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2013 Events

Obama Power: Deflation and Reflation of a Political Symbol

A talk by Jeffrey C. Alexander

Friday 7 June 2013 / 5:00-7:00 PM

Ramphal 1.04, University of Warwick

In his talk, Obama Power, Professor Alexander will examine President Barack Obama's reelection campaign against conservative challenger Mitt Romney to illustrate the dynamics of social performance at play in competitions for power in a democratic context. Using his theory of cultural pragmatics, Professor Alexander will explain how political actors work and walk the symbolic boundaries that distinguish the civil from the non-civil spheres of contemporary American life. Political actors create narratives in relation to an overarching cultural code -or binary definitions of actors, motives, and institutions- to situate themselves on the sacred, civil side, and their opponents on the polluted, uncivil side. Professor Alexander will examine how these narrative practices take place through public performances, which are mediated and spun by opinion makers, and interpreted by publics.

Professors Shirin Rai, Michael Saward (PAIS), and Silvija Jestrovic (Theatre Studies) will serve as discussants and open a forum for questions following Professor Alexander's talk.

To Register: Please email Jason Mast at j dot l dot mast at warwick dot ac dot uk. Attendance is free but space is limited.

Event information:

Hosted by: Dr Jason Mast of the IAS and Professor Celia Lury, Director of Warwick's Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies.

Open Democracy: Summary Papers on Aesthetics and Politics

Please see the ongoing dissemination of summary papers published on OpenDemocracy.
The papers were first presented at the Political Aesthetics of Power and Protest workshop on the 26th September 2012 at Warwick. The workshop was funded by the Leverhulme Trust Programme on Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament and organised by Shirin Rai and Arundhati Virmani.

Coriolan/us Symposium

Aberystwyth University

Monday, November 26th

The Performance and Politics Research Group at Aberystwyth is organising a one-day symposium on Monday 26 November to discuss the innovative and exciting production of Coriolan/us by National Theatre Wales. Professor Mike Pearson will begin by showing extracts from a DVD of the performance and offering his thoughts as director of the production. We will then have presentations by Dr Andrew Filmer (TFTS, Aberystwyth), Professor Adrian Kear (TFTS, Aberystwyth) and Prof. Dr. Patrick Primavesi (Universität Leipzig).Described by The Observer
as “an outstanding production that makes several big points about the theatre today…an unforgettable political and personal drama: rich, tough and resonant,” and by The Financial Times
“a production that brilliantly conveys the confusion, unpredictability and opportunism of civil strife,”
this was a inspiring promenade performance that took place in an aircraft hanger on a military airfield west of Cardiff during the summer.We would like to extend an invitation to colleagues from the Warwick Politics and Performance Network to join us. The day should be worth the journey!

A flyer is attached:

Performance and Politics Research Group:

Further information: Professor Jenny Edkins, or Professor Mike Pearson,

International ConferenceImages of Terror, Narratives of (In)security:

Literary, Artistic and Cultural Responses

Call for Papers and Panels: 20th November

23rd and 24th April 2013

University of Lisbon

One of the greatest paradoxes of the 21st century is the fact that, even though western societies have reached an outstanding scientific and technological development, fear and insecurity continue to be very much alive in public discourse as well as in our private life. Concerns about terrorism, urban criminality, global epidemics, computer piracy and organized crime and, more recently, about the outcomes of the financial and economic crises circulate widely in the media and their highly politicized representations shape much of our everyday life.

Since the launching of the "war on terror" in the wake of the September 11th attacks, anxieties about security have grown intensively, justifying the strengthening of security policies and practices, not only in the US but all over the world. Despite this trend, other less "spectacular" forms of terror continue to have actual repercussions in our lives. In fact, a survey by the European Commission (released in November 2011) found that 34% percent of Europeans consider the financial situation rather than so-called "terrorism” as the biggest threat to European security. To what extent are many of these (in)securities real, exaggerated or constructed? What explains the disparate amount of attention paid to different sources of insecurity? Why do certain forms of "terror" achieve the status of "spectacles" and "memorable events", while others receive comparatively little attention by the media and popular discourse?

In this conference we aim to examine how literature, art and culture have dealt with notions of insecurity and to what extent they have provided significant challenges and responses to hegemonic discourses. Participants are encouraged to examine notions of insecurity from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives.

Issues to be discussed might include, but are not limited to:

Philosophical approaches to (in)securityLiterary approaches to (in)securityPsychoanalytic approaches to (in)securityPolitics of (in)securityThe relation between insecurity and artInsecurities associated with economic/financial crisis(In)securities in Visual CultureRepresentations of the "War on Terror"Critical readings of "9/11" novels/filmsRepresentations of the terrorist attacks in London and/or MadridUrban (in)securities and their representationsDepictions of the Arab SpringThe role of the media in the construction and/or dissemination of (in)securitiesThe role of technology in the construction and/or dissemination of (in)securities

Confirmed Guest Speakers:
Professor Liam Kennedy (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Professor David Murakami Wood (Queen's University, Canada)
Professor Kristiaan Versluys (Ghent University, Belgium)

We are accepting proposals for:
* individual proposals for a 20-minute paper
* joint proposals for thematic panels consisting of 3 papers (20 minutes each)

Please include the following information in your proposal:
a) the full title of your paper / of your panel and respective papers;
b) abstract (ca. 200 words per paper);
c) your name;
d) your institutional affiliation;
e) your e-mail and postal address;
f) a short biographical note (ca. 100 words).

Please submit your abstract and inquiries to: (subject header: abstract proposal)

Deadline for proposals: 20 November 2012
Notification of acceptance: 12 December 2012Selected papers delivered at the Conference will be eligible for publication.
Working languages: English and Portuguese

For more information please check: