Radicalism and the University

Colin Rideout's picture
Call for Papers
April 14, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Law and Legal History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology
June 13th and 14th, 2017 
University of Essex, Colchester Campus. 
Dr. Alana Jelinek (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge)
Dr. Daniel Loick (Goethe University Frankfurt). 
The School of Philosophy and Art History (SPAH) at the University of Essex would like to invite you to participate in an interdisciplinary conference on the timely subject of radicalism and what role, if any, the institution of the University has to play in it. 
Topics of Interest include, but are not limited to:
- The marketization / commodification of radicalism by the University.
- The antagonism (or lack thereof) between the University and government policy. 
- The difference or similarity between radical left and right wing political movements.
- Contemporary practices in philosophy, politics, aesthetics, etc. that can be called radical
- If radicalism is a realistic project/promise for academia to pursue. 
- What effect, if any, these questions pose to the University as a political space.
- Does Art have radical potential as institutional criticism?
-What does radical art practice look like?
Guide for Authors:
The deadline to submit an abstract is April 14th, 2017.
To submit an abstract please send it to Colin Rideout, Conference Co-Chair, at cr16174@essex.ac.uk  
Authors are invited to submit an abstract no longer than 250 words. 
Important Dates:
Notification of Acceptance: April 21st, 2017. 
Deadline for final paper submission: May 26th, 2017. 
We look forward to seeing both presenters and guests this June! 
Colin Rideout
P.S. Please find a more substantial abstract below.
In 2009, the management of a London university used the cover of a ‘staff meeting’ to hand over members of its cleaning staff to immigration officers for deportation. The University in question, the School of Oriental and African Studies, is one of several universities, including the University of Essex, that now market themselves to prospective students as sites of ‘radical’ history and politics. Is this an example of how institutions can be 'critical in theory but conformist in practice'? In an increasingly marketised and politicised academic environment, what relevance does this ‘radicalism’ hold, within and beyond the institution?
‘Radical’ is of course a term often used colloquially to refer to major challenges to the status quo. Yet, in Western media culture more broadly, ‘radical’ carries with it a negative connotation, characterised as opposite to the prevailing societal norms. At the same time as universities are increasingly incorporating radical histories into their marketable brands, we see an ever intensifying demonisation of all things considered radical, in the form of the Prevent legislation and its application.
What are the politics, aesthetics, and practices of radicalism today, and indeed what should they be? Can radicalism be maintained as a meaningful philosophical, artistic and political project, term, and/or promise? Furthermore, has it ever been, and is it now, possible to be truly radical?
Finally, what do all of these questions mean for the potential of the University as a political space?
Contact Info: 

Colin Rideout: Conference Planning Committee Co-Chair (Philosophy): cr16174@essex.ac.uk

Edie Miller: Conference Planning Committee Co-Chair (Art History): em16509@essex.ac.uk

University Of Essex, Colchester Campus, United Kingdom. 

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