Brecht as Educator

I am delighted to announce that our very own Matt Charles will be speaking at next week’s seminar on Bertolt Brecht. Full details can be found below:

Wednesday 20th March, 4pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Matthew Charles (University of Westminster)
Brecht as Educator: Didacticism as Method’

Abstract: In Brecht and Method, Fredric Jameson makes a case for the contemporary usefulness of a specifically Brechtian modernism, one that unfolds from the sphere of art into that of education. This paper expands on this claim from the perspective of a recent pedagogical turn in theory, proposing that one way to understand this usefulness is – in the spirit of Nietzsche’s essay on ‘Schopenhauer as Educator’ – through an analysis of the influence of the “Brecht circle” in the development of the philosophy of Walter Benjamin. It will argue that Brecht reconnects Benjamin’s work back to an earlier politics of Youth, one immersed in the pedagogical writings of Nietzsche, but this immersion demands a political confrontation with and inversion of Nietzsche’s critique of mass education.

Please email me (daleych@westminster.ac.uk) if you would like to attend.

Best wishes,
Chris.

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Le Corbusier and the Challenge of a Pascalian Technocracy

Next week will see Professor Allan Stoekl speak about Le Corbusier. It is set to be a really fascinating talk and full details can be found below:

Wednesday 6th March, 4pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Allan Stoekl (Visiting Professor, Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, University of Westminster)
Le Corbusier and the Challenge of a Pascalian Technocracy

All welcome, please email me (daleych@westminster.ac.uk) to reserve a place.

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British Male-authored Abortion Narratives

I’m delighted to welcome Fran Bigman from the University of Cambridge to next week’s seminar where she will discuss male-authored abortion narratives. Full details can be found below:

Wednesday 20th February, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Fran Bigman (University of Cambridge)
A Bit of Himself: British Male-authored Abortion Narratives from Waste (1907) to Alfie (1966)

All welcome, please email me (daleych@westminster.ac.uk) to reserve a place.

Best wishes,
Chris.

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Room Change for Tomorrow’s Seminar

Due to high demand, tomorrow’s seminar ‘Legitimacy and Globalised Law in Doctor Who‘ has now been moved to the Little Titchfield Street building, room 2.05c.

All welcome, but please email me (daleych@westminster.ac.uk) if you would like to attend.

All the best,

Chris.

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Programme for Spring Seminars

I’m delighted to announce the programme for this semester’s research seminars. Full details can be found below:

Wednesday 6th February, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Joint seminar with Westminster School of Law
Danny Nicol (Westminster School of Law)
Legitimacy and Globalised Law in Doctor Who

Wednesday 20th February, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Fran Bigman (University of Cambridge)
A Bit of Himself: British Male-authored Abortion Narratives from Waste (1907) to Alfie (1966)

Wednesday 6th March, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Allan Stoekl (Visiting Professor at the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, University of Westminster)
Le Corbusier and the Challenge of a Pascalian Technocracy
 
Wednesday 20th March, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Matthew Charles (University of Westminster)
Brecht as Educator

Please email me (cr.daley@yahoo.co.uk) if you would like to attend any of the events.

Chris.

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Overloaded Forms and the Didactic Function

Our final seminar of 2012 will see Martin Eve from the University of Sussex talk about Pynchon, Bolano and the didactic functions of their fiction. It will no doubt be a fascinating talk and a full abstract is provided below:

Wednesday 28th November, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106
Martin Eve (University of Sussex)
‘Opening children’s eyes’: Overloaded Forms and the Didactic Function

Abstract: Since Pynchon, the postmodern encyclopaedic form has been recognised as possessing an ethical core. Indeed, Gravity’s Rainbow was only briefly treated solely as a structure of interminable play and quickly found its place, especially in light of Pynchon’s other novels, as a politicised work focusing on the military-industrial complex and contemporary America. It can equally be asserted, though, that the “ethical turn” in literary studies is sited at a specific, historicized moment and is not without its own problems: when we say “ethical”, rather than “moralising”, are we, in fact, merely refusing to recognise the relativity and transitivity of our own moral strictures?

To begin to formulate a less innocent, more experienced, new terminology for this mode, this paper will look at two overloaded works, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Through an analysis of these immense, torrential novels, I will unearth their inherent didactic function, examine the way in which they conscript our intellectual capital to pre-dispose us towards their ethics and draw out the place of teaching and learning, through the representation of the university and academia, in these texts. It seems to me that the ethical stances of both these texts are important, compassionate and fundamentally correct. This could be, however, because I have been pre-ensnared by their crypto-didactic mode.

All welcome, please email me (cr.daley@yahoo.co.uk) if you would like to attend.

All the best,
Chris.

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Englishness Elsewhere

Next week’s seminar will see the second half of our excellent Birkbeck duo as Bianca Leggett will be talking about the contemporary English travel novel. Full details below:

Wednesday 14th November, 4.00pm – 5.15pm
Well Street, room 106
Bianca Leggett (Bikbeck College, University of London)
Englishness Elsewhere: Exploring Parochialism in the Contemporary English Travel Novel

Abstract: Ever since the days of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, English fiction has repeatedly portrayed travelling protagonists who feel possessed by the need to be English elsewhere, that is, to travel.

Terry Eagleton has suggested that the ‘striking number of contemporary novels written in England but set in some non-English locale suggests ‘a sense that from the viewpoint of “creative” writing there is something peculiarly unpropitious about the typical social experience of an industrially declining, culturally parochial, post-imperial nation.’

This paper traces the historical and cultural origins of the myth of the English as a nation that both loves travel and yet remains staunchly parochial, suggesting that contemporary Crusoe-stories are part of how the English have attempted to understand their role in a post-war postcolonial world. I consider how this myth is revisited and revised in three stories of Englishmen in Continental Europe, Ian McEwan’s The Innocent (1990), Julian Barnes’s Metroland (1980) and Geoff Dyer’s Paris Trance (1998). While each novel comments on historically distinct moments in English attitudes to European identity, their similarities suggest a shared desire to critique English insularity.

Finally I ask whether the portrait of Englishness which finally emerges is more ambivalent than it first appears, suggesting that its admonitory messages are tempered by elements of postcolonial melancholia and nostalgia.

All welcome, please email me (cr.daley@yahoo.co.uk) if you would like to attend.

Best wishes,
Chris.

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