On Conferences as Political Spaces

Maria Elena Torres-Quevedo | April 13, 2018
When I began my academic career, as a student on a Masters degree by research, conferences seemed both exciting and daunting. They were exciting because, as an unexperienced researcher, the prospect of being in a space with people who had been doing research for years, exchanging ideas, and being treated seriously as a researcher, was extremely appealing. They were daunting because of the competitive aspect that they represented— an opportunity to share research and thoughts, and an opportunity for those with more knowledge and experience to point out the flaws therein. They would involve inherently awkward situations where you would be forced to make small talk with someone whom, in all likelihood, you shared nothing in common with, else you would stand in the corner of a crowded room, staring at your phone screen. Nevertheless, they were something to be endured because they were a necessity on the curriculum vitae of any aspiring academic, and a space to make contact with people who might be valuable to your professional network.

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Absolutely Uncomfortable

17 October 2016 | Gina Maya.

Like so many other British sitcoms, including The Office, Ab Fab brought out a film this summer, leaving fans of the TV show to wonder: what British fashions or pretensions of the last two decades would the film satirize? What has Britain been of late? Reality TV and X Factor shows? Cookery programmes? Bankers. Economic crashes. Former children’s entertainers exposed for their acts of horror. What would this film seize upon and ridicule?

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Finding My Feminist Anger Over the Stanford Rape Case and Sara Ahmed’s Goldsmiths’ Resignation

June 13, 2016 | Bridget Moynihan

[tw: discussions of rape, sexual assault]

Sara Ahmed’s making-visible of the willful subject’s feminist role in her widely-cited 2010 article “Feminist Killjoys (and Other Willful Subjects)” continues to resonate deeply with intersectional feminist communities, and the significance of reclaiming the feminist killjoy cannot be overestimated. [1] Recently, I have been newly reminded of a very important point that Ahmed makes regarding anger in this same article.

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Defying The Canon: Fanfiction As The New Literature

May 2, 2016 | Anahit Behrooz.

The history of literary fandoms is long and varied. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther is often credited as the novel which produced the first literary fandom in the modern sense. The so-called “Werther Fever” spread over Europe – capturing the imagination of even Napoleon Bonaparte – and inspired hundreds of young men to copy Werther’s fashion, travels, and purportedly even his suicide. A few decades later, Sir Walter Scott’s Waverly novels had a visible impact on Scottish tourism, while Sir Arthur Conan Doyle received hundreds of fan letters and even real crime documents addressed to Sherlock Holmes, asking how he would solve them.

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In Defence of the Dark Arts: Academic Resistance to the Fantastic

November 10, 2015 | Anahit Behrooz.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”– Dr Seuss.

Read any review of the Western canon and the absence of one particular genre becomes immediately obvious. Despite being one of the most dynamic and commercially successful genres in literature, fantasy is rarely taken seriously in the academic world. Iconic works such as C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, or J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are frequently swept aside in favour of ‘serious’ works which are considered more suitable for literary, artistic and socio-political analysis. Why, however, does this tension between fantastic and ‘high-brow’ literature even exist?

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