CSISP Events 2006-2007


For further information about any of the events listed here please contact Natalie Warner, CSISP Administrator
Tel: +44 (0)20 7919 7731 | Email: csisp (

Seminar series

What is Medicine?

Speakers included:

Simon Carter | Open University
Melinda Cooper | University of East Anglia
Allam Jarrar | Medical Relief Committee, Palestine
Brett Neilson | Cultural and Social Analysis, UWS
Darrin Waller | Medical AID for Palestinians

Click link for What_is_Medicine_abstracts_2006-2007 about the speakers

What is medicine? In this seminar series, medicine will be understood, minimally, as an assemblage of temporal and spatial technologies whose modes of practice traverse  biogenetics, communicable disease, diagnostic imaging, standards of medical aid in warfare, medical ethics
in clinical trials and global movement of body tissue and organs. How is medicine curative, preventative and generative in welcome and unwelcome ways? In view of these divergences, how might its substance be the focus for new styles of intervention and evaluation?


Networks and Assemblages: The Rebirth of Things in Latour and DeLanda

Friday 20 April
5.00-7.00pm, Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

With Graham Harman | American University in Cairo

Graham Harman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the American University in Cairo. He supported himself through part of graduate school as a Chicago sportswriter, in which capacity he interviewed figures such as Sammy Sosa and Bobby Knight. He is the author of Tool-Being: Heidegger and the Metaphysics of Objects, Guerilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things, and Heidegger Explained: From Phenomenon to Thing, as well as translator of Gudrun Kramer's History of Palestine.

In recent years, Manuel DeLanda has been one of the more imaginative defenders of realism in philosophy. In his latest book, A New Philosophy of Society (2006), DeLanda portrays a world of alliances and alloys in which things are nonetheless not defined by their interactions with other things. This brings DeLanda into tacit agreement and enmity with Bruno Latour, who also pictures a world of autonomous actors partially linked in networks. Although their models of reality are strikingly similar, and though both authors contribute to a badly needed revival of metaphysics in the continental tradition, they disagree on the key point of how a thing is defined by its relations within the world. This talk aims to clarify the silent dispute between Latour and DeLanda, which deserves to be a central controversy of the emerging object-philosophy.

The Contemporary Prehistory of Capitalism: Debating 'So-Called Primitive Accumulation' Today

A presentation by Sandro Mezzadra (Bologna), with a reply by Massimo De Angelis (UEL)

Tuesday 29 May
2.00-4.00pm | Room 137, Richard Hoggart Building

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bologna and visiting professor at CSISP. His research has focused for many years on borders politics, citizenship and migration. He is involved in various forms of borders and migration related activism in Italy and in Europe. He is the author of Diritto di fuga. Migrazioni, cittadinanza, globalizzazione (Ombre Corte, 2006, 2nd ed.).

Massimo De Angelis is a Reader in economics at the University of East London. He edits The Commoner website and blog: He is the author of The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital (Pluto, 2007).

The past few years have witnessed renewed interest and lively polemics around the Marxist notion of "primitive accumulation". Though it is commonly understood as the violent premise for the expanded reproduction of capital - an original expropriation written, as Marx put it, "in letters of blood and fire" - many now regard primitive accumulation as a continuing process that cannot be relegated to the prehistory of capitalist society, and thus choose to speak of the present as an era of "new enclosures" or "accumulation by dispossession". In his talk, Sandro Mezzadra, visiting professor at CSISP, will return to the origins of this debate in Part VIII of Marx's Capital and reflect on how a rereading of Marx can help us, in conjunction with postcolonial theory, to dislocate a linear interpretation of the temporality of capitalism, recast our concept of exploitation, and rethink political subjectivation, labour and struggle in the heterogeneous space of global capital. Sandro Mezzadra's talk will be followed by a reply from Massimo De Angelis, who in his writings and his editorship of The Commoner has played a crucial role in reviving the debate on primitive accumulation.

'Human Rights for all Minorities' - Rereading Du Bois

A seminar with Sandro Mezzadra, Brian Alleyne & Brett St. Louis | CSISP & Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths

Wednesday 23 May
5pm-7pm | Room 137, Richard Hoggart Building

More about | Department of Sociology
More about | Department of Sociology

Sandro Mezzadra is Associate Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bologna and visiting professor at CSISP. His research has focused for many years on borders politics, citizenship and migration. He is involved in various forms of borders and migration related activism in Italy and in Europe. He is the author of Diritto di fuga. Migrazioni, cittadinanza, globalizzazione (Ombre Corte, 2006, 2nd ed.).

'Human Rights for all Minorities' will focus on three main aspects of Du Bois' work. Firstly, the "spatial" coordinates of Du Bois' thought. They will be analyzed from the point of view of the dialectic between the experience of the loss of a world that characterized African-American and colonial experience of modernity on the one hand, and the necessity to reinvent the world in which Du Bois himself eventually saw the very condition of effectivity of African-American and anti-colonial struggles. Secondly, the concept of race will be discussed and Du Bois' own contribution to the development of "Black Marxism" highlighted (C. Robinson). Especially the analysis presented by Du Bois in "Black Reconstruction" will be critically discussed with reference to recent developments of the debate on race and racism in the US (T. Allen, D. Roediger, the so called "Critical race theory"). Thirdly, the focus will be on the concept of democracy developed by Du Bois, especially looking at the tension between the "universal" dimension of the concept itself and the "particular" struggles developing around the colour line.

One-off events

The Revitalised Whiteheadian Process Philosophy, the Difficulty in Making Some Moral and Political Difference in the World, and Parfit's Imaginary Examples

Monday 16 October
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Seppo Poutanen | Academy of Finland | Visiting Research Fellow, CSISP

Seppo Poutanen is a post-doctoral research fellow of the Academy of Finland. His research interests include social epistemology, social theory, feminist theory and sociology of health and illness.

This paper briefly describes the revitalisation of processualist ideas, sums up what is practically at stake, and sketches a central problem of philosophist practical ethics.  Connecting this problem to Whitehead’s ideas shows how so-called constructive postmodernism shares goals with mainstream practical ethics.  However, the attainment of these goals is both hindered and complicated by the fact that the Whiteheadian, constructive postmodernists should pay more attention to the intuitive feel of their arguments.  To this end a method of imaginary examples is suggested, the potential of which is explored via the work of philosopher Derek Parfit.

The Social Production of Novelty: "Innovation" as an emic view of context

Wednesday 6 December
4.30 - 6.00pm | Room 1204 | Warmington Tower

With Dawn Nafus | Intel

Dawn Nafus is an anthropologist at Intel in Portland, Oregon. She earned her PhD at the University of Cambridge (2003) and has interests in discourses of 'the technological', cultural notions of time, migration, mobility and border spaces, and gender and technology. She has done research in Russia and the UK.

If we know that technology is socially shaped, why does it persistently present itself as having come from nowhere? This paper will interrogate the highly structured and politically configured ways in which novelty is enacted both in technology industries and in the discourse of state actors that covet their presence as economic panacea.  I show how novelty production is entangled in processes of purification (in the Latourian sense more so than the religious), perennially securing a brief contextlessness from which to act. In the world of computer artefacts, to impact society is to be outside it.  The paper will draw on fieldwork conducted in the East of England in 2005, and will conclude with some comment on how this particular way of conceptualising and enacting innovation has inflected technology firms' engagement with social science knowledge practices.


Speculative Realism

Friday 27 April
1.00-7.00pm, Ben Pimlott Lecture Theatre

A one-day conference co-sponsored by COLLAPSE
Chaired by | Sociology, Goldsmiths

Ray Brassier | Middlesex University
Iain Hamilton Grant | UWE (University of West England)
Graham Harman | American University in Cairo
Quentin Meillassoux | Ecole Normale Superieure

Contemporary continental philosophy often prides itself on having overcome the age-old metaphysical battles between realism and dualism. Subject-object dualism has supposedly been destroyed by the critique of representation and supplanted by a fundamental correlation between thought and world. This workshop will bring together four philosophers whose work questions some of the basic tenets of this continental orthodoxy. Speculative realism is not a doctrine but the umbrella term for a variety of research programmes committed to upholding the autonomy of reality against the depredations of anthropocentrism, whether in the name of transcendental physicalism, object-oriented philosophy, or abstract materialism.

Oil and Politics

Thursday 10 - Friday 11 May
SOAS, Vernon Square Campus, Pentonville Road, London
With the support of the British Academy

Organised by CSISP | Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths | School of Geography, Oxford University | Department of Development Studies, SOAS

Plenary speakers:
Timothy Mitchell | Politics, New York University
MIchael Watts | Institute of International Studies, Berkeley

Andrew Barry | Geography, Oxford University
Gavin Bridge | Environment and Development, Manchester
George Frynas | Middlesex University Business School
James Marriott | Platform, London
Martin Skalsky | Film-maker, Czech Republic
Alberto Toscano | Sociology, Goldsmiths
Alex Vines | Chatham House, London
Gisa Weszkalnys | Geography, Oxford University

Oil is one of the most crucial and controversial substances today. This conference opens up the field to film-makers and artists, social anthropologists, human geographers, and social and cultural theorists in order to connect oil to a wide set of concerns, to make links across seemingly disparate issues, and to begin to develop and explore a variety of methods and methodologies suitable for the investigation of oil.

Topics included:

  • Governing Oil in West Africa
  • The Business of Oil
  • Documenting the Politics of Oil
  • Oil and the New Imperialism