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28th June, 2022

Pushing Culture into Politics


Event Details

28th June, 2022
9:30 - 19:30
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
62-64 Eton Avenue
Swiss Cottage

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership present an interdisciplinary symposium on contemporary politics and culture. 

The humanities in UK universities have been the subject of a sustained and growing attack from the government and its outriders in the media for the last five years. Cultural theory has been vilified, and its teachers and researchers dismissed as a ‘woke brigade’ intent upon de-platforming exponents of the legitimate concerns of the moral majority. This Gramscian war of position clearly has the twin goals of shifting ‘common sense’ decisively to the right and either capturing and reconfiguring or generating powerful alternatives to institutions of civil society, including universities.

Prominent liberal figures within such institutions have deprecated this assault on formerly treasured sites of cultural power, but a more radical standpoint would see the current ‘culture wars’ as a particularly violent skirmish in a longer campaign not only against the proto-fascism of authoritarian populists, but also the progressive neoliberalism of extreme centrists. Radical voices therefore find themselves openly targeted both by the Telegraph and the Guardian and – within universities – are frequently excluded from the mainstream political disciplines.

This day-long symposium will offer an opportunity to hear from postgraduate and senior researchers working at the intersection of the humanities and social sciences who are refusing to accept this doubly marginalised position, but are making concerted efforts to push radical cultural projects into the political arena. Coming together as the neoliberal era reaches what may well be a terminal crisis, we will ask what role can research in the humanities play in shaping and propagating radical alternatives?

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