Posts from September 2013

White Nostalgia and Nordic Noir seminar, Tues 8 Oct

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An event in Westminster Sociology Research Series that might be of interest to IMCC-followers:

Ethnic appropriateness: white nostalgia and nordic noir
Dr Ben Pitcher, University of Westminster

Tuesday 8th October, 5.30pm, room 155, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street

This talk explores a widespread cultural trend away from cosmopolitan consumption, and towards ‘ethnically appropriate’ consuming practices. It suggests that in an attempt to identify forms of ‘appropriate’ white ethnicity in multicultural contexts, consumers have engaged with nostalgic fantasies of domestic femininity. It goes on to consider the appeal of Nordic culture to white British consumers, and suggests that it too is marked by fantasies of ethnic appropriateness, in this case manifested in the landscape, climate, food, culture and politics of the Nordic countries.

Marxism in Culture autumn seminars at the IHR

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Marxism in Culture
Autumn Term seminars 2013

All seminars start at 5.30pm at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU. The seminar closes at 7.30pm and retires to the bar.

Friday 4 October
Diane Morgan (University of Leeds)
Homo Laborans?: The “French Utopian Socialists” View of “Work”.
Location: The Court Room

Friday 15 November
Marcus Rediker (University of Pittsburgh)
The Amistad Rebellion in American Popular Culture, 1839-1841.
Location: The Court Room

Friday 29 November
David Cunningham (University of Westminster)
Prosaic Modernity: Capital, the Bourgeois and the Novel
Location: Bloomsbury Room G35

Friday 13 December
Larne Abse Gogarty (University College London)
Community and Reproduction: Edith Segal’s dance work and Suzanne Lacy’s Expectations
Location: The Court Room

Organisers: Matthew Beaumont, Dave Beech, Alan Bradshaw, Warren Carter, Gail Day, Steve Edwards, Larne Abse Gogarty, Esther Leslie, David Mabb, Antigoni Memou, Chrysi Papaioannou, Nina Power, Dominic Rahtz, Pete Smith, Peter Thomas & Alberto Toscano.

For further information, please contact Larne Abse Gogarty at or Chrysi Papaioannou at All welcome.

English Literature & Culture Research Seminars 2013

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The list of English Literature and Culture research seminars for this semester has been announced. As usual these will take place on Wednesday afternoons at 4pm in room 106 in the University of Westminster’s 32-38 Wells Street building, London W1T.

October 16th: Jessica Rapson, Kings College London
“Closely Allied Structures: Ecocriticsm, Genocide, and Representation in the wake of the Holocaust”

October 30th: Hallvard Haug, Birkbeck, University of London
“Criminal Programming: The algorithmic heist and narrative control”

November 13th: Sara Dominici, University of Westminster
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November 27th: Chris Lloyd, Goldsmiths, University of London
“Looking at the ‘Southern Visual Legacy’ in Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke

Everybody is welcome, but if you’re not a Westminster staff member or student please email Lucy Bond at:

New Higher Education & Theory reading group

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A plug for the Higher Education & Theory Reading Group that’s just been set up by and for staff and postgraduate students at Westminster. The first Organizing Meeting  will take place on Wednesday October 2, 2013, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm , in room 359 in 309 Regent Street

This is a cross-faculty reading group on the theory of education, open to all staff and research students at the University of Westminster. The intention is to foster an increased awareness of the contributions of major critical thinkers to pedagogic debate and practice, supplementing the sociological, psychological, and empirical focus of current educational discourse with a broader transdisciplinary emphasis on the importance of philosophical and historical contributions to educational theory. The idea is that a productive critical perspective will be opened up on contemporary pedagogical practice through such theoretical and historical viewpoints, one that will also allow researchers to make connections between their research and their own practice as teachers by re-reading theoretical texts pedagogically.  There will be a minimum of 3 reading groups per year. The group will initially meet once a term, with the possibility of meeting more frequently if time and interest permit.

The starting text for the autumn term will be Jean-Francois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Future texts will be decided by the group. The first 5 chapters of the Lyotard text are online here. The full scanned version is here.  Pages 47-53 in particular look at higher education.

See also the HERC Community blog webpage:

To RSVP or register your interest, please email: Steven Cranfield, or Matthew Charles,

Translating China at the Cheltenham Festival

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An event at next month’s Cheltenham Festival featuring our own Anne Witchard:

Translating China
Sunday 13 October, 12-1, Montpellier Gardens

How does the west ‘translate’ China and particularly the role of Chinese women past and present? How do western perceptions relate to reality? Acclaimed author of The Good Women of China, Xinran, joins the prize-winning ‘Misty Poet’ Yang Lian, and Anne Witchard, lead researcher on the AHRC project China in Britain: Myths and Realities, to discuss the evolution of gender roles in China, especially during the tumultuous events of the last hundred years.

Book your ticket here:

Whitechapel Salon, 26th September: Ogg, Orlow, and Till on the future of ‘theory’ in art and design education

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Whitechapel Gallery Salon: The Future of Theory
Thursday 26 September, 7pm – 9pm

Join Curator Kirsty Ogg, artist Uriel Orlow and Head of Central Saint Martins Jeremy Till for the first in a series of debates on the future of ‘theory’ in art and design education.

Organised with the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, Westminster and University for the Creative Arts.

For more details, click here.

Future of ‘theory’ in art and design education, Whitechapel Salon, 26th Sept

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Salon#1: The Future of ‘Theory’ in Art and Design Education
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1
Thursday 26 September 2013, 7pm – 9pm

Join Curator Kirsty Ogg, artist Uriel Orlow, and Head of Central Saint Martins Jeremy Till for the first in a new series of Whitechapel Salons debating the future of ‘theory’ in art and design education. Chaired by Marquard Smith.

Tickets £8/£6 concessions (£4 Members). Includes a glass of wine. Book your ticket here.

Co-organised by the IMCC and University for the Creative Arts

Materialities of Text: New Formations special issue

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A new issue of the journal New Formations is out co-edited by the IMCC’s Sas Mays. Entitled ‘Materialities of Text: From the Codex to the Net’, the collection came out of an online conference hosted by the Institute’s ‘Archiving Cultures’ affiliate. Further information on the issue is available here. You can also download a copy of Sas’s introduction to the issue, co-authored with Nick Thoburn, for free at: intro.pdf

Fu Manchu in London, Friday 4th October 2013

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Fu Manchu in London: Lao She, Limehouse and Yellow Peril in the Heart of Empire

Friday 4th October 2013
University of Westminster, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1W 6UW

We are pleased to announce a special one-day conference on the occasion of three inter-related events this autumn: the publication by Penguin Modern Classics of Lao She’s forgotten masterpiece of 1920s Chinese London, Mr Ma and Son, the launch at the Ovalhouse Theatre of Daniel York’s satiric play, The Fu Manchu Complex (dir. Justin Audibert), and, to mark the centenary of the first appearance of “the Yellow Peril incarnate in one man”, Lord of Strange Deaths: The Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer, a collection of essays edited by Phil Baker and Antony Clayton (Strange Attractor Press, 2013).

The day’s speakers will examine the contexts and enduring fascination of one of the world’s most notorious fictional villains, from the fin-de-siecle racial anxieties and obsessions that spawned Rohmer’s oeuvre to the skewed perceptions that have arisen around his pervasive influence. Of all the overseas Chinese who came to England during the inter-war years, Lao She was the only one to confront the popular Sinophobia endemic in British society directly. Mr Ma and Son: Two Chinese in London (Er Ma, 1929) portrays the pernicious effects of the media on the lives of Chinese people in London. Based on his own experiences in London and written principally for a Chinese readership, the novel gives us a rare, if not unique, picture of the social and commercial affairs of the shop-keepers, café proprietors, and seafarers, that made up the major part of London’s small Chinese community, then based in Limehouse in the East End. Daniel York’s play, The Fu Manchu Complex challenges the resonances of ‘Yellow Peril’ stereotypes for the 21st century in a satirical pastiche of classic British cinema. Five East Asian actors ‘white up’ in the style of slapstick and Victorian music-hall comedy to play the traditional colonials in a murder mystery set in the East End.

Admission is free but please register by emailing Dr Anne Witchard at:


10.00AM – “Some Kind of Admiration or Respect”: Dr Fu Manchu as Hero
Phil Baker

10.45AM – The Case of the Yellow Peril Then and Now
Dr Ross Forman (University of Warwick)

11.30AM – 11.45AM – coffee

11.45AM – Fu Manchu, Orientalism and Arabophilia
Robert Irwin (SOAS /Times Literary Supplement)

12.30PM – 1.30PM – Lunch

1.30PM – Rohmer’s Odyssey
Antony Clayton

2.15PM – Mr Ma and Son: Limehouse and the Yellow Peril genre
Dr Julia Lovell (Birkbeck) in conversation with author Paul French

3.15PM – The Fu Manchu Complex
Daniel York and Justin Audibert will discuss their play, The Fu Manchu Complex, in production at the Ovalhouse Theatre in London.

The Fu Manchu Complex runs at the Ovalhouse, Kennington
1 – 19 October, Tues-Sat 7.45pm
BOOK / BOX OFFICE: 020 7582 7680

Call for Papers: Archives for the Future: An Art and Visual Culture Conference

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Archives for the Future: An Art and Visual Culture Conference

Organised by Mnemoscape and supported by the IMCC.
Call for Papers: Deadline submission: 18 November 2013

Archives are becoming increasingly fetishized and (an)aestheticized in contemporary art practice and academic discourse. This conference comes out of a shared sense of frustration at this. In response, it intends to explore the present and futuristic potential embedded in the archive. Archives have generally been considered as conservative institutions aimed at preserving the past in the present – and so perpetuating the traditional structures of power. In contrast, we are interested in bringing to light the generative and creative side of the archive, what Derrida has defined as its ‘institutive’ power. How can archives be used to generate the ‘new’ and to convey possible alternatives to the present status quo? How can we turn archives from historical records into instruments of future planning and agencies of radical thinking? Is it possible to build an archive which works as an open space of imagination and a mean of projection into the future? Is it possible to archive the future to come and, at the same time, to remain open to the unpredictable and the unknown?

We invite submissions that are concerned with reinstating the archive as site of political confrontation, of action and intervention in the present, as well as as site of re-projection and re-imagination for the future. We are particularly interested in creating a dialogue between theory and practice and as such we welcome contributions from artists, thinkers and curators alike.

To submit a proposal please send an abstract (300-500 words), a CV, five key words and a short biographical note (100 words). Please send in a single Word document to:

For more information about the conference, please contact the conveners, Elisa Adami and Alessandra Ferrini at

Download the call for papers

Death, Aesthetics and Representation, Wednesday September 11 2013

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The final event in the series Death and the Contemporary, ‘Death, Aesthetics and Representation’ will take place on Wednesday September 11 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm,  at The Photographers’ Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW, featuring contributions from a panel of keynote speakers including Professor Roger Luckhurst, Dr Timothy Secret, Audrey Linkman  and Briony Campbell.

‘Death, Aesthetics and Representation’ is hosted by Georgina Colby in collaboration with Anthony Luvera. Through plenary discussions with keynote writers, visual artists and theorists, ‘Death and the Contemporary’ seeks to explore issues surrounding the representation of death in contemporary culture.

The following links contain further information about ‘Death and the Contemporary’ and ticket sales for ‘Death, Aesthetics and Representation’. Tickets for the event are priced at £7 or £4 concession.