Cultures of the Left in the Age of Right-Wing Populism
Manifestations and Performances
Monday 15th - Wednesday 17th April 2019
Palazzo Pesaro Papafava, Venice
Keynote Speaker: Professor Chantal Mouffe
This event is the culmination of a substantial period of research funded by the British Academy Partnership and Mobility grant (2016-19) that brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars from Warwick University (UK) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (India) as well as researchers, artists and activists from other European and overseas institutions and places. We are asking how could both the historical legacy of the Left and its current manifestations and performances contribute to formulating an aesthetic of resistance not only as a reactive practice, but as a way to sustain the politics of inclusion, equality, care for the commons and social justice? The concept, coined by playwright Peter Weiss against the backdrop of raising fascism in the 1930s—asserts that art and culture, by formulating an aesthetic of resistance, are the means of finding new modes of political action and new forms of social understanding. The urgency of this project is to explore the politics and aesthetics of these forms as means of dissent, but even more importantly, as strategies of sustaining the progressive political agenda both against the backdrop of the alarmingly rising Right and on its own term.
Visuality and the Theatre in the Long Nineteenth Century
Thursday 27th – Saturday 29th June 2019
University of Warwick
This research event will consider new ways of thinking about nineteenth-century stage spectacle, its meanings, its relationship to a wider visual culture, and its spectators. This period is associated with a widespread transformation of conceptions of vision and subjectivity, evidenced by an explosion of graphic imagery and new forms of visual experience such as panoramas and dioramas. Theatrical spectacle was at the centre of this emergent trans-medial, popular visual culture; yet there has been no major work to address this area since Martin Meisel’s seminal study, Realizations: Narrative, Pictorial and Theatrical Arts in Nineteenth-Century England, of 1983. Organized as part of the three-year AHRC-funded collaborative project, ‘Theatre and Visual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’, this event aims to foster cross-disciplinary discussion of spectacle and spectatorship in this period.
Cultures of Toxicity
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th November 2019
University of Warwick
In Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe, Carol (Julianne Moore) is plagued by ‘multiple chemical sensitivities’. The character experiences her environment as a series of toxic threats that cause accumulating and varied physical and psychical consequences. The film concludes with Carol holed up, alone, in an antiseptic pod in a therapeutic community in the desert. She will be safe here, as long as she remains insulated against the ever-increasing threats of the contemporary world. Thus, it is only through a radically diminished life of social and cultural isolation that Carol can survive and be ‘well’. Safe, then, raises a series of questions about the nature and value of toxicity, vulnerability, safety, and resilience that have become culturally central in the twenty-first century. This conference aims to explore the concept of toxicity in relation to a number of contemporary political concerns including culture, health, economics, gender, and ecology. We are concerned to examine how cultural practices (from theatre to graphic fiction) and critical methodologies, for example in performance studies, are contributing to, and intervening in, contemporary anxieties about safety, risk and toxicity. How is toxicity produced, sustained, and distributed? The conference seeks to examine what lies beneath labels of toxicity and interrogate the complex politics of threat, vulnerability, safety, and resistance.