CFP June 13-14 2017 "Radicalism and the Univeristy" Graduate Conference @ University of Essex, Colchester Campus

Colin Rideout's picture
Call for Papers
June 14, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Sciences, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Radicalism and the University

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 graduate 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 differences or similarities 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 

Authors are invited to submit an abstract no longer than 250 words.

Priority will be given to Graduate students, i.e., persons currently studying towards either a Master's or PhD.


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 the contemporary political environment, the idea that the University is a space of critical thought and activity is being increasingly undermined. While some universities have been implicated in the deportation of their own employees, others are advertising themselves as ‘radical’, despite a hollowing out of any genuine radical orientation. As one prominent critic of the marketisation of higher education recently put it:  “A creeping incremental assault on academic freedom threatens not just what can be spoken aloud, but also what it is permissible to think: thought itself is to be subjected to management, so that its critical power is neutered or constrained. We may still make controversial statements; but we cannot be permitted actually to behave in accordance with them or to live according to moral principles that diverge from accepted norms. Academic integrity – indeed the ethical conduct of the university itself – is thereby threatened”[1]. Is this phenomenon paradigmatic of how institutions can be 'critical in theory but conformist in practice'? In an increasingly marketised, politicised, and managed 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 attack 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?

[1] Thomas Docherty ‘Thomas Docherty on academic freedom’ Times Higher Education, December 4 2014. Available at:


Contact Info: 

Mr. Colin Rideout, Conference Committee Co-Chair.

Contact Email: