Seminars and events

Seminars and events

Our regular interdisciplinary seminar series acts as a focus for cooperative research for both staff and students and features visiting and Glasgow-based speakers. The seminars and events are open to the public. Watch recordings of talks at the Centre here. A full archive of past events can be found here.

In 2018-19 (Semester One):

All sessions at 5.15-7pm, Seminar Room in Lilybank House, Bute Gdns, University of Glasgow *unless otherwise stated*

30th October: James Foley, "Referendums, Populism and Neoliberal Democracy: Scotland, Brexit and beyond"

This talk looks at the context behind the recent proliferation of referendums, which have become focal points both for ad hoc "populist" coalitions and for liberal, centrist anxieties about populism. It looks at why the ruling political establishment calls or agrees to referendums, why public consent was sought in moves to neoliberal "globalisation", and why referendums have recently proved so disruptive. Referendums pose general questions for socialist strategy and attitudes to democracy, and particular questions about how socialists confront the breakup of states and the question of European (dis)integration. In this context, the talk will explore recent debates about Scottish independence and Brexit.
James Foley is co-author of The Radical Case for Scottish Independence (Pluto Press, 2014) and of the forthcoming What is Scottish Independence For? (Verso, 2019). His PhD is from the University of Edinburgh. He currently works as a researcher on child poverty.

22nd November (*3.15pm*, Rm 311, East Quadrangle): Maia Pal (Oxford Brookes University), "Accumulating jurisdiction from early modern empires to Trump: The social property relations of extraterritorial diplomacy". Joint seminar with the Human Geography Research Group

Extraterritoriality today consists in the application of a state's sovereign rights beyond its jurisdiction and legal territory. Extensions of US sovereignty have been characteristic of US hegemony since the 1980s. Before then, from the 19th to the early 20th centuries, extraterritoriality was a crucial strategy of expansion and ordering led by imperialist powers and contributed to shaping so-called 'semi-sovereign' states. Summarising parts of my current book project, the presentation will go further back to the early modern period, when extraterritoriality was considered as exclusively tied to the emergence of permanent ambassadors and the negotiation of shared privileges between monarchs, princes, merchants and other diplomatic actors. As such, it is understood to play a key role - albeit one not sufficiently debated - in explaining the emergence of modernity, sovereignty and territoriality. Considering the continuous rise and fall of this process as an instrument of international relations, it is important to further question and trace its lineage to the early days of capitalism and state formation. The framework developed emphasises the role of social property relations in changing the social bases of ambassadors, in both contexts of the European transitions to capitalism and their imperial strategies. These processes are identified as jurisdictional accumulation. The talk will focus on the social property relations and class struggles driving jurisdictional accumulation, namely diverging uses of the aristocracy and the role of merchants and consuls in early modern diplomacy. It also asks the question of method and how one is to conduct a Marxist historical sociology of an 'international' legal process.

Maïa Pal is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Oxford Brookes University. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Jurisdictional Accumulation: An Early Modern History of Law, Empires, and Capital (CUP) and on a co-edited volume, The Extraterritoriality of Law: History, Theory, Politics (Routledge).

4th December: Lazaros Karaliotas (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, Glasgow University), 'Geographies of politics and the police: Post-democratization, SYRIZA and the politics of the “Greek debt crisis”'

Geographies of politics and the police: Post-democratization, SYRIZA and the politics of the “Greek debt crisis”
This paper explores the entangled dynamics of de-politicization and re-politicization in the midst of the “Greek debt crisis”. It critically revisits Jacques Rancière’s political writings to argue that, despite common criticisms to the contrary, his oeuvre foregrounds the impurity of democratic politics. Rancière, the paper argues, offers critical heuristic tools in understanding and engaging with the ways in which processes of post-democratization and democratic politics intersect, become entangled, and are mutually constituted. Simultaneously, however, it also challenges Rancière’s almost exclusive emphasis on political subjectification to argue for a plural understanding of the modalities and spatialities of democratic politics. Reading the politics of the “Greek debt crisis” through this lens, the paper unpacks how post-democratization has unfolded through an uneven and contested geography articulated at multiple scales. In parallel, it also maps the diverse and impure modalities of democratic politics in crisis-ridden Greece: from the staging of disagreement through the squares movement in 2011 to the articulation of everyday commoning and solidarity movements to SYRIZA’s meteoric rise to government. In so doing, the paper demonstrates how post-democratization and democratic politics are being shaped in constant relationship and tension.

Lazaros Karaliotas is Lecturer in Urban Geography at the University of Glasgow. He holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Manchester and has been a post-doctoral research fellow at the Universities of Glasgow and Manchester. His work is situated at the intersection of debates around the urban and the political. More specifically, he draws from urban political economy, discourse theory and the political writings of Jacques Rancière to explore the dominant ordering of urban spaces as well as its contestation by urban uprisings and movements. He is the Book Reviews and social media editor for Urban Studies.


11th December, *Adam Smith Building room 916*: Hilary Wainwright (Editor of Red Pepper), 'A New Politics From the Left' Discussant Andrew Cumbers, University of Glasgow

Hilary Wainwright will be discussing her new book A New Politics From the Left published by Polity Press.  Millions passionately desire a viable alternative to austerity and neoliberalism, but they are sceptical of traditional leftist top-down state solutions. In this urgent polemic, Hilary Wainwright argues that this requires a new politics for the left that comes from the bottom up, based on participatory democracy and the everyday knowledge and creativity of each individual. Political leadership should be about facilitation and partnership, not expert domination or paternalistic rule. Wainwright uses lessons from recent movements and experiments to build a radical future vision that will be an inspiration for activists and radicals everywhere.

Hilary Wainwright is an academic and long-standing radical activist who co–edits Red Pepper and is a Fellow of the Transnational Institute. Andrew Cumbers is Professor of Regional Political Economy at the University of Glasgow and author of Reclaiming Public Ownership (London, Zed Books, 2012).


For more information on the series, contact Vassiliki Kolocotroni and Dave Featherstone

 Events archive