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Surplus: A Symposium on Wealth, Waste and Excess

Event Date: 21 June 2013

Room B34
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet St Bloomsbury
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Surplus: A Symposium on Wealth, Waste and Excess

In times of austerity it is especially important to think about surplus.

All civilizations have been built on surplus – an economic, political or cultural capital over and above a minimum which a given society requires to survive. But how is such surplus defined and measured? How is it produced and distributed? What indeed is the relationship between wealth and waste, excess and poverty, scarcity and conflict?

These and other related questions will be addressed at three interconnected roundtables dealing with scarcity, conflict, demography, precarity, rubbish, democracy and protest. The format will enable genuinely cross-disciplinary conversations on some of the most pressing social phenomena of our day, ranging  from mass unemployment (or ‘redundancy’) to the ‘irrational exuberance’ of financial markets; from ‘imperial overstretch’ of American foreign policy to the ‘social explosion’ among marginalised urban populations across the world.

Panelists will include: Eric Swyngedouw, James Meadway, Simon Choat, John Scanlan, Alberto ToscanoLisa McKenzie, Danny Dorling, Anders Dahlbeck, Joel McKim, Anna Stavrianakis, Sue Branford, Emma M Jones and Esther Leslie.


Introduction by Alex Colas (Birkbeck):

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Roundtable 1 with Sue Branford, Anna Stavrianakis, Alex Colas and Eric Swyngedouw:

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Audience Questions:

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Roundtable 2 with Sophie Hope, Danny Dorling, James Meadway and Alberto Toscano:

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Audience Questions:

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Roundtable 3 with Esther Leslie, Simon Choat, Joel McKim and Emma M Jones :

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Audience Questions:

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Closing Comments:

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