We are a reading group and seminar series interested in cultural theory and the critical, interdisciplinary engagement it enables with the arts, politics, and social history. The year we will be reading and discussion the work of Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter. 

Wynter's extensive and wide-ranging oeuvre will appeal to researchers from across the arts and humanities disciplines, while also questioning their very premises, and bringing in perspectives from social and biomedical sciences. Continuing with the themes of race and identity explored in the group in the previous year, Wynter's work looks through a decolonial lens to disrupt and reimagine Western conceptions of what it means to be human. The growing interest in her work highlights the urgency of these questions when numerous, simultaneous crises are leading us to fundamentally question what it might mean to be a human being in the twenty-first century. Our choice of readings hopes to provide an introduction to the rich scope of  Wynter's thought, and locate her in ongoing discussions. 

We want to make this group as accessible as possible as please email us at quiltingpoints@gmail.com if you have any trouble accessing the reading or have any additional needs that we should be aware of.

Our goal is to promote theoretical inquiry across academic disciplines. To accomplish this goal, we read and discuss foundational theoretical texts and host researchers from within and without the university to present work related to theory and its application to the world.

Quilting Points is based in the Leeds Humanities Research Institute at the University of Leeds, and affiliated with the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS).

Current Directors

Ellie Wakeford (School of English), Freddie Coombes (School of History), and Marika Ceschia (School of English)

Past Directors

2021-2022: Ana GarcĂ­a Soriano (School of English), Evie Lewis (School of English), Ghada Habib (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies) and Michael Hedges (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies)
2020-2021: Joseph Genchi (School of English), Izzy Jenkinson (School of English), and Craig McDonald (School of English)
2019-20: Sam Ross (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science), Izzy Jenkinson (School of English), and Sam Ridout (School of Music)
2018-19: Adrienne Mortimer (School of English), Clare Fisher (School of Performance and Cultural Industries), and Liam Wilby (School of English)
2017-18: Emma Parker (School of English), Hayley Toth (School of English), and Bethan Hughes (School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies)
2016–17: Rachel Johnson (School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies), Dominic O'Key (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies / School of English), Sam Rae (School of Sociology and Social Policy)
2015–16: David Wingate (School of Earth and Environment) and Adam Roberts (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)
2014-15: Ryan Topper (School of English) and Ben Chwistek (School of Classics)
2013-14: Stefan Skrimshire (School of Philosophy, Religion, and the History of Science) and Kasia Mika (School of English)
2012-13: Michael Kelly (School of History) and Arthur Rose (School of English)
2011-12: Arthur Rose (School of English)

Our Name

The quilting point is the word ______, with all these trans-significant connotations. Everything radiates out from and is organized around this signifier, similar to these little lines of force that an upholstery button forms on the surface of material. It's the point of convergence that enables everything that happens in this discourse to be situated retroactively and prospectively.
(Jacques Lacan, Seminar III)

Quilting Points, or points de capiton, are points of suture where there is a knotting together of words and their meanings.

The point de capiton is thus the point in the signifying chain at which "the signifier stops the otherwise endless movement of the signification" and produces the necessary illusion of a fixed meaning.

The wider symbolic implication is that there are certain obvious points of entry in ideas, identifiable by an illusory stability, that provide a means by which these ideas might be discussed, critiqued and evaluated. Quilting Points are therefore a means to examine ideas and their consequences.

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