Posts from October 2012


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FRIDAY 23 NOVEMBER, 2012 2-7PM (followed by exhibition opening and reception)

An international symposium organised by the Architecture Research Group at the University of Westminster in conjunction with SOAS Seminars on Turkey.

The making of modern Ankara is a momentous yet oft-neglected episode in twentieth century history. The transformation of this ancient Anatolian town into the capital of the Turkish Republic captured the world’s attention during the interwar period, when Ankara became a laboratory of modernism and nation building.
Largely designed by European architects, the new capital embodied the reformist ethos of a secular state firmly projected towards the West. Today, as this sprawling city of over four millions seeks to reinvent its identity, its modern development is the subject of growing scholarship and public interest.

The half-day symposium brings together a panel of scholars from architecture, planning, art history, heritage, and Turkish studies to revisit the making of modern Ankara in a cross-disciplinary perspective, while also debating its legacy on the eve of the Republic’s 90th anniversary. The event will be followed by the launch of Building Identities, an exhibition about Ankara’s Republican architecture curated by the Turkish Chamber of Architects, Ankara branch.


PARTICIPANTS WILL INCLUDE: Elvan Altan Ergut, Middle East Technical University Martina Becker, ENGLOBE/Marie Curie, Middle East Technical University Lindsay Bremner, University of Westminster Eray Çaylı, University College London Davide Deriu, University of Westminster Benjamin Fortna, SOAS Zeynep Kezer, University of Newcastle Melania Savino, SOAS, Kunsthistorische Institut Florence

Queer London Conference: Call for Papers

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Queer London Conference: Call for Papers

Saturday 23rd March, 2013
Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Westminster, London, UK

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Matt Cook (Birkbeck College, University of London)

This one-day conference is dedicated to a consideration of London and its role in creating, housing, reflecting and facilitating queer life. It aims to bring together scholars from a variety of different disciplines and backgrounds to consider representations of queer London and how London itself represents queers.

That London is a focus and centre for queer life and culture can be seen on its stages; in its bar and club scenes; in its film festivals and its representations in film; in its performance art; in its political life; in its gyms; in its history; in its book groups and book shops; and in its representations in the contemporary queer fiction of writers like Alan Hollinghurst and Sarah Waters. What the ‘Queer London’ conference aims to do then is to offer an opportunity for further analysis and investigation of these representations / representational platforms and to consider the socio-cultural role that London plays in queer life. The conference will focus on the period 1885 to the present and welcomes interdisciplinary proposals and those from a wide range of disciplines, including: Literature, History, Art, Cultural Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies.

Please send abstracts of 500 words, or proposals for panels of three linked papers, by Friday 30th November 2012 to Dr. Simon Avery and Dr. Katherine M. Graham at the University of Westminster. Abstracts should be sent as Word attachments to and, and should include details of your current affiliation and a very short author bio.

Conference blog page:

Contemporary Representations of Digital Technology seminar, Weds 31 October

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Wednesday 31st October, 4.00pm – 5.30pm
Wells Street, room 106

Zara Dinnen (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Did we Miss it? The Legacy of Cyberculture in Contemporary Representations of Digital Technology

It seems today the watchword of the contemporary is augmented reality not virtual reality. As we move toward an increasingly ubiquitous digital culture, are we able to begin to historicise late twentieth century projections for a digital future? This talk will discuss how cyberculture might be perceived as being of a distinct technocultural moment, and the ways that might matter for approaches to our digital present.

Further details as usual at:

British Science Fiction Film and Television of the 1950s seminar

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Wednesday 17th October, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Room 106, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW 

Christopher Daley (University of Westminster)
‘Too many machines’: British Science Fiction Film and Television of the 1950s

In analysing British cinema between 1945 and 1965, Tony Shaw (2001) argues that the influence of American cinema on British audiences was undeniable: ‘Hollywood films dominated the British market from the beginning to the end of the period and not to recognize the potentially significant role American productions had in shaping British perceptions of the Cold War would be misleading’ (p.4). Movies such as The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Forbidden Planet (1956) persist as potent symbols of an era which mixed fear of communism and nuclear war with utopian hopes for the technological conquest of other worlds. Whilst the political content of these popular films has been continuously reviewed by critics and scholars alike, the contemporaneous works of British filmmakers has received limited attention. In this paper, I will analyse a series of British films and television programmes which not only challenged or complicated the political content of prominent American SF productions, but crucially, made use of the speculative imagination to reflect upon the state-of-the-nation during a period of rapid technological and social transformation.

Death and Space, Somerset House, Oct 23rd

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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:

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

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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:

Forthcoming Events in the Centre for the Study of Democracy

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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: