘practice-based research which entails significant practical work and a written component of up to 60,000 words, or textual research with a 100,000 word thesis’. 

Students undertake the CCS PhD for several reasons: academic research and teaching as well as cultural organization, international agencies and third sector careers. The engagement with critical theory in cultural studies is well established and draws upon a strong heritage in the UK, especially at Goldsmiths with staff in the Centre for Cultural Studies as well as Cultural Studies-and cognate area identified staff in Media and Comms, Visual Cultures, Politics and Art, Visual Art, Visual Anthropology and Digital Sociology. At Goldsmiths, the Centre for Cultural Studies was founded by Professor Scott Lash in consultation with people like Profs Morley, McRobbie and Professor Stuart Hall. It was Professor Hall who insisted that CCS should aim at extending beyond the founding interests of British Cultural Studies. Today CCS incorporates theoretical and practical explorations in technological media and cultural difference in the geo-political context of global capitalism. It’s commitment to theory involves enquiries into the most advanced paradigms of cultural thought. It’s practical commitment involves us in cultural production and critical engagement with the culture industries.

An ethos in cultural studies is interdisciplinarity. A way to describe this is to say that the Centre for Cultural Studies works by mixing possibly incongruent constituencies – what this means is that we have, for more than ten years, been bringing what may at first seem like incommensurate groups together to debate and research creatively, in teams, workshops and symposia: for example we ran a series of research conferences pairing neuropsychologists and artists together to examine new modes of representing the brain and its functions, innovating the new area of neuro-aesthetics; also we brought both London City and Chinese Finance modelers together with artists to rethink the portrayal of high finance and money [hence, the recession]; following the same convergence model, in a series of 6 workshops in London, Berlin, Copenhagen and Gothenburg we brought immigration activists and theatre, film, music and medical practitioners together to re-imagine the border. We continue to develop new projects along such lines, most recently historians and the Maritime Museum Greenwich, the Museum of London Docklands and activists in social and housing campaigns along the eastern end of the Thames in London (eg., ‘Proletarianisation and the River’ event for Museum of London Docklands Sept 2013). Our mode of operation is to intersect and interrupt in creative ways the protocols of disciplinarity, so as to inspire new work. This has a successful; track record reflected in our theory-practice research student projects. 

The Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths has some 12-15 PhD students per year, currently 45 students enrolled, and has increased enrollment year on year since founding in 1998 with one PhD student. Its MA programmes feed into the PhD – there are five such programmes at present – Interactive Media, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Theory, Creating Social Media and Culture Industry. MA Contemporary Asia and MA Provocative Media are planned to start in 2013. There are some 100+ MA students. In 2012 there were twelve graduations from the Centre for Cultural Studies PhD programme, but this by no means is the extent of cultural studies at Goldsmiths. Significant Cultural Studies PhDs, especially working in popular culture and media, are housed in Goldsmiths five star rated Media and Communications Department, and there are significant numbers of PhD students working in Visual Anthropology, Visual Sociology, as well as initiatives in Visual Cultures and Politics and Art. Goldsmiths is pre-eminent in this area, as evinced by its staff profile, and its contribution to cultural debate in the UK. 

Training provision for PhD students is rich and diverse and tailor-made to individuals.

The Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths has a dedicated PhD-level cultural theory seminar, writing practice groups, and readings groups (Hegel, Deleuze, Ranciere, Spivak, Lefebvre, new Media at preset) and runs numerous training workshops on practical and formal aspects of the Phds – for example a publishing workshop in Spring 2012, a video editing training in Spring 2013, risograph training, print on demand trainings, and much more, including in-house publications such as NyX: a Noctournal (supported by the Graduate School), Coputational Culture and close associations with Mute, TCS, and Pavement Books. In terms of colloquia, three times each year CCS participates in or co-ordinates a joint doctoral symposium with InterArts Berlin and the Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies (Berlin November, London February, Copenhagen in June) and we send AHRC candidates to India via the AHRC International Placement Scheme. CCS doctoral students must present their work at least once per year in the PhD seminar as well as in the Graduate School Spring Review, they participate in the writing group, an annual panel, regular supervision, often with co-supervision in another department, and are encouraged to present at conferences and international colloquia.

Proposal: that we think in terms of Convergences and Frictions. The putting together of seemingly incommensurate or unusual partnerships so as to provoke creative and innovative alliances. A fund to be apportioned to initiatives on the model of ‘incongruent constituencies’ described above, with PhD students in cultural studies tasked with proposing projects:


–        the two Augusts – the imagery of Olympics and the Riots

–        cinema and mapping

–        global rivers, cultural theory, history and value theory

–        geological and social survey techniques, the report from Hunan used to survey London

–        border convergence, time-based media and immigration

–        the politics of cleaning

–        etc.

Proposal: on the model of the artist-in-residence programme, already extant alongside for example the Politics and Art PhD programme at Goldsmiths, we introduce a cultural activist–in-residence programme. An ‘activist-in-residence’ programme similar to established ‘artist-in-residence’ initiatives would be developed with initial efforts to establish the ways such placement would enable relevant people to work in collaboration and parallel to grant holders and other staff members across Goldsmiths…

Educate the educators. Pace Gayatri Spivak: The effort to build an ethics of education into the protocols of the institution. The institution as a mechanism for social mobility is filled with blockages and cul-de-sacs that can only be circumvented through a ruthless criticism of everything that exists

Transnational literacy, lexicon-consulting, language-learning, long-durée effort to unpack assumptions and counter the too easy inducements of information retrieval and impression management that web 2.0 offers as alternative to book-learning.

Patient non-coercive work to rearrange desire and unlearn Eurocentric privilege. (See Gayatri Spivak 2012 An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization)

Stitching the two ends of here and there together. The co-constitution of urban and rural, metropole and colonial theatre. Even if these old binaries no longer map so easily onto translocal globalism, any programme of training must make mobility multidirectional and bifurcate ideological privilege of advanced, western, developed or civilizational privileges. Remote locations, obscure languages, opaque aims are also viable research interests in a critical geopolitical and geopoetical cultural studies.