Birkbeck’s new Arts & Culture magazine – Call for Contributions

Hi,

I’m an MA student founding a new arts & culture magazine for the Birkbeck students alongside the SU. I am putting together a team and want to hear from anyone interested in editing or designing the website/paper magazine. Additionally, if you write/create any of the things I’ve listed below, and feel that work deserves a platform, then please contact me with existing work or for new assignments. This magazine is being created specifically for Birkbeck writers/artists to be able to display their existing work – so don’t be shy. The categories (roughly drawn) are as follows, but if there is anything else you might be able to contribute do let me know:

-poetry

-short stories

-essays (any kind: lyrical, critical, political, etc)

-reviews (films, books, current exhibitions, gigs, stuff going in London generally etc)

-journalistic interviews

-photography/visual art of any kind

-designing the mag

 

Look forward to hearing from you,

Luke Buffini

luke_buffini@hotmail.co.uk

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Incarceration: Space, Power and Personhood – 17 June 2019

Incarceration: Space, Power and Personhood

With Lisa Guenther

Speakers (tbc) Lisa Baraitser, Louise Hide, Leslie Topp, Tina Chanter, Shokoufeh Sakhi, Hilary Marland and Catherine Cox

 

Monday June 17, 9.30am – 4.30pm

Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck College, University of London

 

Places are limited; to register contact Katy Pettit   k.pettit@bbk.ac.uk

 

The aims of incarceration are manifold: to punish, to disempower, to deter, to silence, to interrogate, to reform. In this interdisciplinary symposium we will examine how the experience of incarceration – the myriad temporalities and spaces of imprisonment – shape personhood, psychic life and the possibility of interpersonal relations. The prison cell, as the typical site of modern incarceration, also provides a template for thinking about how carceral logic shapes lives and communities outside its walls, for example in psychiatric hospitals, schools, workplaces and gated communities. This expanded notion of carceral space describes the spatial organization of relationships among bodies and things through practices of criminalization, surveillance, confinement, segregation, and other forms of punitive control. In this workshop we will bring together short working papers which explore how different forms of carceral space shape and control the institutionalized subject.

 

We also take note of important recent work that considers questions of race, gender and class in the carceral setting, examine first-hand accounts, not least regarding the experience of ‘solitary’, and explore theories about particular psychological mechanisms, including ‘defenses’ in the psychoanalytic sense, that may be used by inmates in attempts to adapt to and tolerate long-term confinement. In exploring the various histories, logics, models and motivations behind such practices we also seek to consider how carceral regimes may reflect and sustain wider cultural processes, political systems and forms of social organisation.

 

The symposium will be held during the visit of philosopher Professor Lisa Guenther’s visit to Birkbeck in June 2019, arranged under the auspices of the Hidden Persuaders project, the Birkbeck Insitutute of Social Research and The Pathologies of Solitude project at Queen Mary. In her powerful book Solitary Confinement: Social Death and Its Afterlives, Guenther provides a history and phenomenological account of solitary confinement, describing the lived experience of solitary as a form of perceptual and social death. As her account reminds us, exploring the dehumanizing effects of incarceration also provides an opportunity for reflecting upon conditions that maintain or destroy personhood; facilitate, reduce or destroy a capacity for human flourishing. This symposium will be an opportunity to examine how limitations on sensation, agency and social interaction profoundly influence the incarcerated subject’s perceptual and emotional experience of the world.

 

 

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CFP: The third culture? // Literature and Sociology – Deadline 22 April 2019

The third culture? // Literature and Sociology

University of Warwick (Coventry) – 14 June 2019

In 1985 Wolf Lepenies argued that sociology should be considered a ‘third culture’ arising between science and literature. Contemporary discourses and research, however, show us that sociology and literature have a long history of peculiar relatedness.

In 19th century Europe, sociology was considered both a competitor to and counterpart of literary study since consensus held that the two disciplines were best placed to analyse and depict the emerging industrial society. Figures like Balzac, Flaubert, Zola and Simmel hoped to merge literature and social science; while others (like Marx, Durkheim and Weber) drew inspiration from literary work in developing their early sociological masterpieces. Despite this history, the developing pan-European structure of knowledge with its prioritisation of empirical analysis prevented any extensive integration between the two fields (Longo 2015; Jacobsen, Drake et al. 2014; Wallerstein 2007).

 

This conference seeks to renew collaboration between sociology and literature by addressing their disciplinary intersections and coalescences.

 

From this starting point three inter-related dimensions emerge:

 

Firstly, that literature may serve as a heuristic tool for sociological analyses, providing, if not a simplistic ‘reflection’ of social reality, then at least a plausible description or anticipation of human actions and social contexts. In this way some fiction can be understood as social theory (as with Balzac, Dickens, Houellebecq and Saramago); while some sociological accounts can be understood as pieces of literature, with a ‘literary imagination’ underpinning many sociological works (as with Denzin and Richardson).

 

In terms of cross-fertilisations, literary study has a long history of mining sociological theories and methodologies for the analysis of literary texts (as with Marxist literary studies and World Literature). More recently this has led to a rich sub-discipline that correlates literary forms and socio-economic processes via the work of Bourdieu and others. Literary theory, for its own part, has had a distinct impact on contemporary sociology, with the work of Said, Spivak and Jameson featuring prominently in sociology’s global or postcolonial turn.

 

And finally, literary works have historically worked as agents to foster reflection and political action on contemporary social issues (as with the work of Sinclair, Roy and El Saadawi). In this way, the intersection between sociology and literature can be used to focus and reflect on social issues like migration, racism and exploitation, serving activist projects and stimulating interventions into public life.

By reflecting on the productivity of these strands, we aim also to trace the difficulties and erasures which inhere as disciplinary objects are shifted and reconstituted, while bridging disciplinary parochialisms and reframing social and cultural issues beyond the confines of the university.

 

Thematic sessions and presentation topics for this conference may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Theories of the intersections between sociology and literature
  2. Historical perspectives on the intersections between sociology and literature
  3. Sociological fiction
  4. Marxism and literature: contemporary perspectives
  5. Bourdieusian approaches to literary analysis
  • Uses of literature and sociology that stimulate interventions into public life.

 

Keynote speakers will be:

  • Professor Mariano Longo (Università del Salento – Italy)
  • Second keynote TBC

 

We welcome both proposals for individual papers (20 minutes) and panels (1 hour/ 3–4 papers) that encourage a reflection on these intersections. Please send either a 250-word abstract for an individual paper proposal or a panel proposal of 900 words and a short biography to thirdcultureconference@gmail.com by 22 April 2019. Panel proposals should contain a brief description of the topic of the panel as well as the 3–4 abstracts that constitute the panel. Individual abstracts will be allocated a panel after review. Applicants will be notified by 26 April 2019.

 

Delegates to the conference will be expected to fund their own travel and accommodation. Thanks to our sponsors – the ESRC-DTC (University of Warwick) and the Social Theory Centre (University of Warwick) – the registration to the conference is free.

 

More information on https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/esrcdtc/news/literaturesociology

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Decolonising madness? Transcultural psychiatry and the birth of a ‘global psyche’ after the Second World War: 4-5 April

Decolonising madness? Transcultural psychiatry and the birth of a ‘global psyche’ after the Second World War

4-5 April 2019

Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck

Supported by the Wellcome Trust, ‘Hidden Persuaders’ and Birkbeck Institute of Social Research and is open to all research students

Can psychiatry be global? Are mental illnesses universal across cultures, ethnic groups and ‘civilisations’? Can the theories and methods of modern psychiatry be used to alleviate the suffering of diverse groups of people from around the world? This conference aims to contribute to the debate on the universality and cross-cultural applications of the notions of mental health and illness by exploring the historical origins and development of the notion of ‘global psyche’ and transcultural psychiatry.

Critics of the globalisation of psychiatry have likened Western psychiatric interventions to colonial projects, but there has been little substantial analysis of the actual post-colonial historical roots of the current global mental health movement and of the discipline of transcultural psychiatry. This conference will contextualise and historicise the concept of a global psyche and universal humanity by focusing on its complex and turbulent history since the end of the Second World War. At that time, and particularly during and after decolonisation, Western psychiatry attempted to leave behind its racist and colonial legacies, and lay the foundation for a more inclusive union between Western and non-Western concepts of mental illness and healing. In this period, the infrastructure of post-colonial global and transcultural psychiatry was set up, and leading psychiatric figures across the world embarked on identifying, debating and sometimes critiquing the universal psychological characteristics and psychopathological mechanisms shared among all cultures and civilisations.

The conference will explore the birth and development of transcultural psychiatry, and this psychiatric, social and cultural search for a new definition of ‘common humanity’, analysing the core historical driving forces behind it. How did psychiatrists and anthropologists from all over the world re-define the relationship between culture, race and individual psyche following the end of the Second World War and colonialism? Why was it at this historical moment that such a large number of psychiatrists were so keen to determine how cultural environments shaped the basic traits of human psychology? How did the new profession of transcultural psychiatry negotiate the tensions between researching cultural particularities and developing new, cross-cultural models of the mind? Moreover, the conference aims to explore the multiple voices – Nigerian, Ugandan, Yugoslav, Colombian, Soviet, Indian – which took part in these discussions. How did the global South and East European participants shape the field, how did they grapple with its colonial and racist aspects, and why does their role now seem to be so radically diminished? Finally, the conference will explore the core political, intellectual and cultural tensions in the history of the post-colonial transformation of European and global psychiatry – a severely under-researched field – and relate this transformation to the process of post-Second World War reconstruction.

This meeting will, therefore, analyse the concept of the ‘global psyche’ at the intersection of politics, psychiatry and ethics, and seeks to explore how global psyche and universal humanity served as key sites of re-framing the definition and re-drawing the boundaries of humanity in the turbulent second half of the twentieth century. It also aims to examine and evaluate the effects of these historical processes on the current global mental health movement.

Thursday, 4 April

9:30-10:00

Welcome and introductory remarks 

10:00-11:45

Colonialism, ‘culture’ and ethnopsychiatry

Jonathan Sadowsky, University of Case Western: A Symptom as Cultural Capacity: Guilt Culture, Depression, and Colonial Ideology

Erik Linstrum, University of Virginia: Case studies in the colonies

Sloan Mahone, University of Oxford: Psychiatry and Photography in Late Colonial Kenya: The legacy of Dr Edward Margetts

Discussant: Louise Hide, Birkbeck

11:45-12:00 Coffee/tea break

12:00-13:45

Decolonising madness

Roland Littlewood, UCL: Post-colonial ‘ethnopsychiatry’ and the question of cultural specificity

Kate Kilroy-Marac, University of Toronto: Collomb’s Culturalism and the Early Years of the Fann Psychiatric Clinic

Matthew Heaton, Virginia Tech University: The Decline and Fall of the Aro Village System in Nigeria: Political Economy and Post-Colonial Psychiatry, 1954-1983

Discussant: Hilary Sapire, Birkbeck 

13:45-15:00 Lunch

15:00-16:45

Global psyche and global citizenship

Harry Wu, University of Hong Kong: Globalising mental disorders in the age of world citizenship, experts and technology

Ana Antic, University of Exeter: The birth of the concept of a global psyche: Psychiatric universalism, decolonisation and imagining cross-cultural encounters

Marco Ramos, Yale University: The Global Mind in the Amazon: Psychiatry, Ayahuasca, and the Future of Mankind

Discussant: Daniel Pick, Birkbeck

19:00 Conference dinner

Friday, 5 April

10:00-11:45

Transcultural psychiatry and political turmoil

Gordon Barrett, University of Oxford: Creating a Chinese Socialist Psychiatry: Maoism, Decolonisation, and Mental Health Care in Cultural Revolution Shanghai

Sanjeev Jain and Alok Sarin, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore: The partition of madness and madness of partition

Tess Lanzarotta, Yale University: Alcohol, Oil and “Eskimo Capitalists”: Debating the Psychological Impact of Indigenous Self-Determination in the Alaskan Arctic, 1979-1984

Discussant: Chris Wilson, Birkbeck

11:45-12:00 Coffee/tea break

12:00-13:30

Global mental health and the after-lives of colonial psychiatry

Ursula Read, King’s College London, ‘Clearing the streets:’ colonial and psychiatric hauntings in enacting mental health law in Ghana

Bahar Ibrahim, University of Glasgow: The problem of refugees in transcultural psychiatry

Discussant: Felicity Callard, Birkbeck

13:30-14:15 Lunch

14:15-16:00

Psychoanalysis and decolonisation

Omnia Elshakry, University of California Davis: Psychoanalysis and the Imaginary: Translating Freud in Postcolonial Egypt

Dagmar Herzog, CUNY: Queering Freud Differently: Radical Psychoanalysis between Anthropology and Antihomophobia

Alice Bullard: Denial and desire

Discussant: Sarah Marks, Birkbeck

16:15-17:00 Closing remarks and final discussion

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Aubrey Beardsley/Mikhail Kuzmin – GRiT (Graduate Research in Theatre) event – 20 March 4pm

A talk by Dr Sasha Dovzhyk, who has recently completed her PhD on ‘The Afterlives of Aubrey Beardsley in Russia, c. 1899-1929’ in the English Department at Birkbeck, will take place on Wednesday, 20 March (4-5 pm) in Room 106 (43 Gordon Square). Sasha’s talk will focus on the playwright Mikhail Kuzmin’s response to the nineteenth-century English artist and writer Aubrey Beardsley:

Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898), a late nineteenth-century English artist and writer, enjoyed an eventful international afterlife in the twentieth century with cameo appearances across the fields of literature, design, ballet, cinema, and fashion. In Russia, he was proclaimed ‘the first Futurist in graphic arts’, championed as a flagship Symbolist writer, and adopted as an icon of the emerging homosexual subculture. This talk will explore the theatrical aspect of the Russian ‘Beardsley Craze’, focusing on the queer modernist playwright Mikhail Kuzmin’s response to Beardsley’s legacy.

Sasha is currently a Wellcome Trust-funded postdoctoral researcher exploring the tropes of disease in the arts of Decadence. She is the organiser of the symposium La Maladie Fin de Siècle: Decadence and Disease which will take place at Birkbeck on 26 June, 2019. (For further information on the symposium, please visit: https://decadencedisease.wordpress.com)

To attend the GRiT event please email Seda Ilter directly (s.ilter@bbk.ac.uk).

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Essay Film Festival 2019 – The Joycean Society – Sunday 31 March

 

A famously mammoth and difficult text, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) has long been regarded as a labyrinth of interpretations. In The Joycean Society (2013), Spanish artist and filmmaker Dora García follows the activities of a small, Zurich-based group of Joyce enthusiasts who have met weekly for over thirty years to share their observations and interpretations of the Irish writer’s famed text. The film documents the group’s debates and discussions over their heavily annotated and well-thumbed copies of the book, depicting the importance of both the text and the rituals surrounding the group’s meetings.

This screening will be followed by an informal discussion led by Dr. Joe Brooker and Professor Finn Fordham.
This screening is presented in collaboration with LUX with the support of Acción Cultural Española (AC/E).
Please, visit the following link for more information: https://www.ica.art/films/the-joycean-society 
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The Essay Film Festival – starting Friday 22 March

The Essay Film Festival is back… starting on Friday 22 March with the opening of our first ever exhibition in the Peltz Gallery, Art at the Frontier of Film Theory: the Work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, with extra screenings, workshops and conversations… please spread the word!

 

Now in its fifth edition, the annual Essay Film Festival, is a collaboration between Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, celebrating the diversity and creativity of those artists and visionaries who work in that unique zone between documentary and experimental modes of filmmaking.

 

This year’s programme features a range of bold and innovative works that cross terrain from Argentina to Hong Kong, Iran to Mexico, USA to Lebanon, Nigeria to UK, embracing themes as varied as cancer, childbirth, the Faust legend, urban decay, workers’ strikes, psychoanalysis, colonialism, natural history, and Finnegans Wake!

 

These films will challenge your perception of the world, your understanding of reality and your place within it; they will move you, surprise you, and inspire you.

 

How does film connect intimate personal choices to political commitment; the archived or forgotten past to the socially active present; the beauty of cinema to terror, injustice and despair? How does film engage with the real while questioning the established forms of film language? And how can film touch us, emotionally and viscerally, and yet maintain that vital reflective edge?

 

Directors Mania Akbari & Douglas White, Andrea Bussmann, Dora García, Christopher Harris, Mary Jirmanus Saba, Bo Wang & Pan Lu, Onyeka Igwe and Jessica Sarah Rinland, all utilise the essay film in different ways to explore these searching questions in this year’s Essay Film Festival.

 

The full programme for EFF 2019 can be found here.

 

Come and join us!

 

Michael Temple, Matthew Barrington, Kieron Corless, Catherine Grant, Janet McCabe, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey, on behalf of the Essay Film Festival

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Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group – Thursday 21 March

The Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group will meet on Thursday 21st March 2019, 14:00-15:30, in Room 101, 30 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DT. **Please note the change from our usual location** 

 

This session will focus on phenomenological approaches to the medical humanities, and it will be led by Dr Peter Fifield (English and Humanities, Birkbeck) and Dr Mohammed Rashed (Philosophy, Birkbeck). The readings are:

  • Dan Zahavi, Husserl’s Phenomenology (Stanford UP, 2003), pp. 109-125.
  • Havi Carel, Phenomenology of Illness (Oxford UP, 2016), Chapter 1 – “Why Use Phenomenology to Study Illness?”

The readings for each session are held in a shared Dropbox folder. If you need access, email sophie.jones@bbk.ac.uk (include your Dropbox-linked email address, if you have one).

 

Everyone is welcome at the reading group. There is no need to book.

 

The Birkbeck Medical Humanities Reading Group aims to create a space in which academics, clinicians and students can come together to explore key readings, ideas and materials in the field of medical humanities. Our endeavour is to find ways of talking across the different disciplines of the humanities and medicine, and we welcome participation from colleagues and students interested and engaged in these areas. For details of previous sessions, please click here.

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Workshop: The Narco-Culture of Narco-Accumulation – Friday 15 March

THE NARCO-CULTURE OF NARCO-ACCUMULATION

A WORKSHOP

The Keynes Library

School of Arts

Birkbeck, University of London

43 Gordon Square

Bloomsbury

London WC1H 0PD

Find us on the map

Friday, March 15th 2019: 10.00 am – 17.00 pm

In this workshop we will discuss the social, political, cultural, as well as the capital-logics of contemporary narco-capitalism and its mobile territories (from the land in which drugs are cultivated, to the virtual world of laundering and finance in which its profits are realized and re-invested), especially as it is both juridically – and thus, militarily – constituted by and at the Mexican-US border. Violence and ‘wars’, of all kinds, are fundamental to these outlaw logics which have spawned a variety of cultural and subjectivizing forms (some of which will be highlighted by our guest speakers here). Indeed, this particular – and supposedly ‘Mexican’ – narco-cultural formation, which at first glance seems to present itself as peripheral, is in fact becoming increasingly central to contemporary forms of capital accumulation and its representation: its presence both seen and heard in the daily news as well as in contemporary art, television, film, literature and music. In this workshop we hope to throw some light on some of these processes from a variety of critical perspectives.

Open to everyone. No booking necessary.

For more information and to see the programme, click here.

This workshop is organised by Professor John Kraniauskas (j.kraniauskas@bbk.ac.uk). For any further information, please contact him.

This workshop is supported by CILAVS, Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, and BIH, the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

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‘Death, Afterlife and the Question of Autobiography (Biutiful, 2010)’ – Friday 15 March

The Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies, CILAVS, cordially invites you to its Seminar Series event for Spring 2019.

“Death, Afterlife and the Question of Autobiography (Biutiful, 2010)”

A talk by Prof. Cristina Moreiras-Menor, U. Of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Friday 15 March, 2019 at 6PM

Keynes Library

School of Arts

Birkbeck, University of London

43 Gordon Square

London WC1H 0PD

Find us on the map

 

The book The Inoperative Community by Jean-Luc Nancy opens with this statement, which registers the exhaustion of thinking through History as one of the tragedies of our times.  I will approach this exhaustion in regard to a Spanish film that speaks of death and extinction while at the same time proposing, through the passion of its image, and in a certain politics of the afterlife that the film emits, a reflection on the political potentiality that is the recovered through a redemptive historicity. I refer to Biutiful, by Alejandro González Iñárritu (2010), which testifies, from the story of the agony of its protagonist, Uxbal, the presence of an essential in-certainty: life as a transition and, therefore, as a new beginning and/or as a non-finitude. The film proposes a historicity of experience erased by the exhaustion of history to which Nancy refers. Biutiful explodes, in the always continuous wandering of its protagonist through a desolated city, the historicity of its experience of life, death and the afterlife. Afterlife is powerfully associated in the film with the promise and permanence of that which has been lost, and therefore with the experience of remembering. Indeed, the film plays with the idea of a recovery, through a story that I will call autobiographical: the experience of history as afterlife and as event that accumulates death. My essay will be an intervention regarding the need of rethinking the politics of life, memory and inheritance through the facticity of death.

Cristina Moreiras-Menor received her Ph.D in Spanish Literature from the University of California, Davis. Between 1996-2002 she taught Spanish Peninsular literature at Yale University. Currently she is Professor of Iberian Literature and Culture and Women’s Studies at The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) where she was the Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures for the last eight years and where she works in Galician and Spanish Literature, Spanish film, cultural theory, and psychoanalysis. She has published extensively on 19 and 20th century Spanish literature and film.  She is the author of Cultura herida: Literatura y cine en la España democrática (Libertarias, 2002), La estela del tiempo: historicidad e imagen en el cine español contemporáneo (Editorial Iberoamericana Vervuert,  2011), and  the editor of a monographic issue of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies entitled Critical interventions on Violence. With historian Miguel Ángel del Arco Blanco, she is the editor of Constelaciones, a new series of the Editorial Cómares dedicated to publish outstanding work on Peninsular Cultural studies. She is currently working on two books, one on Novo Cinema Galego with particular attention to documentary, and the second one on the political and aesthetic relation between landscape and historicity in the works of some renowned Spanish writers (Juan Goytisolo, Juan Benet, Federico Sanchez Ferlosio, among others).

Entrance free but booking here necessary.

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