Tag Archives: cultures of peace

Keynote lecture, Iberian Association for Cultural Studies, University of Murcia, 2 October

IBACS_logoI’m very much looking forward to giving a keynote lecture this week, at the 16th International Culture and Power Conference, which is being held from October 2-4, hosted by IBACS (the Iberian Association for Cultural Studies) and the English Department at the University of Murcia, Spain. Here is a little information about the conference (the full programme’s here):

The conference’s special topic will be SPACE. The 16th Culture and Power conference seeks to respond to the growing importance of space, spatial analysis, and localization in cultural studies. While locating cultural practice in concrete geographical and social coordinates has been a constant in the field, the last two decades have witnessed an extraordinary expansion in the ways space has been explored and made to signify in relation to such different social categories as: gender and sexuality; race and ethnicity; region, nation, and globalisation; the real and the virtual. Likewise, location and ground, as well as notions of public and private memory, history, deep and slow time, cultural and media archaeologies, and storytelling have all become essential to more traditional temporal concerns.

Resistance is Fertile / COMPOST CAPITALISM banner, OCCUPY, Oakland Port USA shutdown 2011

Resistance is Fertile / COMPOST CAPITALISM banner, OCCUPY, Oakland Port USA shutdown 2011

I’m giving the opening plenary on Wednesday, and my title is ‘Polemic space, protest, and the garden’. From my introduction (though I don’t like the inelegantly contradictory ‘larger … sub-project’ phrase and may change it): ‘In the terms of this conference, it’s a matter of looking at an uncool, apparently apolitical social-cultural space and practice—the public or private garden, the dirty seasonal act of gardening—and asking questions about where aspects of power manifest themselves in there, and / or are hidden, challenged, subverted. It’s also to acknowledge that this particular book [Radical Gardening] is a very small part of the larger cultural studies sub-project to disseminate our hard-earned, threatened (it feels, from a British university perspective, at least) knowledge about, say, the operations, achievements, history of culture as critique and as engine of social justice to as wide an audience as we can.’

Share Button

Crass and anarcho-punk symposium, June 28 2013

No Sir, I Won’tReconsidering the Legacy of Crass and Anarcho-punk

Friday 28 June 2013

Organised by Oxford Brookes’ Popular Music Research Unit (PMRU)

in association with the Network of Punk Scholars (NPS)

Stations of the Crass, patch30 years since legendary anarcho-punk group Crass released their highly challenging LP Yes Sir, I Will, this symposium will explore the impact and long-lasting legacy of Crass and anarcho-punk. Crass are widely perceived as ‘reluctant leaders’ of the anarcho-punk scene; an ironic title for self-proclaimed anarchists, of course. The central question, for this study day, is: were Crass and anarcho-punk scene significantly effective politically or, alternatively, was the anarcho-punk scene surreptitiously more about clothes, music, image and ‘symbolic rebellion’ (to use Adorno’s term)?

Newspaper articles, journalist/fan publications and a growing body of scholarly work on Crass and the anarcho-punk music scene has been keen to celebrate the fact that such groups sold many thousands of records (more than a million in total in Crass’s case, reportedly), contributed substantially to the rise of anarchistic strategies on the Left and the revitalization of CND in the UK, drew the attention of the UK establishment including the House of Commons and were eventually prosecuted under the Obscene Publications [A]ct.

Recent scholarly work on punk has challenged classic academic accounts of punk such as Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Querying the legitimacy of such accounts has been a specific intention of the nascent Network of Punk Scholars, for example. This symposium, however, would offer a counter-challenge to post-Hebdigean scholars: what is the meaning and politics of punk? What have bands such as Crass done, beyond the ‘bricolage’ which Hebdige describes? What are (were) the limits to their efficacy as agitators? Was/is anarcho-punk really about more than music? If so, was music the best possible vehicle for the forms of agitation which Crass undertook?

Within the study day, in addition to presentations from members of the Punk Network of Scholars and any other interested parties, an afternoon panel combines the views of Penny Rimbaud (the vociferous drummer of Crass), Sarah MacHenry (Crass fan, 1in12 member and ex-Witchknot/Curse of Eve drummer) and George McKay (author of Senseless Acts of Beauty, discussing examples of correspondences he had with Crass in the early 1980s).

Themes for papers might include (but are not limited to):

  • Penny Rimbaud and George McKay in conference discussion, Salford 2008

    Penny Rimbaud and George McKay in conference discussion, Salford 2008

    Specific discussions of Crass

  • Discussions of other bands from the anarcho-punk milieu
  • Comparisons between anarcho-punk and other punk sub-genres
  • Anarcho-punk as a subculture
  • Anarcho-punk as a political ‘culture of resistance’
  • Continuities between hippies, punks, ‘eco-warriors’, ravers and so on
  • Music versus Politics
  • Anarchism versus Marxism
  • Underground versus Mainstream
  • Pacifism versus Violence.

The deadline for proposals for papers is Monday 15 April.

The symposium will be free of charge and will run all day. A free lunch will be provided. However, spaces are limited and interest is expected to be high so it is recommended that you book a place early to avoid disappointment. Those interested in giving a paper or wanting to book a place should contact Dr. Pete Dale at Oxford Brookes  University, pdale@brookes.ac.uk c/o School of Arts, Richard Hamilton Building, Headington Hill, OX3 0BP. Please do not hesitate to contact Pete if you are at all interested in this symposium event.

Share Button