Dissenting Methods: London Conference on Critical Thought



For the London Conference on Critical Thought (27-28 June).  See http://londoncritical.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/LCCT-2014-Call-for-Papers.pdf for details of all the streams.
Note that abstracts need to go to the LCCT address below by 10 March.

Stream organisers: Naomi Millner, Julian Brigstocke, Sam Kirwan and Lara Montesinos Coleman with The Authority Research Network.

 What does it mean to be engaged in critical research, today?
 This stream explores the contemporary challenges and limits of critical scholarship by examining the methods we use to engage with, apprehend, and respond to the material struggles of today’s world. We seek both to historicise and to materialise critique, locating a practice always already involved in entanglements of power, experience, or capital, whilst also drawing out the connections with critical praxis more broadly defined. We will focus upon the stakes of critique, asking what forms of collaboration and experimentation might prove effective in confronting political, environmental and economic issues of our time. Such collaborations include not only interpersonal and transnational alliances but also engagements with the political agency of objects, technologies, laws, more-than-human actors, and past and future generations.
 There are long histories of defining critique in relation to praxis, and critical theories from Marxism to post-structuralism have attempted to site the production of critical knowledge against a backdrop of colonial, gendered, and race-inflected power relations. From the 1960s, participatory approaches to methodology have also sought to bridge divides between “activist” forms of knowledge, communities of practice, and academic scholarship. But have we escaped the ivory towers of a complex jargon distanced from everyday understandings and concerns? Should we? What place is there for scholarship within the political, environmental and economic struggles that will define human and more-than-human futures?
 Engaging legacies of the past, defining critical futures
 At the heart of this issue is the experience and performance of temporality. Economic and environmental legacies threaten to colonise the future as well as the present. Moreover, emergent critical theory can sometimes forget the longer trajectories of struggle and invention which have shaped contemporary public institutions, as well its own critical concepts. We are interested in drawing together reflections on critical research as it relates to its own pasts, the place of the scholar in confronting precarious futures, intergenerational exchanges and disconnections, “knowledge-by-experience” through space and time, and the importance of thinking politics for specific historical moments.
 We invite papers engaging within contemporary material struggles which emphasise critical methodologiesscholarship and dissent, and/or the place of academia with a particular emphasis on connecting legacies of the past with critical futures. Contributions may be primarily theoretical or empirical but should relate to attempts to devise methodologies and theories that are adequate to the struggles they confront.
 Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers to L.Coleman@sussex.ac.uk with the subject ‘Dissenting methods submission’.

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