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University of London Insitute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine

75007 Paris

France

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Transforming our habits: A performative approach to knowledge and politics

How do institutionalised ways of knowing get in the way of being-together, of recognizing, seeing, listening to each other and facilitating (self-)transformation in politics, academia and everyday life? Catherine Charrett’s and Erzsebet Strausz’s research and creative practice are guided by an ethos and desire to do something more than what is deemed already possible through the use of creativity, imagination and experimentation. Inspired by the philosophical openings of the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler we share alternative modes of writing, thinking, knowing and presenting ‘knowledge’ that displace and subvert some of the ways in which ‘politics’ and ‘knowledge’ are habitually conceived and performed. We ask: what does it mean to be a subject and author of politics? How does ‘knowledge’ as we know it already structure and condition relationships of selfhood and otherness, as well as political possibility? What are the ways in which new experiences and subjectivities can be encouraged by reinventing our modes of address and re-inhabiting our daily rituals? On our journeys of critical reflection and poetic remaking we seek to explore and transform sites in EU-Palestinian relations and the modern university, and not least, ourselves and our readers as ‘knowing subjects’ and dreamers of more caring and more invigorating presents and futures to come.



Agenda

16:00 - Reading Workshop (for more information and to receive the readings please click here)

18:00 - Lecture and Discussion

19:30 - Drinks Reception



Abstracts

Catherine Charrett

The duress of performative rituals: EU-Hamas relations post-2006

This intervention attends to the violence of knowing, the pressures of knowing and to the ways in which knowing can be performed otherwise. Catherine Charrett’s discussion interrogates how key events in contemporary Palestinian politics are worked over in the European Union’s discursive and bureaucratic space. The unexpected event of Hamas’s 2006 electoral success was made intelligible through the EU’s desire to perform a knowing of what this political event could be and what Hamas could be. The performative history and presence of coloniality conditioned the possibility for the EU diplomat to hear or see a/the Hamas diplomat. As such, the work enquires how subjects inhabit and ritualistically perform their institutional spaces and discourses. It explores the pressures of this inhabiting and the pressures of this desire to belong to the institution and to oneself, which shape political possibilities. In Catherine’s investigation of EU and Hamas documents and interviews, she maintains a curiosity about the struggle, oscillation and movement between desiring difference but feeling compelled to perform the same. She draws on performance art, aesthetic production and everyday experience to explore how ritualised ways of knowing can be performed otherwise.


Erzsebet Strausz

A compass to compassion: storytelling and subjectivity in the neoliberal university

This intervention weaves stories of stories – of many fragmented reflections, uneven narrative textures and the traces of ongoing work with ‘life material’ and ‘work material’ within the epistemic frames and institutional structures of the modern, marketized university. What started as a series of incidental and accidental attempts to capture what felt like moments of transformation in the classroom – on the bus, during lunch break, in airport transit – became a practice of writing and account-giving that gradually worked everyday routines and encounters into modes of engagement and things to tell. Navigating the (un)shared spaces and parallel temporalities of campus life through the medium and vehicle of writing familiar dramaturgies and colonial/capitalist imbrications of ‘teaching’, ‘learning’ and ‘research’ came to be exposed and unsettled, making space for inhabiting the neoliberal university otherwise. Taking subject formation seriously as lived experience – including the formation of ourselves as knowing subjects – provides a point of access into crafting different relationships to knowledge, self and world in academic settings and beyond. Through a series of short stories the political potential and imaginative capacity of storytelling, self-making and risk-taking will be offered for exploration and as inspiration.

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University of London Insitute in Paris

9-11 rue de Constantine

75007 Paris

France

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