Conference: Political Events and Spaces of Affect

reposted from crit-geog-forum:

6th September 2011, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol

Organized by Dr J-D Dewsbury and Dr Maria Fannin

Co-sponsored by: The Institute of Advanced Studies (University of Bristol) and The Worldwide University Network (University of Bristol and University of Wisconsin-Madison).


Dr David Bissell (Australian National University) Prof Michael Dillon (Lancaster University) Prof Jenny Edkins (Aberystwyth University) Prof Bob Kaiser (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Prof Catherine Malabou (University of Paris X-Nanterre\Kingston University) Dr Derek McCormack (University of Oxford) Prof Rob Shields (University of Alberta) Prof Keith Woodward (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The 21st century has already witnessed major transformations in approaches to the political by both geographers and social theorists who share a concern for developing new ways of reading and defining political intervention alongside a host of complex techno-scientific responses to crisis. Events such as the financial collapse of 2008 and the complex roles of human life in global climate change are sharpening, intensifying and diversifying social mobilizations aimed at effecting wide-reaching structural changes in lifestyle and governance. At the same time, more and more political responses to ecological catastrophes, bio-techno-scientific developments and new forms of apartheid are gaining increasing purchase by reconsidering political events at a host of different and often singular sites, including public protests, urban ecologies, artistic and pedagogical performance events, social gatherings and everyday responses to new global challenges (Berlant 2008; Stewart 2007).

Further, recent theories of political events in the social sciences and humanities emphasize the importance of affect (Thrift 2008; Protevi 2009), defined here as the force relations among (human and non-human) bodies encompassing the emotionally charged, constitutive fabric of political investment typical of collective relations. This focus on affect is a major transformation in approaches to the political by both geographers (Wainwright 2008; Swyngedouw 2010), social theorists (Connolly 2008; Butler 2009; Toscano, 2010) and philosophers (Malabou 2008; Stiegler 2010) who share a concern for developing new ways of reading and defining political intervention and expression.

This conference will explore these specialisms in three key research areas:

conceptualizing the role of the event in politics; thinking through the concepts of affect, habit and plasticity as constitutive of political investment; and explaining the role spatialities play in effecting wide-ranging changes in lifestyle and governance. The conference is designed to provide a space for intensive research conversations amongst leading international scholars and to bring reflections on affect, the event and politics in geography together with work in philosophy, political theory, sociology and other fields.

Programme of Events:

Session 1

Politics of the Concept, Singularity and Sites of Events 9:30-11:45am

Coffee 11:45-12:00pm

Session 2

The Spatialities of Affective Politics 12-1:30pm

LUNCH 1:30-2:30pm

Session 3

Theorizations of Politics through Plasticity, Habit and Affect 2:30-5:00pm

Coffee 3:45-4:15pm

Wrap-Up 5:30-6:00pm

Places at the conference are free but limited. To attend, contact Gemma Simpson at by 26th August 2011.

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