Jason Gaiger – Can There be a Universal Theory of Images

in Academic Service - Archive, HARC (Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London) by on October 28th, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

Philosophy and Humanities

28 October 2009

Jason Gaiger (OU)  - Can there be a universal theory of images?

One of the leading proponents of the new discipline of Bildwissenschaft, Lambert Wiesing, has identified the ‘philosophical interest in the concept of an image’ with the ‘tendency towards a universal theory of images’, arguing that this requires not merely a quantitative extension of the type of empirical research carried out in art history and other related disciplines but a ‘change of method’, a ‘shift towards the categorial’ (Artifizielle Präsenz, Suhrkamp, 2005). This paper investigates the problematic distinction between empirical and categorial enquiry by examining Wiesing’s attempt to develop a ‘logic of the image’ through a formal-logical reconstruction of Heinrich Wölfflin’s fundamental concepts of art history. I show that the reconstruction of the concepts as strictly relational categories solves a number of problems inherent in stylistic analysis, but that it does so at the price of no longer being able to account for historical change. The paper concludes by drawing a connection between Peirce’s criticism of the notion of total or ‘universal doubt’ and Wiesing’s conception of a complete freedom of visual-configurational relations. This allows me to raise important reservations about the viability of the ‘shift towards the categorial’ and the distinctions that underpin it.

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Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Anti-Racism and the Myth of Post-Racial Britain

in Academic Service - Archive, HARC (Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London) by on October 27th, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

HARC Special Event

27 October 2009

speaker_YasminAlibhaiBrownYasmin Alibhai-BrownAnti-Racism and the Myth of Post-Racial Britain

Yasmin is a Ugandan-born British journalist, broadcaster, and author. A regular columnist for The Independent and the Evening Standard, she is a well-known commentator on issues of immigration, diversity and multiculturalism.



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Humayun Ansari – Place-making, Identity and Islam: the Struggle to Create ‘a mosque in London worthy of the tradition of Islam and worthy of the capital of the British Empire 1910-1944

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 27th, 2009

Royal Holloway History Department Research Seminar Series

Date: 27 October 2009

speaker_Humayun_AnsariProfessor Humayun Ansari (Royal Holloway)
‘Place-making, Identity and Islam: the Struggle to Create ‘a mosque in London worthy of the tradition of Islam and worthy of the capital of the British Empire’, 1910-1944.

Post 9/11 and 7/7, the mosque, as a socially dynamic and influential multi-purpose community institution, has come under increasing scrutiny as academic and political debates surrounding identity and belonging, the radicalisation of young Muslims, struggles for power within and beyond Muslim communities and policies on integration and social cohesion reach a new pitch. For a Muslim to feel at home or for a non-Muslim to recognize a Muslim space, the presence of certain Islamic symbols is important. In Britain, the construction of mosques has been part of a process of identity formation, a process that has become concerned with non-Muslim anxieties over visible and audible Muslim presence. By exploring historically the dynamic interplay between Muslim experience and the institutions of British society with regard to the efforts for establishing a mosque in London, this paper attempts to deepen our understanding of how Muslims have sought to establish themselves as an integral part of British society, through a specific kind of place-making.

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The Dis/Order of Things: Predisciplinarity After Foucault

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 24th, 2009

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October 2009

An Interdisciplinary Workshop
With a Keynote Lecture by Professor Simon During (Johns Hopkins)

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This interdisciplinary research workshop brings together postgraduates, academics from different fields, and curators to think about Enlightenment Objects and discuss questions of disciplinarity in the wake of Michel Foucault’s seminal work The Order of Things (Les Mots et Les Choses 1966).

The first part of the meeting features a short presentation by British Museum curators Kim Sloan on curating the Enlightenment Gallery and Frances Carey on James Cook’s hand. These panoramic and microscopic approaches open up questions about the lives of objects. Because Cook’s voyages and associated forms of cultural encounter have enjoyed substantial attention in recent interdisciplinary studies, this session is a chance to revisit familiar ground focussing specifically on how Cook objects work in different exhibition contexts and practices. After the two presentations we open the ground for general discussion, hoping you will share the object questions that arise in your own research.
In preparation for the session, you are asked to familiarize yourself with the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum and the Catalogue of the Forster Collection, originally donated to the Ashmolean Museum and now in the Pitt Rivers (online at http://projects.prm.ox.ac.uk/forster/home.html).

We then move on to rethink our objects and questions with Michel Foucault’ revisit Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things (1966). Foucault’s The Order of Things was arguably one of the most influential and ground-breaking books in twentieth-century intellectual history, an investigation into the conditions of possibility of the human sciences that offered an archeology of the disciplines. Foucault’s work produced an often unrecognizable and deliberately controversial account of the ruptures within and between traditionally defined epistemes such as economics, natural history and philology. The repercussions and controversies generated by this text continue to resonate within current debates on disciplinarity, and especially on the relations between the humanities and the sciences. Full text on line:

 

Finally we  conclude with a keynote by Professor Simon During (John Hopkins), the author of Foucault and Literature: Towards a Genealogy of Writing (1993), The Cultural Studies Reader (1993), Modern Enchantments: The Cultural Power of Secular Magic (2002).


Structure:
Enlightenment Objects: Panoramic, Microscopic, Theoretical
Enligthenment Collections / Enlightenment Objects

Luisa Calé – Introduction

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Kim Sloan (Curator, British Museum), on the Enlightenment Gallery
British Museum Enlightenment Gallery

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Frances Carey (Curator, British Museum), on James Cook’s Hand

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Keynote:
Professor Simon During (Johns Hopkins):
‘Lost Objects: Magic and Mystery in the late English Enlightenment’

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(Venue: room B36, Malet Street Building)
Contact: l.cale@english.bbk.ac.uk



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Contemporary Attitudes to the Holocaust

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 23rd, 2009

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Event Date:  Friday 23rd October 2009

Time: 7.30pm Venue: Somerset House WC2

speaker_OrlandoFigesProfessor Orlando Figes of Birkbeck, University of London will conduct a debate on contemporary attitudes to the Holocaust .

In the West, by comparison with our attitudes towards the Holocaust, we are really quite insensitive to the repressions of the Stalinist regime. We are ignorant as well – we know about Auschwitz but who knows about Magadan or Kolyma? Perhaps it is a problem of who speaks for the victims? There is no Spielberg for the Soviet Holocaust. Who cares about the millions of peasants murdered by Stalin when there are Jews (like us) to care about instead? Or perhaps it is because we still harbour left-wing sympathies for the Marxist tradition….

Renowned Historian of Russia Professor Orlando Figes will debate with Dr Daniel Beer, European historian, of Royal Holloway, University of London; Professor Robert Eaglestone, Deputy Director of the Research Centre for the Holocaust and Twentieth Century History at Royal Holloway, Dr Stephen Lovell, Reader in Modern European History, King’s College London and Geraldine van Beuren, Professor Of International Human Rights Law, Queen Mary, UoL.

Professor Figes most recent book is entitled The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia.

more information can be found here

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David Hardiman – The Future of Subaltern Studies

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 21st, 2009

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JOINT EVENT WITH THE POSTCOLONIAL RESEARCH GROUP

21 October 2009

speaker_DavidHardimanProf. David Hardiman from the University of Warwick will speak about the past, present and future of the Subaltern Studies collective. He was a founding member of the group back in the 1980s and has authored several important monographs dealing with ‘subaltern’ histories, politics and cultures in Gujarat – Peasant Nationalists of Gujarat: Kheda District 1917-1934 (1981), The Coming of the Devi: Adivasi Assertion in Western India (1987), Feeding the Baniya: Peasants and Usurers in Western India (1996), and most recently Missionaries and their Medicine: A Christian Modernity for Tribal India, (Manchester 2008). He has also edited (with David Arnold) Subaltern Studies VIII: Essays in Honour of Ranajit Guha and written an acclaimed interpretation of Gandhi, Gandhi in his Time and Ours (2003).

Subaltern Studies has been running up against the dreaded volume number 13 – after a decade of (sometimes vicious) debates about the importance of maintaining a Marxist concern with class position, about the values of a post-colonial preoccupation with identity and about the extendability of the subaltern approach to poor colonizers, mental patients, and other new subjectivities. So has this tremendously successful methodological stance and ‘brand name’ in South Asian historiography run its course? What can postcolonial scholars in other disciplines and regions learn from the SCG?

READINGS

  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘A small history of Subaltern Studies’ in Dipesh Chakrabarty, Habitations of modernity: Essays in the wake of Subaltern Studies (Chicago, 2002). Dipesh.pdf
  • Angela Bourke, ‘Reading a woman’s death: Colonial text and oral tradition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland’ Feminist Studies (1995) Vol. 21, pp 553-86. JSTOR 1.
  • Rosalind O’Hanlon, ‘Recovering the Subject: Subaltern Studies and histories of resistance in colonial South Asia’ Modern Asian Studies (Feb. 1988) Vol. 22 No. 1. JSTOR 2.
  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Postcoloniality and the artifice of history: Who speaks for “Indian” pasts?’ Representations (Winter 1992) No. 37, pp 1-26. JSTOR 3.
  • David Hardiman, ‘Introduction’ in Histories for the Subordinated (New Delhi, 2006) Histories for
    Subordinated – Intro.doc

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Aesthetics and Subjectivity

in Academic Service - Archive, HARC (Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London) by on October 21st, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

 

Event Date: Wednesday 21st October 2009, 2pm-5pm
Arts Building Lecture Theatre 3 (ABLT3),
Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL)


Aesthetics and Subjectivity

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‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, they say. But recent critics writing on the aesthetic argue such sentiments reduce artistic experience to relativism and commodification. Rather than merely absorbing beauty into subjectivity, such critics contend that art – as art – is deeply and dynamically dialectical; it creates a productively provocative tension with the person(s) who hear, watch or read it. Viewed thus, the aesthetic potentially constellates all kinds of ostensibly segregated issues. In examining the dichotomy between subject and object, it also examines the philosophical concepts (such as ‘truth’ or ‘reason’) which derive from this relationship, and, by extension, the social or intersubjective communities which are founded on or constituted through these concepts. Ultimately, then, the aesthetic may articulate or represent radical or utopian possibilities for renegotiating subjects, concepts and communities alike. This event, co-ordinated by the Humanities and Arts Research Council, the Schools of Graduate Studies and Arts, and the departments of Classics, English, French and German at Royal Holloway University of London, brings together some of the most exciting writers working today on this cluster of topics. We are delighted to welcome from Arcadia University Professor Hugh Grady, author most recently of Shakespeare and Impure Aesthetics (CUP 2009) and Professor Andrew Bowie, recognised expert in the field and author of Aesthetics and Subjectivity: from Kant to Nietzsche (2nd ed. Manchester University Press 2003). Joining them from the Royal Holloway Classics Department will be Professors Ahuvia Kahane and Richard Alston. This interdisciplinary conversation aims to elicit a variety of theoretical, and historical perspectives, thus stimulating and provoking discussion from students and staff from across the humanities.


speaker_RichardAlstonProfessor Richard Alston, Department of Classics, RHUL

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speaker_andrew_bowie2Professor Andrew Bowie, Department of German, RHUL

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speaker_HughGradyProfessor Hugh Grady, Department of English, Arcadia University, Philadelphia

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speaker_AhuviaKahaneProfessor Ahuvia Kahane, Department of Classics, RHUL

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For further details about this event, please contact: W.J.McKenzie@rhul.ac.uk

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Funded and Supported by: The Humanities and Arts Research Centre • The School of Arts • The Faculty of Modern Languages • The Departments of Classics • English • and French of Royal Holloway University of London

 

Picture credit: Étienne Maurice Falconet, Pygmalion et Galatée (Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), taken by Yair Haklai, 2007

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Peregrine Horden – What’s Wrong with Medieval Medicine?

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 20th, 2009

Royal Holloway History Department Research Seminar Series

Date: 20 October 2009

speaker_horden_pPeregrine HordenWhat’s Wrong with Medieval Medicine?

As the late great Roy Porter observed, we in the developed world have never have it so good. By any measure we have never been healthier. And yet we have also never been so anxious about our health, or so critical of modern medicine—biomedicine. We look to alternative traditions, many of them Asian. Why do we not also look back to the pre-modern medicine of Europe? What’s wrong with medieval medicine? What could a study of it offer our current malaise? Peregrine Horden explores the medicine of medieval Europe, not as a repository of neglected herbal remedies, but as an example of a medicine that acknowledges its limitations, that aims for rhetorical ‘success’ in the therapeutic encounter rather than biological efficacy; that provides prognosis as much as cure – and that derives its pharmacopoeia from (to us) strange material such as dead vultures as well as from ‘traditional’ herbal lore.




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Atheism in Christianity: “Only an atheist can be a good Christian; only a Christian can be a good atheist”

in Academic Service - Archive by on October 17th, 2009


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Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in conjunction with Verso Press

Saturday 17 October 2009 15:00 – 17:00
Birkbeck Main Building Room B35

Atheism in Christianity: “Only an atheist can be a good Christian; only a Christian can be a good atheist”

In the long unavailable Atheism in Christianity, Ernst Bloch provides an original historical examination of Christianity in an attempt to find its social roots. He pursues a detailed study of the Bible and its long standing fascination for “ordinary and unimportant” people. In the Bible stories’ promise of utopia and their antagonism to authority, Bloch locates the appeal to the oppressed—the desire “to transcend without transcendence.” Through a lyrical yet close and nuanced analysis he explores the tensions within the text that promote atheism, against the authoritarian metaphysical theism imposed on it by priest interpreters. At the Bible’s heart he finds a heretical core and claims, paradoxically, that a good Christian must necessarily be an atheist.

Ernst Bloch, Atheism in Christianity,  available at Verso Books

Speakers:

speaker_JaneShawJane Shaw, Dean of Divinity, Chaplain and Fellow (New College, Oxford)

 

 

 

speaker_PeterThompsonPeter Thompson, Director, Centre for Ernst Bloch Studies (Sheffield)

 

 

 

speaker_BenMorganBen Morgan (Worcester College, Oxford)

 

 

 

speaker_EricKaufmannEric Kaufmann (Birkbeck)

 

 

 

speaker_GeorgePitcherGeorge Pitcher (Chair) Religion Editor of The Daily Telegraph &The Sunday Telegraph

 

 

 

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Adah Kay – International Support and Involvement in Psycho-active Work/Acknowledgement

in Academic Service - Archive, Psycho-Political Resistance in Israel-Palestine by on October 16th, 2009

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