Posts from January 2015

An Unnatural History of London, Feb 18th

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Wednesday 18 February, 6.00 pm
Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London

Professor Alex Warwick, “An Unnatural History of London”

An invitation to our own Alex Warwick’s inaugural professorial lecture at Westminster.

Archaeology had a profound impact on Victorian culture. As it emerges as a professional scientific practice in itself, it is also implicated in many of the century’s important debates. From the dramatic excavations at Pompeii in the late eighteenth century, through the arrivals of impressive objects like those found in Mesopotamia by Austen Henry Layard, to the troubling discoveries of human remains alongside extinct animals, archaeological digging produced objects and ideas that disturbed, excited and entertained the Victorians. The excavated cities held a special fascination, not least through the suggestive effect of the presence of the fragments of once-powerful lost civilizations in London’s museums and galleries. At the same time, London’s own buried history made its way to the surface.

As engineers dug foundations for new buildings or constructed tunnels for the underground railway, the new sewer system or gas pipes to light the street, they uncovered the cities of former times, paradoxically drawing attention to the antiquity, even the pre-history, of London. Just as the modern fabric of London is built on its own ruins, so archaeology proved a powerful force in negotiating the new conditions of capitalist modernity.

In the writings of archaeologists themselves, and in fiction, poetry and other popular texts of the period, archaeological objects, processes and sites become a means of engagement with the present and the unprecedented changes taking place. That nineteenth-century engagement continues to influence us now, more than a hundred years later.

Tickets for this event are free of charge, please register online.

The Two Faces of Memory seminar

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Wednesday 4th February, 4.15 pm
Room 215, University of Westminster, Wells Street, London W1T

“The Two Faces of Memory”
Professor Mark Currie, Queen Mary, University of London

In My Struggle, Knausgaard claims to remember nothing from his early life while producing volumes of detailed memory. This paper aims to establish philosophical co-ordinates for this paradox, in the relationship between memory and imagination, the dynamic of remembering and forgetting, and the externalization of memory. It draws on the work of Bernard Stiegler and his elaboration of retentional finitude in Time and Technics. The argument focuses on the motif of the face in Knausgaard, as an object of recollection, and as a mode of enquiry into the nature of memory.

Welcome to Katharina Donn, Junior Visiting Research Fellow

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The Institute is delighted to welcome Katharina Donn as our Junior Visiting Research Fellow for Spring 2015.


Katharina’s main area of research is in contemporary American Literature. She is particularly interested in the ethics and aesthetics of imaginative literature in the face of trauma and terror. Katharina was a lecturer in American Studies at Augsburg University from 2011-2014, and received her doctorate with a thesis entitled Emergent Wounds: Poetics of Trauma after 9/11. As a fellow of the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation), she worked on a funded interdisciplinary research project concerned with the 9/11 attacks and is currently developing a new project on embodiment and affect, Material Metaphors: Practices of Knowledge in Modernist Literature.

On Desire: SSH Research Seminar Series 2015

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Building on the success of last year’s series on Violence, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Westminster is pleased to announce a new series of open and interdisciplinary seminars this semester on the theme of desire ..

All seminars will be held in room 357 in the University of Westminster’s Regent Street building from 1-3pm. All welcome.

Wednesday 4 February:
Naomi Segal, Birkbeck, University of London
“Taking Your Skin-Ego for a Walk”

Wednesday 11 February:
Maria Aristodemou, Birkbeck, University of London
“Desire – Law = Disquiet”

Wednesday 18 February:
Phil Carney, University of Kent
“Desire and Power in the Spectacle”

Wednesday 25 February:
Nikki Smith, University of Birmingham
“The Queer Art of Crisis”

Wednesday 4 March:
Sam McBean, Queen Mary, University of London
“Technology, Desire and Cruel Optimism: MTV’s Catfish

Wednesday 11 March:
David Gurnham, University of Southampton
“Consent, Normativity and Victim Blame”

Wednesday 18 March:
Helen Palmer, Goldsmiths, University of London

Wednesday 25 March:
Victoria Brooks and Adam Eldridge, University of Westminster
“On Desire”

The Queerness of Interwar Progressives seminar

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The IMCC is very happy to publicise the first Queer London Research Forum event of 2015: a talk by the Wellcome Library’s Lesley A. Hall, entitled ‘‘‘Bearded Fruit-Juice Drinkers”: the Queerness of Interwar Progressives’. The talk will take place on 9th February at 18:30 in the Cayley Room (room 152) in the University of Westminster’s building at 309 Regent Street and will be followed by a wine reception. Attendance is free, but places must be booked; please email to confirm your place.

Abstract: “There was a significant mass of individuals and organisations in Britain between the wars, concentrated in the metropolis, who were widely perceived as ‘queer’ both in the contemporary popular sense of generally eccentric and cranky and also on account of their contravention of gender and sexual norms. This paper will look at the ways this somewhat amorphous group destabilised prevalent assumptions of the day, with particular attention to the ways in which they were felt to be violating hegemonic masculinity, whether through belief in pacifism, a dedication to vegetarianism, unconventional personal fashion style, or enjoyment of such unmanly forms of exercise as yoga and folk-dancing, alongside their liberal attitudes towards homosexuality and on other matters of sexual conduct.”

Lesley Hall, FRHistS, PhD, is Senior Archivist at the Wellcome Library and Honorary Lecturer in History of Medicine, University College London. She is the author of numerous works on gender and sexuality in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain, including Sex, Gender, and Social Change in Britain since 1880 The Life and Times of Stella Browne: Feminist and Free Spirit and Ouspoken Women: Women Writing About Sex, 1870-1969.

The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium and Book Fair, February 20

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The Contemporary Small Press: A Symposium
The Boardroom, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster

The Contemporary Small Press Book Fair
The Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, University of Westminster

Friday 20th February 2015

The last decade has witnessed a turn to considering the legacies of modernism prevalent and operative within contemporary literature and culture. Within the scholarly discourses surrounding this shift, there has been little discussion of the status of the small press in the twenty-first century, and its vital role in the dissemination of avant-garde writing. This symposium seeks to address the role and status of the small press in the UK as a field of academic enquiry. We aim to offer a forum that will bring together a number of small presses, and facilitate productive dialogue between the diverse publishers working with contemporary innovative writers and poets.

The day symposium consists of three panels of scholars, publishers, writers, and poets, which will explore the history of the small press, literary politics and the relationship between the small press and the mainstream, and take up issues surrounding materialities of the text and small press publishing. The Contemporary Small Press Book Fair following the symposium will showcase and market the rich and varied work currently being published by small presses.

Poets and writers reading from their work throughout the day, and into the evening, include Carol Watts, Peter Hughes, Toby Litt, Robert Hampson, Jennifer Cooke, Nicholas Royle, Amy Cutler, Rod Mengham, Tony White, and Michael Nath.

Participating presses include Oystercatcher Press, Reality Street, Route, Veer Books, Comma Press, and Equipage.

A collection of new writing by writers and poets taking part in the symposium, outLINES: from the Small Press, published in collaboration with Oystercatcher Press, will be available on the day.

The symposium is free to all but booking is essential. Places for the symposium can be reserved through Eventbrite:

For further details about the conference, or if you are the editor of a small press and would like to take part in the Book Fair, please contact Leigh Wilson (, or Georgina Colby (

English Literature and Culture research seminars semester 1 2015

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A new year and a new series of fortnightly English Literature and Culture research seminars.

All seminars will be held in room 215 in the University of Westminster’s Wells Street building at 4.15pm, followed by the obligatory retirement to The Green Man. All welcome.

Full titles and abstracts to follow.

Wednesday 4 February: Professor Mark Currie, Queen Mary, University of London

Wednesday 4 March: Dr Gwilym Jones, University of Westminster

Wednesday 18 March: Professor Alex Warwick, University of Westminster

Wednesday 25 March: Professor John Armitage, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton

Wednesday 1 April: Professor Fred Botting, Kingston University

Reminder: 5 4 3 2 1 … Berlin RP conference, Jan 16-17

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Radical Philosophy Berlin Conference 2015
5 4 3 2 1…

Friday 16 – Saturday 17 January
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

Die Radical Philosophy Conference, 2015 erstmals in Deutschland, widmet sich zentralen Themen unserer Zeit. Am Freitag, dem 16. und Samstag, dem 17. Januar diskutieren internationale Vortragende mit verschiedenen disziplinären Hintergründen die Themen Acceleration & the New, Artistic Strike, Secrecy & Surveillance, Queer Theory & Geopolitics, Pedagogization, Philosophy of the Essay-Film, Animalities, On Organization.

With Fahim Amir, Claudia Aradau, David Blacker, Christa Blümlinger, Victoria Browne, Gregoire Chamayou, Matthew Charles, Claire Fontaine, David Cunningham, Antke Engel, Frank Engster, Arianna Ferrari, Peter Hallward, Gertrud Koch, Esther Leslie, Stewart Martin, Mark Neocleous, Peter Osborne, Silvia Posocco, Nina Power, Rahul Rao, Frank Ruda, Nora Sternfeld, Hito Steyerl, Chris Wilbert, and Burkhardt Wolf.  More…

Free download of the Radical Philosophy iOS app is available at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt until the 1 February. More…