Social Science and Cultural Studies Speakers Series 2012-2013

1:37 PM

The Department of 
Social Science and Cultural Studies
Speakers Series 


1. Nathan Zhang, October 3rd at 5:30 pm (North Hall 111)
Founder of "Brandnu" - Beijing, China
Talk: "Fashion as Sustainable Social Practice"
Co-sponsored with Fashion Department

2. Jacqueline Fewkes, Monday October 8th at 12:30pm (Library Alumni Reading Room)
Associate Professor of Anthropology
Florida Atlantic University
Title: Being Muslim at the Crossroads of Asia: Exploring the Spaces of Islamic
Community in Ladakh (India) and the Maldives
Alumni Reading Room

Abstract: The region of Ladakh and the nation of the Maldives share very little
at first glance-their mountainous Himalayan and Indian Ocean island geographies are
such extreme opposites that they seem to poised to define disparate cultural worlds.
Yet there are significant shared interests between the two sites; in both places
Muslims struggle to define a notion of religious community in relation to geography,
and find their task complicated by regional histories of participation in now
defunct transnational Asian trade routes. In this talk I will discuss some of my
research in these two regions, and draw upon case studies that highlight the role of
the local in Muslim experiences negotiating the boundaries of Islamic community.
Through a discussion of Muslim festival participation in Ladakh and women's mosque
sites in the Maldives, I am able to consider how "being Muslim" as a community is
constituted through spatial practices informed by national and local concepts of
place. Thinking about these local Muslim spatial relations as part of what
constitutes the global ummah allows us to consider, and yet avoid essentializing
Muslim experiences in relation to, grand narratives of Islam.

Bio: Dr. Fewkes' research interests are in the anthropological study of political culture, economic interactions, globalization and Islamic communities worldwide. Her most recent research focused on historical trade correspondence in the ethnographic context of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India.

3. Silvia Federici, Tuesday October 23rd at 6pm (Library Alumni Reading Room)
Professor Emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University
Teacher, Activist, and Autonomist Feminist Philosopher

Title:  "Witch-hunting past and present, in the global political economy”


Bio: Silvia Federici is a long time feminist activist, teacher and writer.

In 1972s she was a co-founder of the International Feminist Collective, the organization that launched the international campaign for wages for housework in the United States and Internationally. In 1990 she was a co-founder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa and from 1991 to 2003 she was one of the editors of the CAFA newsletter. In 1995 she helped found the Radical Philosophy Association Anti-Death Penalty Project.

She has taught at the University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria) and she is now Emerita Professor at Hofstra University (Hempstead, New York).

Federici has authored many essays on feminist theory, women’s history, political philosophy and education. Her published books include: “Revolution at Point Zero. Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle;” Caliban and the Witch. Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation"; “Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization and its Others” (editor); “Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities" (co-editor).

4. Franco Berardi Bifo, Wednesday, November 14th at 5pm (Engineering Building, Room 307)

Title: Uprising, Poetry, and Finance

Abstract: The relation between language and financial power, and the process of de-referencialization of semiotic signs in the poetry of the XIX and XXth Century (from Symbolism to Futurism to Ermetism and so on). But also the relation between the social revolt against financial domination and the place of poetry as social activation of the cognitarian body.

Bio: Franco Berardi Bifo is a writer, theorist and political activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso (1975–81) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy (1976–78). Involved in the political movement of Autonomia in Italy during the 1970s, he fled to Paris, where he worked with Félix Guattari in the field of schizoanalysis. Bifo published the books After the future (2011), The Soul at Work (2010), Felix (2001), Cibernauti (1994), Mutazione e Cyberpunk (1993) and contributed to the magazines Semiotext(e), Chimères, Metropoli, and Musica 80. He is currently teaching at the European School for Social Imagination, in San Marino.

4. Jeff Surovell-Tuesday, November 27th at 5pm (Library Alumni Reading Room)
Topic: USSR and post-Soviet Russia, including domestic politics and foreign policy.

Spring Speakers

1. Eva Illouz - (Last Week in January)
President of Bezalel School of Arts and Design
Topic-The relationship between capitalism and emotional life.
2. Nona Shepphard (Date to be determined)
Co-sponsored with Humanities Department
Associate Director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

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