Waste Matters: Workshop at University of Potsdam, July 8th 2016

Contemporary cities generate waste of various kinds on a scale that is often difficult to imagine and comprehend. Yet cities are also key sites for innovative practices of reuse, recycling and re-purposing. Through such cultures of renewal, waste products not only acquire a new value and function, but they also become entangled in new social relations, material practices and urban forms. Although waste is generally understood as the mundane, worthless, redundant and discarded afterwards of how we live our lives, this project takes as a starting point the fact that we spend a good amount of time in our ‘ordinary’ lives managing waste, and that the problem of how we manage waste is at the heart of environmental crisis and the development of more sustainable futures. Building on research in waste studies, and premised on the analytic importance of exploring that which is rejected, this project recognizes waste as a dynamic category that needs to be understood in relation to the urban contexts in which it is most commonly found and transformed, and the relationships in which it is embedded.

The workshop brings together scholars from Australia and Germany within the fields of cultural and urban studies to investigate the diverse cultural phenomenon that is waste, the urban infrastructures that were designed to eliminate waste in the name of hygiene and technical efficiency but which are now in crisis, and the range of amateur and DIY urbanisms that are retooling waste in new and innovative ways.

For more information, please contact Anja Schwarz.

Advertisements

Minor Culture: Melbourne, 1st – 3rd December 2015

Cultural Studies Association of Australasia

Minor Culture creates a space for inter-disciplinary dialogues around the study of place, identity and marginality, and addresses research on everyday cultural productions and media texts, cultural policy and discourses of sustainability, digital life and creative industries, and public cultures in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference also invites responses to the following questions:
  • How are minor cultures inhabited? When do minor cultures become uninhabitable?
  • Is the concept of minority still useful in explaining contemporary forms of cultural marginality?
  • How do categories such as indigeneity and Aboriginality, gender and sexuality, class, disability, race and citizenship produce minoritising effects? How might these categories change when mobilised through governmental discourses, newsmedia, and everyday usage?
  • Who narrates experiences of minoritisation? For whom are these narratives produced? How is minoritarianism articulated through film, music, television, literature, performance, and digital cultures?
  • In what ways do practices of government and cultural policy shape relationships between local, national and transnational cultures? To what extent are legal regulations implicated in the formation of minoritarian practices?
  • How do new minor or major cultural formations emerge? Through which means do political practices resist or intervene in these formations?
  • Do minor cultures require novel theoretical tools or research methodologies? What do “experimental” approaches to cultural research look like? What alternative kinds of knowledge could such approaches make available?
  • Is minority a humanist concept? What place could “majority” and “minority” have within post-anthropocentric thinking?
  • And when do minor cultures cease to be minor?

Find more information here.

Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South

Across the global South, new media technologies have brought about new forms of cultural production, distribution and reception. The spread of cassette recorders in the 1970s; the introduction of analogue and digital video formats in the 80s and 90s; the pervasive availability of recycled computer hardware; the global dissemination of the internet and mobile phones in the new millennium: all these have revolutionised the access of previously marginalised populations to the cultural flows of global modernity.Postcolonial Piracy_cover page

Yet this access also engenders a pirate occupation of the modern: it ducks and deranges the globalised designs of property, capitalism and personhood set by the North. Positioning itself against Eurocentric critiques by corporate lobbies, libertarian readings or classical Marxist interventions, this volume offers a profound postcolonial revaluation of the social, epistemic and aesthetic workings of piracy. It projects how postcolonial piracy persistently negotiates different trajectories of property and self at the crossroads of the global and the local.

Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South, edited by Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz. London: Bloomsbury Academic 2014.

The book is available for download.

Indigenous Cultural Studies

History, Power, Text: Cultural Studies and Indigenous Studies is a collection of essays on Indigenous themes published between 1996 and 2013 in the Australian journal known first as UTS Review and now as Cultural Studies Review. From the introduction:
“[T]his collection has been conceived and assembled as an exercise in institution building beyond ‘the Institution’. We call this institution, tentatively, ‘Indigenous cultural studies’ and see it as a disciplinary space that is built iteratively through events, single articles and books. We do not seek to prescribe or delimit this project but rather to give it density and energise those working in the overlapping fields represented here.
Indigenous cultural studies is our name for the intersection of cultural studies and Indigenous studies, a crossing often expressed as, but certainly not limited to, cultural studies with Indigenous topics, Indigenous scholars doing cultural studies or Indigenous studies of culture and everyday life. Just as John Hartley describes cultural studies as ‘a crossroads or bazaar for the exchange of ideas from many directions’, Indigenous cultural studies is the exchange—in the sense of both a transactional site and a transactional act—that occurs at the meeting point of these diverse undertakings.
It is the site where the scholars republished here might form and defend inquiries, and modes of inquiry, and where their‘discipline’ is not primarily grounded in method or topic, but in their mutual textual presence. This collection seeks to (re) build this particular bazaar by identifying the conditions and fact of its existence and by revisiting some of the ideas and directions that have shaped the meeting of cultural studies and Indigenous studies.” (Eve Vincent, Timothy Neale & Crystal McKinnon, 2014, 11-12).
 The volume is published by UTS ePress and can be downloaded here.

Workshop: African Cultural Studies, 22-23 January 2015, University of Potsdam / Werkstatt der Kulturen Berlin

Across the African continent, new forms of cultural enquiry are emerging that operate either in parallel or in opposition to Anglo-American and European traditions of cultural studies. Devoted to a critique of the continuing dominance in Africa of the European academic legacy, these African approaches to cultural studies draw on local knowledge traditions and seek to develop a genuinely decolonised approach to thinking culture and understanding the relationship between the local and the global, between tradition and modernity.

Within our European research and teaching contexts, the impulses from African cultural studies make necessary a critical reappraisal of concepts such as indigeneity and the place-bound nature of knowledges that sometimes sit uneasily within our own ways of doing cultural studies. How does one adequately address and make productive the tensions that exist between a research agenda that is presumably shared by all cultural studies scholars alike and the simultaneous insistence on diverse, local traditions?

Tursday, 22nd January, 10 a.m. – 12 noon: African Cultural Studies Master Class University of Potsdam, Campus Am Neuen Palais, house 8, room 75 (“Professorenmensa”)

Join us for a lively discussion during a morning master class with Francis B. Nyamnjoh and Adam Haupt, two leading cultural studies scholars from South Africa.

Francis B. Nyamnjoh is Professor of Anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town
Adam Haupt is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

To sign up for the workshop, please contact anja.schwarz@uni-potsdam.de
Preparatory readings will be made available prior to the meeting.

Friday, 23rd January, 3-6 p.m.: Doing African Cultural Studies, Werkstatt der Kulturen Berlin

Bringing together African scholars from the field of cultural studies with Berlin-based colleagues, the workshop aims to generate a dialogue between their diverse practices of thinking culture.

Speakers
Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Professor of Anthropology, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town
Adam Haupt, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

Panellists
Elahe Haschemi Yekani, Junior Professor of English Literature, University of Flensburg
James Odhiambo Ogone, Doctoral Student in the Department of English, University of Potsdam
Regina Römhild, Professor of European Ethnology, Humboldt University, Berlin
Anja Schwarz, Junior Professor of Cultural Studies, Univeristy of Potsdam

Book Launch

The workshop is followed by the launch of Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South (eds Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz). Please join us for a round of celebratory drinks and snacks.