Death and Space, Somerset House, Oct 23rd

Death and Space
Tue 23 October 2012, 6.15 pm

£5 full price; £3 student, unemployed and over 65s
The Deadhouse, Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA

‘Death and the Contemporary’ is a series of site-specific events organised by our new colleague Georgina Colby, along with Anthony Luvera, that will take place across London in October 2012 as part of the Inside Out Festival. Panel discussions with keynote philosophers, writers, visual artists, and theorists will provide an exciting interdisciplinary forum in which to consider issues surrounding the representation of death in contemporary culture.

The first event, ‘Death and Space’, is scheduled to take place at the Dead House, Somerset House, on October 23rd, 2012. Confirmed panellists include David Bate, Andrea Brady, Robert Hampson and Tom Hunter. A glass of wine in included in the ticket price.

Further details at:

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China in Britain.4: Visual and Literary Cultures

China in Britain: Myths and Realities
Aesthetics: Visual and Literary Cultures

December 8th 2012, 9:30am – 4:00pm
The Cayley Room, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

You are warmly invited to the fourth in this University of Westminster/AHRC funded series. The day will present an eclectic programme with presentations on modernist architecture, fashion and literature, chinoiserie, and both literature and photography ‘then and now’. Speakers in the morning are Sarah Cheang (Royal College of Art), Edward Denision (Bartlett, UCL), Patricia Laurence (City University of New York), and David Porter (Michigan). The afternoon sessions will include a presentation by photographer Grace Lau and conversations with Paul French, author of Midnight in Peking (Penguin 2012) and novelist Xiaolu Guo. The day will end with a drinks reception.

The full programme along with abstracts and biogs can be found at:

Entrance – including lunch and refreshments – is free of charge so for catering purposes it is essential to book your place by emailing:

Cultural Politics during the French Occupation seminar, Oct 10th

Cultural Politics during the French Occupation
Wednesday 10 October 2012, 6 pm – 8 pm, Room 354
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Organised by our colleagues in the Group for War and Culture Studies at Westminster

Alan Riding, best-selling author and journalist, on “Writing with the Enemy”

Alan Riding, a Brazilian-born Briton, is a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times, most recently as the paper’s arts correspondent for Europe. He is author of Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans and co-author of Essential Shakespeare Handbook and Opera. His latest book is And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris. He lives in Paris.

David Drake, Emeritus Reader at Middlesex University, on “Jean-Paul Sartre and les années noires.”

David Drake has written two monographs on French Intellectuals and Politics (both published by Palgrave/ Macmillan). He is currently a UK co-editor of Sartre Studies International and is the author of a biography of Sartre (Haus, 2005). He is Emeritus Reader at Middlesex University, and in 2005, was made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Entrance free. To reserve a place, please R.S.V.P. Dr Caroline Perret:

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Forthcoming Events in the Centre for the Study of Democracy

Some events coming up that IMCC-followers may be interested in, organised by our upstairs neighbours in the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster.

On Saturday 3rd November, from 1-7pm, there’s half-day conference on ‘The Promise of Democracy’, with speakers including David Chandler, Albena Azmanova, Mihaela Mihai and Paulina Tambakaki. The keynote address will be given by Professor Fred Dallmayr from the University of Notre Dame. Everything will take place in the Boardroom in 309 Regent Street, and will be followed by a wine reception at 7.00. Register online at:

CSD is also running its usual seminar series on Tuesdays in the Westminster Forum at Wells Street. Speakers this semester include Nicholas Rengger (St Andrews) on Dystopic Liberalism; David Cunningham (IMCC, Westminster) on capitalism, democracy and the novel; and Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths) on tragedy as a political category. Further details at:

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The IMCC welcomes Allan Stoekl, Visiting Professor in the Institute

The Institute is excited and delighted to welcome our new Visiting Professor in the IMCC, Professor Allan Stoekl. Allan will be based at the Institute during 2012-13, while on research leave in London from his position as Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University.

Allan’s many publications include the books Politics, Writing, Mutilation: The Cases of Bataille, Blanchot, Roussel, Leiris and Ponge (University of Minnesota Press, 1985); Agonies of the Intellectual: Commitment, Subjectivity, and the Performative in the Twentieth-Century French Tradition (University of Nebraska Press, 1992); and Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). He was editor of a seminal special issue of Yale French Studies, ‘On Bataille’ (1990), and also translated Paul Fournel’s Need for the Bike (2003).

During his time at Westminster, Allan will be working on a new book provisionally entitled Avatars of the Postsustainable City, while also contributing to the work of the Institute in various ways. We very much look forward to working with him!

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Alexa Wright at Digital Aesthetic, Oct 5-6

Alexa Wright is taking part in Digital Aesthetic³ 2012, an international exhibition and conference which explores the impact that the digital has on our sense of self and our relationship to the physical world. The exhibition is housed in the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, and the University of Central Lancashire’s PR1 Gallery in Preston. It demonstrates some of the diverse ways that artists are utilising digital technology, including projection, digital print, 3d work, screen based video work, touch panel installation, and a live interactive website. The conference takes place over Friday Oct 5th and Saturday Oct 6th. In a great line up, other participants include Mark Amerika, Sean Cubitt and Sophie Calle.

Further details at:

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English Literature and Culture Research Seminars Oct-Nov 2012

Advance news of the next series of English Literature and Culture research seminars taking place in the first semester this year.

Seminars are fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons, from 4pm to around 5.30pm, and will be held in room 106 in the University’s Wells Street building.

Wednesday 17th October
Christopher Daley (University of Westminster)
‘Too Many Machines’: British Science Fiction Film and Television of the 1950s

Wednesday 31st October
Zara Dinnen (Birkbeck College)
Did we Miss it? The Legacy of Cyberculture in Contemporary Representations of Digital Technology

Wednesday 14th November
Bianca Leggett (Birkbeck College)
Englishness Elsewhere: Considering Cosmopolitanism in the English Travel Novel

Wednesday 28th November
Martin Eve (University of Sussex)
‘Opening children’s eyes’: Pynchon, Bolano, Overloaded Forms and the Didactic Function

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The Institute welcomes three new members

The Institute is delighted to welcome three new members who are joining the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies this academic year.

Georgina Colby joins us as a Lecturer in Contemporary Literature. She is the author of Bret Easton Ellis: Underwriting the Contemporary (Palgrave), and is currently working on a second book on the author Kathy Acker. She has also published widely on the intersections of literary practice and visual culture in contemporary US art, and is presently organising a major series of events to be held in London on ‘Death and the Contemporary’.

Lucy Bond is joining us as post-doctoral research and teaching fellow. Her PhD at Goldsmiths focused on the commemoration of 9/11 in the American public sphere, looking particularly at memorial practices embodied in literature and material culture, and at the ways in which a reification of the discourse surrounding the attacks has limited the production of a successful counter-narrative able to critique the attacks’ appropriation and manipulation by the institutions and individuals of the wider hegemonic sphere.

Matt Charles is also joining us as post-doctoral research and teaching fellow. Matt’s PhD thesis was completed at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, now based at Kingston University, titled ‘Speculative Experience and History: Walter Benjamin’s Goethean Kantianism’. He is also a member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy. Matt’s current research concerns theories of mass education, and the recent pedagogical turn in theory, and he will be organising a major conference on Walter Benjamin’s pedagogic materialism at Westminster later next year.

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New Journal Launch: Architecture_Media_Politics_Society

ARCHITECTURE_MEDIA_POLITICS_SOCIETY is a new on-line, fully peer reviewed academic journal.

The journal is a forum for the analysis of architecture in the mediated environment of contemporary culture. It seeks to expand an understanding of architecture and its relationship with media, politics and society in its broadest sense. One international paper is published each month that deals with an issue or theme relevant to the journal. Dual language publications are encouraged. Selected authors are also invited to submit articles for a printed version of the journal.

Currently, the journal forum operates as a platform for a research project entitled Architecture as Political Image; an investigation into the use of architecture in political campaign imagery in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is run in affiliation with Ravensbourne (University College), London, and Florida State University, Tallahassee.

ISSN 2050-9006 For details about submissions visit the web site:

UPDATE: The second volume of issue one has just been published entitled Mythopoetics of the Kunsthalle. The issue contains an article arguing for a major reconsideration of the architectural profession that uses the notion of the Kunsthalle as its theoretical framework. The author, Manuel Schartzberg, is an architect and tutor currently working in the US. Previously, he worked for David Chipperfield Architects in the UK and his paper is partly based on his time there. You can read it at the web site:

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Rorschach Audio talks

Joe Banks, former AHRC Research Fellow at the Institute, is out and about over the next month or so, promoting his Rorscach Audio project. The Times Literary Supplement has reviewed the “Rorschach Audio” book as “engaging… packed with interest” (TLS 5707, page 30), the project’s research archive is also on-line, and talks are now confirmed for The ICA, London, 15 Sept 2012 (as part of the closing events for Bruce Nauman’s exhibition “Days”) and at the Liverpool Biennial, 6 Oct 2012, organised by Mercy.

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Reception Invitation: JVC’s ‘Ways of Seeing 40th Anniversary Issue’, 8th September at King’s College, University of London‏

Please come along, we will be hosting a reception to celebrate the publication of Journal of Visual Culture’s ‘The Ways of Seeing 40th Anniversary Issue’, published this month. Join us on Saturday 8th September from 4:00-5:00 at King’s College, University of London to raise a glass (or two). The launch coincides with the three-day ‘Ways of Seeing John Berger’ conference organized by King’s and the British Library. You can find details of the venue for the Reception, and the conference more generally here:

Edited by Raiford Guins, Juliette Kristensen, and susan pui san lok, our ‘Ways of Seeing 40th Anniversary Issue’ includes contributions from: Mieke Bal, Geoffrey Batchen, Sonia Boyce, Alan Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Lisa Cartwright, Jill H. Casid, Laurie Beth Clark, Mike Dibb, Clive Dilnot, Jennifer A. González, Raiford Guins, Ben Highmore, Richard Hollis, Martin Jay, Guy Julier, Louis Kaplan, Juliette Kristensen, susan pui san lok, Peter Lunenfeld, Tara McPherson, Tom Overton, Griselda Pollock, Adrian Rifkin, Julian Stallabrass, Marita Sturken, John Timberlake, and Ming Wong. Further details can be found here:

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Lao She in London out now!

We’re delighted to announce the publication of Anne Witchard’s new monograph from Hong Kong University Press, Lao She in London. Focusing on one of China’s great modern writers, the book contributes to the rethinking of modernism as an event outside the boundaries of a single language, a single historical moment, or a single national formation.

“A beautifully written book that combines literary biography with a remarkably succinct account of British modernism and an evocative portrait of interbellum London, as viewed through Chinese eyes. Anne Witchard reminds us eloquently of the key role played by Chinese influences—both classical and modern—in literary modernism, and makes a great contribution to our understanding of Lao She’s London years.” — Julia Lovell, Birkbeck College, University of London

Details at:

August 2012  188 pp.  14 b/w illus.
Paperback ISBN 978-988-8139-60-6

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Thomson & Craighead shortisted for Jarman Award

We’re excited to announce that Thomson and Craighead been shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Award amid a fantastic group of artists. You can find more info on the shortlist here:

In other news, Thomson and Craighead are premiering their series of karaoke videos as part of the Film & Video Umbrella exhibition, ‘Our Mutual Friends’ launching online and for an event at Jerwood Space, London on 30th August 2012. The videos take a fresh look at unsolicited spam emails and their affinities with notions of romanticism and realism. You can view online versions of the videos here:

The duo have also been commissioned to make a new installation for this year’s Brighton Photo-biennial: a documentary artwork that looks at the burgeoning Occupy movement and its explosion worldwide during October 2011. The recent documentary artwork, ‘Belief’ is streaming online as a single screen work at Animate Projects alongside an interview and an essay by Morgan Quaintance.  Finally, ‘The Time Machine in alphabetical order’ is showing as part of ‘Trans Adriatic Grey Area’ exhibition at LAMPO in Italy. The exhibition is curated by Darko Fritz for Lampo Net & Contemporary art Exhibition, D’Annunzio Room, Aurum, Pescara from August 25th – September 24th 2012.

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Reminder:China in Britain #3: Theatre & Performance

China in Britain: Myths and Realities
Theatre/Performance and Music

July 18th 2012, 9:45am – 5:30pm
The Old Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

You are warmly invited to the third in this University of Westminster/AHRC funded series. The day will present an eclectic programme with presentations from actors and broadcasters and academics. Dongshin Chang (City University of New York), Diana Yeh (Birkbeck College and University of East London), Simon Sladen (University of Winchester) and Ashley Thorpe (University of Reading) will present research that restores the history of China and Chineseness to the English stage, from Regency Extravaganzas, such as Chinese Sorcerer to chinoiserie theatre in the 1930s and Lady Precious Stream. We will look at subversive pantomime in Thatcher’s Britain, Poppy, and more recently Anna Chen’s Steampunk Opium Wars and Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey: Journey to the West.

The UK’s most high profile British Chinese actor, David Yip, remembered by many for his role as Detective Sergeant John Ho in The Chinese Detective will be talking about his new multimedia show Gold Mountain. There will be performances from comedienne, poet and political pundit, Anna Chen (aka Madame Miaow), actor David Lee-Jones, currently the lead in Richard III – the first British Chinese actor to be cast as one of Shakespeare’s English Kings – and Resonance Radio’s Lucky Cat DJ, Zoe Baxter, playing Korean Punk, Chinese Hip Hop and Reggae, Japanese Ska, Thai Country, and Singapore 60’s pop.

Entrance – including lunch and refreshments – is free of charge so for catering purposes it is essential to book your place by emailing:

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La Ronde: A Circular Conversation on Love

Sunday, 22 July 2012, 2:30-5pm

La Ronde: A Circular Conversation on Love
Carroll/Fletcher Gallery, 56-57 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EQ

Speakers: John Douglas Millar, Leon Redler, Stella Sandford, Hilary Koob-Sassen, and Sarah Turner.

A quick plug for an excellent-looking Sunday afternoon organised by our friends and neighbours at the Carroll/Fletcher Gallery. In an era of political, financial and environmental uncertainty, it seems vital to give time and focus to the subject of love. Inspired by the structure of Arthur Schnitzler’s play of 1897, La Ronde, this roundtable conversation will consist of a circular series of one-to-one exchanges. Each conversation will begin with a question that includes the word ‘love’ with the answer taking the form of a conversation. Twenty minutes will be allotted to each pairing, with an extra ten minutes for audience questions. While the original La Ronde explored the sexual mores of fin-de-siècle Vienna, we anticipate that our version will consider love in its many guises and from diverse perspectives.

Refreshments provided during breaks
£5, booking essential as places are limited:

More details at:

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#Citizencurators: collaboration with Museum of London

#Citizencurators is a history project that will record the experience of Londoners during the Olympic fortnight. Created for the Museum of London, #Citizencurators will collect tweets, moments and images using social networking to tell the story of everyday life in the capital. Directed by the IMCC’s Peter Ride and the Museum of London’s Hilary Young, with a project team made up of students from the MA Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture at Westminster, the aim is to investigate how new media/ social networking can provide alternative approaches to supplement contemporary collecting. As action research project, it is also designed to result in knowledge that can assist the Museum in the collection and management of ‘born digital’ material.

#Citizencurators explores what it is like to live in London during the Olympic fortnight (27 July – 12 August). The established narrative of the Olympics is focused on the experience of the athletes, participants, employees and tourists. However a larger part of the Olympic experience in London is not being articulated. This is the daily experience residents whose lives are inevitably caught up in the Olympics but who are ‘bystanders’. What will the Olympics mean to the single mum with a young family in Stratford, the work commuter who uses the Jubilee line, the resident in an apartment block partially occupied by the army, the young club-goer intending to enjoy a summer of fun, the foreign student or to the Starbucks barista? Will the Olympic experience unfold as community-strengthening activity or a headache of disruptions and an overflow of tourists?

To take part, simply tweet like you normally do and use the #citizencurators hashtag. Ultimately by following typical tweeters the team want to collect streams that document peoples’ lives in London during the Games in a way that reflects the normal use of social media, not something out of the ordinary.

For further details, see:

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Design Diplomacy seminars

Two very interesting panel discussions taking place this week, as part of the Design Diplomacy series associated with the International Architecture and Design Showcase in Westminster’s P3 gallery at Marylebone.

Expanded Territories
Thursday 5th July, 2.00–4.00pm

This colloquium invites the audience to engage in a gallery talk and dialogue with participants of the Ambika P3 International Architecture and Design Showcase around questions of architecture’s role in (de)colonization, social (re)construction, national identity formation, human development and global (dis)integration in their countries. Participants include: Phillip Luell, Zahira Asmal, Bryan Bullen, John Allsop and Kevin Talma

Post-Colonial Legacies: South Africa and Namibia
Friday 6th July, 6.00–8.00pm

This panel discussion will exchange knowledge, ideas and experience about the agency of design (urban, architectural, industrial, fashion, graphic) in transforming life in cities in Namibia and South Africa since the end of apartheid. These will include questions of design’s agency in overcoming socio-spatial legacies of the past; design’s complicity in the recolonisation of cities by neo-liberal and market forces; the impact of mega events on host cities and priorities for design education to meet contemporary challenges. Panelists include: Marion Wallace, Guilermo Delgado, Diana Mitlin, Zahira Asmal, Yvette Gresle, Lesley Lokko and Philip Luehl.

For further details go to:

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Nuclear Criticism

Great piece by Chris Daley in the new online journal Alluvium about nuclear criticism. Here’s the first paragraph:

In 1984, the journal Diacritics set out to define what it labelled as the developing academic terrain of ‘nuclear criticism’. The opening section of the journal entitled ‘Proposal for a Diacritics Colloquium on Nuclear Criticism’ established that ‘critical theory ought to be making a more important contribution to the public discussion of nuclear issues’ and proceeded to list a series of nuclear themes that required immediate consideration. Among these were an examination of the nuclear arms race and the ‘dialectic of mimetic rivalry’ it provoked, ‘the power of horror’ and most pertinently ‘the representation of nuclear war in the media as well as in the literary canon’. This last topic was all the more powerful for a mid-eighties audience as the early years of the decade had seen a re-emergence of nuclear anxieties that were reminiscent of the fears twenty years earlier during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and his subsequent verbal assaults on the ‘evil empire’ of the Soviet Union, energised the ferocious ideological divide between the two superpowers that had ebbed and flowed in intensity throughout the Cold War. Meanwhile, in both the United States and Britain a variety of cultural and media productions speculated on the consequences of such intense political rhetoric. While these texts were predominantly non-canonical and therefore often overlooked by the nuclear critics, they nonetheless question and evaluate the purpose of the nuclear referent in the political power struggle of the Cold War.

Read further at:

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Anne Witchard on Making History

A chance to listen to our own Anne Witchard on BBC Radio 4’s popular history programme Making History in which listener’s questions and research help offer new insights into the past. Anne talks to Tom Holland about how the Victorians disapproved of the ballet, how some artists and poets became infatuated with it, and how London street-dancing may well have influenced the Parisian ‘Can-Can’. First broadcast on June 12 2012. Listen to the podcast here.

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Welcome to our new Junior Visiting Research Fellow: Yuthika Sharma

It’s with pleasure that we welcome our new Junior Visiting Research Fellow, Yuthika Sharma, who will be hosted by the Institute from 25th June until 25th October 2012. Yuthika is finishing her PhD on the visual culture of Mughal and British Delhi, India between 1750-1857, at the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York. She is co-curator and co-editor, with William Dalrymple, of Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857 Asia Society, New York, February 6 -May 7, 2012 (Yale University Press, 2012). While resident at the Institute, Yuthika is writing about the historical transition from painting into photography in Victorian Delhi, and on contemporary ‘Mughal’ paintings by marginalized artist guilds in present-day north India.

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