On June 22nd 2022 I presented a paper alongside my co-author, Shahnaz Akhter, to my own Department's annual research conference at Warwick. The paper was entitled 'Decolonising the School Curriculum in an Age of Political Polarisation'.
Abstract: 'The objective of decolonising the school curriculum itself embodies an obviously political act, but it has arisen within a broader political context that could hardly be said to support such an aim. There is a clear tension here. As students move through the school year groups they are increasingly exposing themselves to important questions of why the world looks as it does, why some people’s experiences of that world diverge from others’, and why what they are taught in schools appears to reinforce the structural inequalities to which they are becoming sensitised. Today’s students have embraced their access to a knowledge-rich society to become much more aware through self-education of the limitations of their curriculum than arguably any previous generation. Yet at the same time teachers are confronted with ever stricter guidance from government ministers about how they are expected to stick rigidly to the centrally-approved curriculum in a way that is inconsistent with any attempts to decolonise the content of lessons, let alone the experience of school more generally. This might be through full-throated endorsement of a culture wars narrative, which labels any attempt to enlarge the content of the curriculum as a ‘woke’ attack on the very idea of Britishness, with associated emotional pleas to save the country’s children from indoctrination by critical race theory and/or cultural Marxism. It might alternatively be through the use of the House of Commons despatch box to threaten legal action against any teacher who is deemed to be in breach of the 1996 Education Act’s duty of political neutrality, as if the furious spats over the 2013 rewriting of the national curriculum can somehow be construed as evidence that the neutrality condition is alive and well. Our paper asks what the prospects are for a meaningful decolonisation of the school curriculum in an age of political polarisation, culture wars and threats to teacher autonomy.'
I spent some time duing the summer of 2017 giving lectures to school-age students on my Department's Colonial Hangover Widening Participation project. On June 30th I was asked to deliver the opening keynote lecture to the Colonial Hangover Conference, which brought together A-level students with whom we had been working over the course of the year and our own undergraduates to whom we wanted to give experience of operating in an academic conference-like environment. On August 8th I gave the first two lectures to my Department's Sutton Trust Summer School, which was run throughout the week on the Colonial Hangover theme. The first lecture was entitled, 'The Politics of Imperial Names', the second 'The Imperial Politics of the Built Environment'.
On May 13th 2015 I delivered the opening keynote address to the public roundtable which started the three-day New Directions in International Political Economy Conference at the University of Warwick. The conference was organised as part of the University's Festival of Social Sciences being held to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. The title of my talk was, 'Beware of Qualifying Adjectives’.
A video of the whole of the roundtable event can be found here:
On May 12th 2015 I appeared on the PAIS Post-Election Roundtable in my Department. This event was run as part of the Festival of Social Sciences held to celebrate the University's 50th Anniversary. I was invited to speak about the economic and welfare dimensions of the General Election campaign and the economic and welfare implications of the result. I was on the panel alongside my professorial colleagues Wyn Grant, Mike Smith, Richard Aldrich and Shirin Rai.
Politics Reconsidered Blog Post on the Self-Satirising Attitudes of Conservative Politicians towards Food Bank Use
Baroness Jenkin's recent claim that the use of food banks in Britain can be explained by poor people not knowing how to cook in an economising way almost exactly replicates the plot of a Guardian microplay in which a politician undertakes a 'Ready, Steady, Cook' challenge in an attempt to show that everyone is able to make ends meet if they are sufficiently resourceful.
The recent appearance of food bank donation boxes in UK supermarkets raises a series of ethical questions about the commodification of convenience in the sphere of charitable giving.
John Redwood recently took the politics of expansionary austerity to new heights of unbelievability when strategically misunderstanding why the reduction in the UK's top rate of tax from 50% to 45% coincided in its first year with increased overall tax revenues.
Re-posted on April 17th 2015 on the Tax Justice Network's Fools' Gold blog: http://foolsgold.international/competitiveness-myths-and-expansionary-austerity/.
Those nice people at Amazon have created a virtual market that allows us to avoid all the pushing and shoving, all the claustrophobic crowds, all the ritualised elements of having to run with the retail mob. But what does it all mean for their employees?
Challenging the Economics Curriculum: The Quiet Revolution in Community Education
The advent of new community education programmes helping people to understand more about current economic matters is in direct contrast to the often esoteric qualities of the university economics curriculum.