15 October 2008

SEMINAR and WORKSHOP - Articulating Movement: Negotiating a Politics of Migratory Knowledge Production (U of Melbourne, 21 Nov 2008)

Articulating movement: negotiating a politics of migratory knowledge production

An interdisciplinary seminar and workshop featuring Dr Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna), Angela Mitropoulos (Queen Mary College, University of London), Dr Brett Neilson (University of Western Sydney).

November 21 2008
Multifunction Room, Graduate Centre
University of Melbourne

Despite apocalyptic warnings about oil prices, the end of globalisation and the curtailing of migration, both documented and undocumented global migratory movement continues to accelerate into the twenty-first century. With this movement, national and transnational border controls, surveillance technologies, racial profiling and war continue to mark differentiations between ‘cherished life’ and ‘bare life’, bodies to be protected and bodies to be extinguished, bodies that can move and that must be contained.

Following years of “No Borders” interventions and the revival of interest in migration, borders and rights in the academy, debates continue on how to produce knowledges and write about, migration. These debates raise questions that are vital to any research processes around human mobility. How can we theorise migration without reifying migratory movement as emblematic of a generalised “exodus” or “resistance”? What histories intersecting migration, labour, gender, sexuality and colonialism have been forgotten in the desire to enshrine rights and border talk as the new cultural capital of philosophy departments world-wide? Where is the faultline between deploying the so-called “authenticity” of singular experience and the vulgarity of an entirely structural analysis? How can we negotiate a space between theorising the movement of bodies as already determined by war, injustice, ecological disaster, and a naive conception of movement as an autonomous and individual choice, thus reinstalling the sovereign subject of liberalism? Who constitutes the “we” that performs these negotiations, and what are our investments?

To examine these questions, to share tactics and strategies, to find passageways of negotiation, and to consider our own role in the composition and distribution of knowledge, we invite thinkers and practitioners in Melbourne to participate in a moment of “militant research” into the knowledge production of migration. Following the Colectivo Situationes, we define militant research as a process of defining practical knowledges of subaltern counter-power, renouncing the institutional spaces of management of these knowledges, and beginning with what we do not know rather than what we assume.

We invite postgraduate students, researchers and interested members of the public to submit expressions of interest in participating in the workshop by November 5 2008.

To RSVP for the workshop and obtain a reading list, please submit up to 250 words outlining your research interests and the contribution you might make to the discussion. Submit expressions of interest and RSVPs to: a.aizura@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au

11am-1pm. Seminar featuring Sandro Mezzadra, Angela Mitropoulos and Brett Neilson.
1-2.30pm: Light lunch.
2.30-4.30pm. A roundtable discussion for graduate students, independent scholars and researchers.

This event is free of charge.


Sandro Mezzadra is an Associate Professor in History of Political Thought at the Department of Politics, Institutions, History of the University of Bologna. He is currently “eminent research fellow” at the Centre for Cultural Research of the University of Western Sydney, Australia (2006-2008). His research work has focused on the classical modern European political philosophy (especially on Hobbes, Spinoza and Marx), on the history of political, social, and legal sciences in Germany between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth centuries (especially on the constitutional debates in the years of the Weimar Republic) and on several issues at stake in the development of contemporary political theory.

Angela Mitropoulos (Queen Mary, University of London) has written on the intersections of labour, migration and geopolitics, eg, "Precari-us?" (Mute, 2005), "The Materialisation of Race in Multiculture" (DarkMatter, 2008), "Borders 2.0: Future, Tense" (Mute, 2008).

Brett Neilson is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at the University of Western Sydney, where he is also a member of the Centre for Cultural Research. He is interested in the intersections of cultural criticism and political practice. Apart from academic publications, his writings have appeared in venues such as Variant, Mute, Posse, DeriveApprodi, Vacarme, Subtropen, Conflitti globali, makeworlds, Overland, Carta and Framework. He is a contributor to the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto and author of Free Trade in the Bermuda Triangle …and Other Tales of Counterglobalization (University of Minnesota Press, 2004).

Convenors: Anja Kanngieser and Aren Z. Aizura. This event has been convened with the support of the School of Culture and Communications, the Melbourne School of Graduate Research Academic Activity Grants program and the Arts Faculty’s Postgradaute Conference Assistance Scheme.