Showing posts from 2016

#5 – 01/12/2016: The Origins of Totalitarianism (2): The Jews and Society

'Comprehension, in short, means the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to, and resisting of, reality––whatever it may be. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Our second session on The Origins of Totalitarianism will grapple with Arendt's investigation into Nazism and the Jewish question. Focusing specifically on Arendt's chapter 'The Jews and Society', we will explore Arendt's conviction that Jews were by no means innocent victims, but rather agents who acted and re-acted within the public realm. This line of thought leads Arendt to a highly controversial question: if Jews were not innocent victims of Nazi violence, then do they in some way share the responsibility for that violence?

Join us for our final meeting before the winter break – expect vegan wine and snacks!
Where?:LHRI, Seminar Room 1 
When?: Thursday 1st December, 5-7pm Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, 'The Jews and Society', in The Origins of Totalitarianism. Click here for PDF.

#4 – 17/11/2016: The Origins of Totalitarianism (1): A Classless Society

'It was characteristic of the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany and of the Communist movements in Europe after 1930 that they recruited their members from this mass of apparently indifferent people whom all other parties had given up as too apathetic or too stupid for their attention.' Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Next week's meeting is particularly topical given the results of the US election.  It will be the first of our two sessions on The Origins of Totalitarianism, and will focus on one of the key 'origins' that Arendt identifies: the aspiration towards a classless society. Join us for a thought provoking, and perhaps cathartic, discussion.
Where?:LHRI, Seminar Room 1 
When?: Thursday 17th November, 5-7pm Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, 'A Classless Society?', in The Origins of Totalitarianism. Click here for PDF
Secondary reading: both prefaces to The Origins of Totalitarianism. Click here for PDF

#3 – 03/11/2016: The Human Condition (2): Action

 Hannah Arendt, with few illusions, invites us to think about and live [life] in the present, of course, but always with forgiveness and promise that are the very basis of an optimal political action - Julia Kristeva, Hannah Arendt: Life is a Narrative
For our third meeting we'll take a closer look at Arendt's The Human Condition, focusing on how her concept of "Action" is imagined as that which can revitalise the public sphere. 
#3 The Human Condition (2): Action, 03/11/2016, 5–7pm
Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, excerpts from 'Action', The Human Condition (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998), pp. 220-247. Click here for PDF. Location: LHRI, Seminar Room 1 

#2 – 20/10/2016: The Human Condition (1): The Public and the Private Realm

[The Human Condition] is a primer on how to think about and evaluate the res publica, the public things; how to protect them once they've been identified; and how to live a political life. - Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Why Arendt Matters
After gaining an idea of Arendt's worldview in the last session, we now move on to one of Arendt's more in-depth works, which she described herself as a 'book on political theories'. In The Human Condition, Arendt rethinks key political concepts – in particular, labour, work, and action – giving them new definitions from the vantage point of 'post-totalitarian' society.
As the first of two sessions on The Human Condition, our next meeting will focus on Arendt's (re)definition of the public and the private realm, and thus of political life in relation to each.
#2 The Human Condition (1): The Private and the Public Realm – 20/10/2016, 5–7pm
Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, 'Vita Activa and the Human Condition' and 'Th…

#1 – 06/10/2016: Men in Dark Times

For our first meeting of the year we will explore what Arendt means by the term "dark times". To do this we will read the opening section of one of Arendt's less popular but nevertheless useful books, her essay collection Men in Dark Times (1968). We will also turn to Arendt's source material for this formulation, Bertolt Brecht's poem 'An die Nachgeborenen/To Those Born Later'.

Truly, I live in dark times!
The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead
Suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs
Has simply not yet had
The terrible news.
#1 Hannah Arendt in Dark Times – 06/10/2016, 5–7pm
Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, 'Preface' and 'On Humanity in Dark Times: Thoughts about Lessing', in Men in Dark Times (New York: Harvest, 1968), pp. vii–x; 3–31. Click here for PDF. Secondary reading: Bertolt Brecht, 'An die Nachgeborenen/To Those Born Later', in Bertolt Brecht: Poetry and Prose, ed. by Rheinhold Grimm and Caroline Molina y Vedia (New Yor…

Hannah Arendt in Dark Times

Quilting Points returns for its fifth consecutive year! 
We are excited to announce the return of Quilting Points, the University of Leeds's interdisciplinary critical and cultural theory reading group. This year we will examine the work of Hannah Arendt. Arendt’s influence stretches across political theory, modern history, philosophy, Jewish studies, and cultural studies; Arendt’s corpus continues to shape the way we think about the Holocaust. 
Arendt’s work attempted to both theorise the rise of totalitarianism and re-think the concepts of power and citizenship. Her writing influenced Foucault, Agamben, and Kristeva, among many others, and her concept of the “banality of evil” has become common parlance, perhaps even a widely misused cliche. Despite Arendt's wide-ranging impact, though, her work is somewhat under-studied as theory in itself, primarily (but not entirely) because she preceded the “theory revolution”. This reading group will therefore be interested in asking: in …

A Gramscian Model for Race Studies

When: 4:30 - 6:30 pm, Thursday 5 May
Where: LHRI Seminar Room 2, 29–31 Clarendon Place (map)
Main Text 1: Hall (1986): Gramsci's Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity Click here Main Text 2: Liv Sovik (2015): Stuart Hall and Writing Structured Like Music Click here
The Quilting Points reading group continues reading Stuart Hall through the theoretical models that informed his work.
This session considers two perspectives on Hall's studies on race and ethnicity: Hall's own words on how he adapted a Gramscian model to race studies and Liv Sovik's recent article on adapting Hall's work to studies of race in the postcolonial Caribbean. 

Everyone is welcome to attend. We hope for a lively discussion!

Foucault contra Hall: What is critique?

When: 4:30pm Thursday 24th March
Where: LHRI Seminar Room 2, 29–31 Clarendon Place (map)
Main Text 1: Foucault (1970) What is critique? (download)
Main Text 2: Kendall & Wickham (1999) Using Foucault's methods (short extract) (download)
Supplementary Text: Hall (1988) The toad in the garden (download)

The Quilting Points reading group continues reading Stuart Hall through the theorists who informed his thought.

In this session we will look at Hall's reading of Foucault, but rather than heap praise on either we will look to the tensions between them. In the first text, Foucault sets out his understanding of critique; where it came from, what it is made of, and why it is valuable. In the second text—a short extract—Foucauldian scholars Kendall & Wickham take Hall to task on his interpretation of Foucault and his use in cultural studies. In the supplementary text, Hall points to what he sees as weaknesses in Foucault's treatment of the State and ideology, and sets out his…

Blind Justice & Blinding Crime: Thinking with Stuart Hall

Blind Justice & Blinding Crime Thinking with Stuart Hall
Nisha Kapoor4:30pm, 10th of March 2016 (LHRI Seminar Room 1, 21–31 Clarendon Place)
All are invited to attend the first Quilting Points Research Seminar, in which we will explore the relationship between race and representation in the 21st century. Our special guest speaker Nisha Kapoor is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of York. Nisha’s research is focused on critical race theory and the racial state, as well as racial neoliberalism and the War on Terror. Nisha is visiting Leeds to present her ongoing research on the theme of Extradition, Racism, Rights, and Resistance in Terrorising Times, and linking it with Stuart Hall's work on race, crime and representation in Policing the Crisis.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Antonio Gramsci: excerpts from the prison notebooks

When: 4:30pm, Thursday the 25th of February, 2016
Where: LHRI Seminar Room 1, 29–31 Clarendon Place (map)
Main Text 1: Gramsci (1971) Some theoretical and practical aspects of "economism" (download)
Main Text 2: Gramsci (1971) The study of philosophy (download)
Supplementary Text: Hall (1988) Gramsci and Us (download)

The Quilting Points reading group continues reading Stuart Hall through the theorists who informed his thought. In this session we take two excerpts from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci—arguably Hall's greatest influence. We will look at Gramsci's notion of 'common sense', which is used extensively by Hall, and touch on the concept of 'hegemony', Gramsci's most widely cited idea. As ever, Quilting Points is an inter- multi- cross- and counter-disciplinary reading group, and everyone is welcome to attend.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Louis Althusser: Contradiction and overdetermination

When: 4:30pm, Thursday 11th February 2016
Where: LHRI Seminar Room 1, 29–31 Clarendon Place (map)
Main Text: Althusser (1969) Contradiction and overdetermination (download)
Supplementary Text: Sparks (1996) Stuart Hall, cultural studies and Marxism (download)

The Quilting Points reading group is back for the second half of our Reading Stuart Hall series. Last semester we read Hall's own work, and this time we will read those who influenced him, starting with a chapter by Louis Althusser. Althusser's brand of Marxism was an important theoretical foundation of early cultural studies (see Sparks 1996), and we intend to follow the theoretical journey from those early structuralist leanings through to Hall's later encounters with Gramsci, Foucault, and others. The supplementary text by Colin Sparks offers an interesting and insightful history of the relationship between cultural studies and Marxism. As ever, Quilting Points is an inter- multi- cross- and counter-disciplinary readi…