December 18, 2013 § Leave a comment
I like some of the stuff my fb friends post. Some of it is articles I read. But sometimes it’s just not a good time to read them. Solution: put them in this blogpost, to read later, if and when. Genius, complete genius.
December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
December 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
My friend Toni Baum wrote this on facebook last week, and I wanted to share it:
Lots of people are talking about the shameless appropriation of Mandela’s memory and the image of him as a compliant “teddy bear”, but what strikes me about the stories I’m hearing and reading – like my friend, Benjamin’s – is that the secret of Mandela’s revolutionary success was his generosity of spirit and refusal to bear a grudge. It was precisely his insistence in seeing the potential goodness in everybody – including his oppressors and betrayers – that made him a shrewd politician and diplomat. He was a driven visionary and a revolutionary who saw everyone as a potential future ally in achieving his goals. He wanted everyone to participate in his “rainbow nation” to the extent that he even reached out to the Queen of England, with whom he had developed a personal friendship despite her prior support of the Apartheid regime, so that the new South Africa could be part of the British Commonwealth. For Mandela, bearing grudges was burning bridges. His purpose was never power or revenge, but movement, change and freedom for everyone.
December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Debating Vivek Chibber’s Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital
Only two months ago, Verso brought out the much-anticipated (by me, if no one else) book by NYU Marxian sociologist Vivek Chibber, Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital. Appropriately enough, the debate has commenced with Chibber’s interventions at the Historical Materialism Conferences in Delhi and New York – at the latter of which he debated Partha Chatterjee, a leader of the Subaltern Studies school which is his main target.
Chibber, previously known for his erudite intervention on the Nehruvian developmental model of the postcolonial Indian state, had earlier announced his intention of dismantling the dominance of postcolonial theory in his essay “The Decline of Class Analysis in South Asian Studies.”
This aim was nothing if not calculated to be highly provocative toward people working in South Asian studies, the study of the postcolonial world (Asia, Oceania, Africa, Latin…
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December 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
In this blogpost I’m just posting a blurb for an event that took place in 2009 at SOAS, because the content of the blurb (especially the links) might be of interest to me and/or readers. I’m posting it now because I was searching through my email inbox for something else and this popped up and seemed of interest. I actually never made it to the event but have, since then, encountered the Tactical Tech Collective at a workshop on Open Data that I attended last year in Chennai. Anyways.
Thursday 5th November, SOAS Junior Common Room 7pm:
Using information and digital technologies to create positive change
10 tactics for turning information into action includes stories from
more than 35 rights advocates around the world who have successfully
used information and digital technologies to create positive change.
This project, from Tactical Technology Collective, includes a film
featuring 25 interviews with advocates alongside a deck of cards that
details info-activism case studies, features tools and provides advice
from people about the tactics and tools they have used in different
At this event parts of the film will be screened for the first time.
The audience will be engaged in a conversation that asks: Are digital
tools changing activism? What are digital activists doing and is it
making a difference? What are the risks and benefits of digital
Tanya Notley from Tactical Tech will introduce the project and explain
how it came about.
Tessa Lewin from the IDS at the University of Sussex will explain how
she uses animation as a force for change in Egypt with the Women and
Memory Forum (http://www.wmf.org.eg/)
Muzna Al-Masri an activist from Lebanon talks about the work of
Solidarity Maps in addressing rights abuses in Lebanon and Palestine
Stephanie Hankey from Tactical Tech will discuss the work of
international NGO, Tactical Technology Collective
For further information, please see:
December 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
This quote struck me:
There’s something quite interesting about collectives and projects that persist for that length of time. Oftentimes within radical political circles you don’t get that level of persistence in time. It’s interesting to see what value you can have for forms of collectivity that endure. Midnight Notes, AK Press, and Ruigoord are other examples. I think there’s a value in—not necessarily stability because obviously they keep changing—but what kinds of projects persist and that hold together a kind of milieu. That’s what I see as one of the main values of that kind of project.
And this one:
It’s strange because doing all those other things like writing a book, doing public speaking events, or doing interesting things politically or artistically are the things that your colleagues are interested in – but they aren’t the things that register in the value metrics of the university. It’s almost like a kind of schizophrenia between knowing these two things in order get any credit for your work. It says you have to publish in these places and do this, and there’s stuff you also want to do. It’s almost as if you manage to play the first set of value metrics in a way that is deemed to be satisfactory, then you are allowed a greater leeway where with the other things you are doing you can do what you want. It’s kind of a schizophrenic response to knowing how to use those different measures of importance – and the difficult part is how to play with them without letting them change what’s really important to you.This is somewhat awkward for me, in that I didn’t want to have to divide up doing, you know, ‘this is my political work and this is the academic work.’ Sometimes it’s helped to actually make that sort of division.
And then this one, for me, seems to be the focus of the radical academic’s “measurable written outputs that fit the value metrics of the university”:
It’s just this sort of punctuated point where you have to constantly say, ‘okay, this is what’s happening. How do I think about it in a way that sort of re-opens political possibilities?’
The blog on which I found this article is awesome, and finding it makes me feel my morning has not at all been wasted. Thanks Chris R for sharing it on facebook. See you soon. Cycle safe.
Summary: Stevphen Shukaitis, editor of Minor Compositions, talks about the possibilities for open publishing as an experiment and a provocation. Drawing on his book, Imaginal Machines, he reflects on the challenge of resisting the recuperation of radical energies in work. As a professor in a business school, he shares his approach to radical teaching: using traditional materials for subversive ends.
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