Past events


Friday, 28th October 2022, 11.00-12.30 Seminar Room, Lilybank House, Bute Gardens

Dr Wilson Sherwin, Neil Davidson Fellow (University of Glasgow): ‘Beyoncé Says, “Quit Your Job”: Feminism, work, and antiwork freedom dreams’ (watch a recording of the talk here)

Recent years have brought a remarkable sea change in how people relate to their jobs. The Great Resignation, “quiet quitting”, and China’s “Tang ping” are just a few examples of nascent antiwork politics. However exciting these trends may be, they remain largely individual, atomized, and far from the bold, collective projects that define a genuine social movement. Has an antiwork movement ever existed? What might that even look like? Returning to the Welfare Rights Movement (United States, 1960s- 70s) this talk examines a remarkable historic example of militant and sustained collective mobilization waged by poor Black women for the right to live rich and meaningful lives, freed from the compulsions and cudgels of employment.

Wilson Sherwin has worked as an electrician, a nanny, a translator, and a documentary film producer. She is currently a sociologist who writes and teaches about social movements, political economy, and public policy. 

Tuesday, 15th November 2022, 17.15-19.00, Room 407 Boyd Orr Lecture Theatre A. 

Professor John Holloway (Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico), ‘Hope in Hopeless Times’ (watch a recording of the talk here)

Hope lies in our richness, in the joy of our collective creativity. But that richness exists in the peculiar form of money. The fact that we relate to on another through money causes tremendous social pain and destruction and is dragging us through pandemics and war towards extinction. Richness against money: this battle will decide the future of humanity. If we cannot emancipate richness from money-capital-profit, there is probably no hope. Money seems invincible but the constant expansion of debt shows that its rule is fragile. The fictitious expansion of money through debt is driven by fear, fear of us, fear of the rabble. Money contains, but richness overflows. In this final part of his ground-breaking trilogy, published by Pluto Press, John Holloway expertly fuses anti-capitalism and anti-identitarianism, and brings hope into the critique of political economy and revolutionary theory, challenging us to find hope within ourselves and channel it into a dignified, revolutionary rage.

John Holloway has published widely on Marxist theory, on the Zapatista movement and on the new forms of anti-capitalist struggle. His book Change the World without Taking Power has been translated into eleven languages and has stirred an international debate, and Crack Capitalism is a renowned classic. He is currently Professor of Sociology in the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Mexico. 

Tuesday 6th December 2022, 17.15-19.00 709B, Boyd Orr Building.

Professor Graeme MacDonald (University of Warwick), ‘The Perpetual Problem: Renewable Energy Imaginaries’ (watch a recording of the talk here - NB: starts at 03:44)

An affirmative vision of renewable energy as the solution to the crisis of global heating is an underpinning feature of multiple climate and energy imaginaries. These emanate from across the political spectrum. In a wide range of media and discourse—in politics, industry, art, activism—the turbine is potential; the photovoltaic exudes promise. ‘Clean power’ mobilises progressive futures for left and right. Its infrastructures symbolise hope, represent solutions, constitute just transition and promise societal transformation. In assorted cultural genres a broadly similar association of renewables with social regeneration and techno-social fix is evident in literary, cinematic and televisual narrative, in art and design, and videogame worlds.

What remains less marked in this generally utopian framing is that this renewable landscape of hope, recovery and repair is often freighted with or confronted by the event and figure of the post/apocalypse. This configures in multiple and often politically conflicting ways, pressed into service by capital (oil company, marketing agency, financial services), political party and fictive representation. All create competing cases for a particular vision of the world with and after fossil fuels. But what is the business of renewables in the post-apocalypse? To try to begin answering this question, this talk will track the aesthetic signatures of the post-oil ‘renewable imaginary’ in a range of speculative literary and cultural productions of the 21st century. What meanings the left can derive from such visions of an unjust energy transition and its impasses in an era of climate anxiety and neo-extractivism will hopefully prove food for discussion.

Graeme Macdonald is Professor in the Dept. of English & Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick. He has published widely on Oil Cultures and is a member of the Petrocultures Research Group. Recent work includes the book Solarities: Seeking Energy Justice, collectively written with the After Oil School and a volume of Science Fiction Studies on "Food Futures, edited with Nora Castle. He is editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Energy Humanities, published next year by Routledge. He is a member of the Warwick Research Collective (WreC) who co-authored Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature (2015). He was most recently CI on the Climaginaries Research Project, funded by FORMAS and on the RSE Low Carbon Scotland project.


Wednesday 10 March 2021, 5-7pm: The Writings and Legacy of Robin Murray: Simon Murray in conversation with Michael Rustin, Hilary Wainwright and John Restakis

The Selected Writings of Robin Murray (1940-2017), edited by Michael Rustin, was published late in 2020 and this seminar celebrates both the man and his radical thinking and practice through these writings and beyond. Robin was a Socialist economist concerned with social relations of production and consumption and how these habitually have been neglected by conventional economics. Unusually, he was both theorist and practitioner, a rigorous but poetic thinker, an endlessly curious, reflective and inventive activist. Robin’s working life of almost 50 years spanned a multitude of activities including: consultant/researcher at Sussex University’s Institute of Development Studies, Chief Economic Advisor to the Greater London Council (GLC) under Ken Livingston, teacher at Dartington’s Schumacher college, working with cooperatives, waste recycling, fair trade, municipal enterprise, shop steward combine committees, ethical consumption and much else. This seminar brings together four of Robin's close friends and collaborators to discuss some key dimensions of his thinking and practice.

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 5-7pm: A Seminar on the Economy and the Impending Financial Crisis, led by Hillel Ticktin and Christine Cooper 

Hillel Ticktin speaks on the political and economic stagnation of US globalism and Christine Cooper concentrates on tax and crony capitalism. View the recording here.

 Hillel Ticktin is Professor Emeritus of Marxist Studies at the University of Glasgow, and the founding editor of Critique.

Christine Cooper is Chair of Accounting and Director of Research at the University of Edinburgh.

Friday 29 January 2021, 3-5pm: The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Reshaping of Discussions of Race, Class and Gender: A Seminar with Peter Hudis 

The explosion of mass protests throughout the U.S. in 2020 in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breoanna Taylor and many others has brought previously marginalized campaigns, such as demands for defunding police and prison abolition, to the forefront of public discussion and debate. This presentation will explore how these ongoing developments provide a critical vantage point for envisioning alternatives to racialized capitalism that go beyond the politics of recognition and proposals for economic redistribution.

Peter Hudis is a Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at Oakton Community College and author of Marx’s Concept of the Alternative to Capitalism and Frantz Fanon: Philosopher of the Barricades. He co-edited The Power of Negativity: Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx, by Raya Dunayevskaya and The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, as well as The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg. He is General Editor of The Complete Works of Luxemburg and has edited Volume 1 and co-edited Volumes 2, 3, and 4 of the series. 

You can watch the recording here.


4 December 2020 (3-6pm): ‘Internationalism, Nationalism, Imperialism: A Symposium on Rosa Luxemburg’, co-organized by Henry R. Holland, a translator and editorial board member for The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg (Verso). Watch the recording of the session


Brendan McGeever, ‘Race, Class and Revolution: Rosa Luxemburg's Confrontations With Antisemitism’  (Brendan McGeever is Lecturer in Sociology at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of Antisemitism and the Russian Revolution, published by Cambridge University Press (2019))

Rory Scothorne, ‘Devolution Betrayed?: Luxemburg, Gramsci and the Scottish Question’(Rory Scothorne is completing a PhD at the University of Edinburgh on the relationship between the radical left and Scottish nationalism. He has written about contemporary Scottish and British politics for the London Review of BooksThe Guardian, the New Statesman and Tribune)

Rida Vaquas, ‘The National Question and the Working Class Party: Rosa Luxemburg’s Perspective’  (Rida Vaquas is a socialist activist and an MPhil student at the University of Cambridge. She mainly writes about the Second International and the histories of German socialism and communism. She is on the editorial board of Prometheus Journal and Luxemburg's Collected Works, and also contributes translations to Cosmonaut

20 November 2020 (2-4pm): ‘The Clamour of Nationalism: A Discussion with Sivamohan Valluvan’.  Watch the recording of the session here

23 October 2020 (2-4pm): ‘Insurgent Empire: A Discussion with Priyamvada Gopal’.  (For the recording, please contact Vassiliki Kolocotroni


16 January 2019 Hilary Wainwright (Editor of Red Pepper), ‘A New Politics from the Left’

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.

22 January 2019 Book launch: Rent and its Discontents: A Century of Housing Struggle, ed. Neil Gray, Rowman and Littlefield, 2018

Far from being a mere secondary contradiction behind struggles in the workplace, housing is now increasingly central to most national political economies and a primary site of political contestation. Housing costs form the most onerous reproductive burden on working lives; they reify private property regimes, undermine the wage, exemplify and prop up a financialised and debt-laden economy, demand that more time is consumed by work and reproduce a parasitic rentier class. Yet, the collective housing organisation that has so often mitigated these issues has typically remained hidden from history. Challenging this lacuna, contributors to Rent and its Discontents: A Century of Housing Struggle probe the hidden continuum of housing contestation that first forced rent control and the formation of public housing in Glasgow’s 1915 rent strikes; the numerous housing movements that retained those gains; and the theory and practice of contemporary housing contestation across Britain and Ireland. The authors illustrate the relevance and the necessity of theorising housing and urbanisation as crucial political initiatives, exploring the housing question (past and present), the contingent nature of housing demands (spatially and temporally), the role of gender and social reproduction, defensive and offensive urban commoning and demands for new democratic forms of public housing and eco-social justice. 

5 February 2019 Matthew Waites (University of Glasgow): ‘The Political Sociology of Commonwealth Civil Society: A ‘Gramsci-sensitised’ Critical Analysis of the London Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting as a Context for LGBTI Human Rights Claims’ (co-organised by the Glasgow Human Rights Network)

A critical sociology of Commonwealth ‘civil society’ is offered through analysis of the London Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of April 2018, in the conjuncture of Brexit Britain—leading to political conclusions.  A distinctive ‘Gramsci-sensitised’ methodological framework is used, drawing from the theoretical insights of Peter Thomas in The Gramscian Moment (Brill, 2009) to problematise ‘civil society’, while also referring to Foucault’s governmentality. The methodology investigates ‘civil society’ overall while focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights claims, by groups including The Commonwealth Equality Network.  Four contexts are analysed: The Commonwealth People’s Forum; social media (Twitter); UK and international newspaper media; and ‘London Commonwealth civil society’ outside formal forums.  The analysis juxtaposes Commonwealth ‘civil society’ with ‘the political’ from Mouffe and Honig (and originally Arendt), to propose a move from staged conversations to substantial dialogues between opposing voices, including some homophobic voices. This is how Commonwealth ‘civil society’ and LGBTI movements can respond to right-wing populisms in what Mishra calls the Age of Anger.   

5 March 2019 David Austin (John Abbott College, Montreal): ‘The Poetics of Politics and Freedom’

What is the relationship between poetry, artistic creativity and social change. Is socialism a viable alternative to the current global political and economic climate? Drawing on the poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson and the poetic-political traditions that have shaped him, this talk will explore the themes of political consciousness and social transformation in relation to poetic-artistic expression.

6 March 2019 Aziz Choudry (McGill University) ‘Pedagogies of repression: Activists vs the surveillance state’

Drawing from a new edited collection, with contributions from/on Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Canada, South Africa and the US, this talk explores what experiences of state surveillance, political policing, and the criminalisation of activism can tell us about the nature of democracy in liberal democracies – and state power.  What can activists learn from each other across generations, communities, struggles and countries about state security practices, about the interests that they protect, and from the resistance of activists and movements being spied upon?

30 April 2019 Corey Gibson (University of Glasgow) ‘Hamish Henderson and Antonio Gramsci: Or, the Difference between “Hey Jimmy” and Hegemony’

In 1948, Hamish Henderson, who later became a leading light in the Scottish folk revival, set out to translate Gramsci’s Lettere dal Carcere (Einaudi, 1947). His effort is notable as the first English translation of the Sardinian Marxist, though it went unpublished for over twenty years. A generation later, when Gramsci’s stock was high among academics and the radical commentariat of the UK, the political philosopher was played by John Sessions in a docu-drama subtitled Everything that Concerns People. Made for Channel Four television by Glasgow filmmakers, it saw Gramsci pacing the prison-yard, deep in conversation on the finer points of dialectical materialism with his fellow political prisoners, comrades whose accents belonged, unmistakably, to the industrial west of Scotland. When Henderson did publish his translation as a single volume, he wrote of the potency of Gramsci’s life-story and his ideas in contemporary Scotland ravaged by Thatcher’s economic restructuring. He pointed to a painting by Ken Currie depicting the Clydeside autodidact reading Gramsci by night, and he reflected at length on affinities between the Sardinian in Italy and the Scot in the UK. This paper seeks first, to retrace Gramsci’s undocumented influence in Scottish culture, via Henderson’s adoption of his notions of folklore and their enactment through the popular folk revival. Second, this paper considers why Gramsci might have been well served by this enactment, embracing, as it did, the contradictions that arise between theory and practice in Gramsci’s corpus. Finally, this paper will consider how Gramsci might be helpful in understanding the tensions between strains of romantic nationalism and socialist internationalism in Scottish political discourse since Henderson. 

5-7 September 2019: Uneven Development for the 21st Century: An International Conference. More information

1 October 2019 (5.15pm, 118 Hetherington Building)

Diarmaid Kelliher (University of Glasgow): ‘The Spatial Politics of the Picket Line, 1966-1988’

From the late 1960s through the 1980s, high strike levels in Britain placed the picket line at the centre of industrial and political conflict. Flying pickets, mass pickets, and secondary pickets became prominent tactics as sections of the labour movement took an increasingly confrontational approach to protecting living standards. This paper spans the period from the emergence of the term ‘flying pickets’ during strikes in the British coalfields in the 1960s, to the National Union of Seamen dispute with P&O ferries in the late 1980s, when restrictions against secondary picketing that had developed in the intervening decades nearly destroyed the union. It considers the particular role the boundary of the picket line played in the production and contestation of solidarity in this period.  From Ravenscraig to Grunwick, the ‘mass picket’ gained significant attention. The mass picket often relied on solidarity from outside the immediate dispute, and in some cases played a unique role as a space of encounter between a diverse range of activists. Focusing exclusively on such spectacular manifestations of picketing, however, can be misleading. Often picket lines were little more than a couple of strikers and a sign. This paper will discuss how the symbolic power of the picket, the discipline of trade union organisation, and the act of persuasion could produce impressive small scale acts of solidarity. Yet the trade union principle that workers should ‘never cross a picket line’ was frequently transgressed. The paper will also think about the relationship between those workers who crossed picket lines and broader attempts by the British state to reduce the effectiveness of picketing. It will therefore argue that thinking about the history of the picket lines offers novel insights into how opposing political projects in the 1970s and 1980s manifested in a struggle over space. 

Diarmaid Kelliher is an Urban Studies Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of Glasgow. He is currently working on a book for Routledge titled ‘Making cultures of solidarity: London and the 1984-5 miners’ strike’, and researching picket lines in 1970s and 1980s Britain.

12 November 2019 (5.15pm, 118 Hetherington Building) Mae A. Miller (CUNY Graduate Center): ‘Black Feminist Listening and the Archive of the Atlantic’

In this talk, I argue for the importance of Black feminist listening as archival methodology, spatial politics, and emancipatory praxis. Drawing from Black geographies, Black feminism, and cultural studies, I revisit canonical texts and sites of Black Atlantic political thought and vernacular culture. I analyze scenes from The Interesting Narrative of the Live of Olaudah Equiano and Claude McKay’s novels Banjo: A Story Without a Plot and Home to Harlem in order to shed new light the relational racial-sexual currents of the ship and the seaport. Black feminist listening attends to the “background noise” that shapes and mediates these social spaces—the supporting characters, fleeting moments of encounter and introspection, and passing references to the sounds of seaports. Thinking relationally about the multiple routes and registers of the Atlantic archive brings into critical focus new forms of what Ruth Wilson Gilmore refers to as “place-making as a practice of freedom,” potential for political resonances and solidarities, and confluences of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean littorals.

Mae Miller is a doctoral student in the Geography Department at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Previously, Miller has worked as a lecturer in the department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Vassar College in New York state and at the Museum of the City of New York. From 2017-2019, she served as the student representative for the Black Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers.

Inaugural Socialist Theory and Movements Annual Lecture:

6 December 2019, 3-5pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Boyd Orr Building, University of Glasgow

Sheila Rowbotham: ‘Interactions between left ideas of participatory democracy  and  workers’ control  in the  Women’s  Liberation  Movement from  the  late 1960s through  the  70s’

These links which were extremely  important  at  the  time  have  been obscured  by  the  residual  weight  of  the  reaction  that  followed from  1979. The result was to be a lacuna which  makes it  difficult  to  connect  with  their significance  for  the  present. In my lecture I will outline some of the ways I observed these  manifesting  themselves, stressing the enriching  impact  as  well as the  problems that  resulted in  trying to implement  them in  practice. I hope in doing so to stimulate others to follow  through some  of  these  lost threads in deeper  and  more  specific  detail. We need to connect with and  carry  our  lost theoretical  and  experiential  assets into  a dynamic  renewal of  a democratic  and   personally fulfilling ‘socialism’.

Sheila Rowbotham is a pivotal figure at the intersection of feminism, history and socialist theory and movements. A key activist in the emergence of the women’s liberation movement in Britain, she was a pioneer in thinking through the relations between histories from below and feminist approaches to history. Among her key contributions from this period are Women, Resistance and Revolution; Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World; and Hidden from History. Her recent books include Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love (Verso, 2008), Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century (Verso, 2010) and Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States (Verso, 2016). She is an Honorary Fellow of Manchester University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


May 8th, 2018, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room:

Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl (Department of Politics and International Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies,  University of London):

‘Understanding Patriotism in Contemporary Egypt: Evidence from the 1970s Student Movement?’
May 15th, 2018, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room:

Dr Shirin Hirsch (School of Social, Historical and Political Studies, University of Wolverhampton):

‘Bad blood: A history of racism, resistance and Enoch Powell in Wolverhampton’
May 22nd, 2018, 2-5,  Room 311 in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences:
An afternoon event co-corganised with Geography on the Histories and Legacies of Solidarites with the Anti-Apartheid Struggle. This will be in two parts first a reflection from activists who were involved In these solidarities including David Kenvyn, who was Chair of the London Committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1980s and other speakers tbc. The second part of the event will be a discussion and launch for a new book by Gavin Brown and Helen Yaffe Youth Activism and Solidarity: The Non-Stop Picket against Apartheid. The authors will introduce the book and Diarmaid Kelliher and Kye Askins will offer reflections.  

Speakers include: Gavin Brown,Geography, University of Leicester, Helen Yaffe, Economic and Social History, University of Glasgow, Kye Askins and Diarmaid Kelliher, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow.

30th October 2018 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.
 22nd November 2018 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.

4th December 2018: 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.


Tuesday 31 January 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Katrina Navickas (University of Hertfordshire): ‘A return to materialism? Multi-scalar and new material approaches to the history of protest in Britain’

Labour and social historians have moved away from class and material structure as defining frameworks of their discipline, for various reasons, including a closer attention to intersectional causes of oppression and resistance. I suggest also that historians more generally have moved far away from most theoretical approaches to understanding social change and popular movements. This talk is an exploratory survey of theories of social movements, and argues that historians should return to some of the models within labour geography in particular. It reflects on these theories in the light of my recent empirical researchon the spaces of protest in late 18th and early 19th century Britain.

Katrina Navickas is Reader in History at the University of Hertforshire, director of the Centre for Regional and Local History Research, and member of the Digital History Research Centre. Her research examines popular politics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with a particular focus on the spaces and places of protest in northern England. Her most recent monograph, Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848 (Manchester University Press, 2015), examines how movements for democracy and workers’ rights fought with local and national government over the right to protest in public spaces. Her first book was Loyalism and Radicalism in Lancashire, 1798-1815 (OUP, 2009). Katrina has published widely on such topics as the Luddites, Swing rioters, political prisoners, political clothing, and protesters’ use of landscape in the early 19th century. She has worked with the Stevenage Irish Network and will be working with community groups in Milton Keynes. She is currently undertaking research on the history of post-war Croydon.

Monday 27 February 2017, 7.30pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

John Rees (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Laura Stewart (University of York): ‘Scottish Covenanters, English Levellers, and “Popular” Revolutions in mid-17thC Britain’

John Rees is author of The Leveller Revolution: Radical Political Organisation in England 1640-1650. He is currently editing a new collection of essays on the life of Leveller leader John Lilburne. His previous books include The Algebra of Revolution, the co-authored A Peoples' History of London, and Timelines, a political history of the modern world. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.

Laura Stewart is Lecturer in early modern British history at the University of York. After completing her PhD in 2003, Laura won a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and took up a position at Birkbeck, University of London, where she taught for ten years. She is the author of two books, Urban Politics and the British Civil Wars: Edinburgh, 1617-53 (Brill, 2006) and Rethinking the Scottish Revolution: Covenanted Scotland, 1637-51 (Oxford UP, 2016), plus many articles on early modern Scottish history and Anglo-Scottish relations. In collaboration with Dr Janay Nugent, Lethbridge, Canada, Laura is currently writing a new textbook on early modern Scotland for Edinburgh UP.

Wednesday 8 March 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

John Narayan (University of Warwick): ‘Coloured Cosmopolitanism: The Global Politics of Black British Activism’

John Narayan is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Warwick. His research interests centre on globalisation and its relationship to social theory and democratic politics. John's current research project aims to further post-colonial critiques of Sociology’s turn to cosmopolitanism, which look to rearticulate the idea of cosmopolitanism away from perceived elitism and Euro-centrism. He hopes to achieve this through a recovery of the history of the British Black Power movement and its form of Black Activism. Although Black Power is synonymous with the US, Britain also possessed its own distinctive form of Black Power movement. Whilst inspired and informed by its US counterpart, it was also rooted in African, Caribbean and Asian anti-colonial politics, New Commonwealth immigration and the onset of decolonization. Uniting African, Caribbean and Asian immigrants, such ‘Black British activism’ operated through a diverse set of activists and groups, who created a ‘Black’ political identity and formed community based responses to racism and democratic injustice. The project aims to highlight how the British Black Power movement and its forms of Black British activism provide a rich history of thought and political practice that could help to reimagine and reshape cosmopolitanism for the 21st Century.

Tuesday 21 March 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Christopher Prendergast (University of Cambridge): ‘Fourier and the Utopian Text’

Christopher Prendergast specializes in French literature and cultural history, principally of the 19th and 20th centuries. Publications include Signs of the Times: Introductory Readings in Semiotics (co-editor with Stephen Heath and Colin McCabe) 1971; Balzac: Fiction and Melodrama, 1978; The Order of Mimesis, 1986; Paris-Spectacle: Images de Paris dans la peinture au Musée d'Orsay,1987; Nineteenth-Century French Poetry. Introductions to Close Reading (editor and contributor), 1990; Writing the City. Paris and the Nineteenth Century, 1992; An Anthology of World Literature (Co-editor), 1994; Cultural Materialism. Essays on Raymond Williams (editor and contributor), 1995; The Spectacles of Realism: Gender, Body, Genre (co-editor and contributor), 1995; Napoleon and History Painting, 1997; The Triangle of Representation, 2000; Debating World Literature (editor and contributor), 2004; For the People, By the People? Eugene Sue's 'Les Mystères de Paris', 2004; The Classic: Sainte-Beuve and the Nineteenth-Century Culture Wars, 2007; The Fourteenth of July, 2008. He is the general editor of the Penguin translation of Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu, and is currently writing a book on Proust and Scepticism. He also holds the title of Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen.

Tuesday 18 April 2017, 5.15pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Nicole Ulrich (Rhodes University): ‘Will we reach Canaan? The Birth, Death, and Resuscitation of Workers’ Control in South Africa’

About the talk: In the 1970s and 1980s new non-racial trade unions advocated radical notions of freedom that transcended the African National Congress and South African Communist Party’s focus on the franchise and capture of a colonial or apartheid state. This paper traces the making of ‘workers’ control’ in the 1970s, the fragility of this movement, and the way in which this profoundly democratic form of socialist politics is remembered today.          

About the speaker: Dr Nicole Ulrich is Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at Rhodes University, South Africa. She is interested in the history of popular classes/workers and labour regimes. Influenced by global labour history, she is interested in transnational as well as comparative approaches to labour, including connections both globally, and between different forms of labour – and the relationship between labour systems and the larger political economy. She has a background in research for public history projects, teacher training, labour archives and education, and served as chair of the Workers Library and Museum in Johannesburg. She has previously investigated the histories of the Industrial Commercial Union (ICU) in the 1920s and trade unions in the 1970s and is currently researching popular insurgency in the Cape Colony during the ‘Age of Revolutions’ (18th and early 19th centuries).

­­­­­­­­­­Book launch: Wednesday 26 April 2017, 6pm, CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

Stuart Hall, Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays, edited by Sally Davison, David Featherstone, Michael Rustin and Bill Schwarz (Lawrence & Wishart/Duke UP, 2017). Speakers: Michael Rustin, Catherine Eschle, Neil Davidson, Shirin Hirsch and David Featherstone

Tuesday 23 May 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room
Gregor McLennan (University of Bristol): ‘Sartrean Mediator? Hall, Intellectuals, and Marxism’
About the talk:  In this talk, I offer an account of Stuart Hall’s work that interweaves two slightly different questions: what kind of theorist was Hall, and what kind of Marxist? Whilst these issues have been touched upon many times in the cultural studies literature, they have not been tackled simultaneously, or in detail. Yet, arguably, this is the key to grasping Hall’s typical mode as an intellectual and teacher, which was that of a superb dialectical mediator. But some re-specification of that rather bland term ‘mediator’ is necessary to achieve the necessary lustre, and I do this, first, by critically reviewing some familiar typologies of intellectuals; second, by way of some rather random sociological reference points; and thirdly by reviving some neglected formulations in Sartre's Search for a Method. This takes us on to Marxist terrain, but it remains interesting to debate just how far Hall was a Marxist as such, not least because of the latitude of the Sartrean criteria.
About the speaker: Gregor McLennan is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol. His books include Marxism and the Methodologies of History (1981), Marxism, Pluralism and Beyond (1989), Pluralism (1995), Sociological Cultural Studies (2006), and Story of Sociology (2011). He is currently editing and introducing a selection of Stuart Hall’s writings on ‘the question of Marxism’.  In the 1970s, Gregor was a postgraduate student at Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, and later worked closely with Hall at the Open University. He is a Trustee of the Stuart Hall Foundation.

November 27th, 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room:

Lover as Narrator: On Translating Rosy Thomas's Biography, Ivan Ente Priya CJ' [He, My Beloved CJ] (Arunima Gopinath (Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi). Discussant Andy Davies, Geography, University of Liverpool.

November 7th, 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room:

The Battle of Grangemouth (Mark Lyon, Unite/ International Transport Workers’ Federation).

October 18th, 2017: in association with Sociology seminar series 16 Adam Smith Building, 4.00-5.30.

Re-engaging the politics of Black radicalism (Kehinde Andrews, School of Social Sciences, City University, Birmingham)

October 10th,2017 5.15-7.30:  Room 412, Boyd Orr Building.

The Russian Revolution and the Legacies of Communism (Gavin Bowd, School of Modern Languages, St Andrews University, Kevin Morgan, Politics, University of Manchester, tbc, and Anne McShane and Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, both Central and East European Studies, University of Glasgow)

September 26th, 2017, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room:

A Study in Uneven and Combined Development: The Austro-Hungarian Settlement (Mladen Medved, Department of History, Central European University)


Monday 18 January 2016 Hakim Adi (University of Chichester): ‘Pan-Africanism and Communism’

Dr. Hakim Adi (PhD SOAS, University of London) is one of the leading British historians specializing in the history of Africa and its Diaspora. He is Professor of History at the University of Chichester, UK. He is the author of West Africans in Britain 1900-60: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism and Communism (Lawrence and Wishart, 1998); (co-authored with Marika Sherwood) The 1945 Manchester Pan-African Congress Revisited (New Beacon, 1995) and Pan-African History: Political Figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (Routledge, 2003); (co-edited with Caroline Bressey) Belonging in Europe – The African Diaspora and Work (London: Routledge, 2010). Adi’s most recent book is Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora, 1919-1939 (Africa World Press, 2013). Described by one scholar as “a rich and textured monograph,” Pan-Africanism and Communism charts the dynamic and transnational work of the Comintern and the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers in West Africa, South Africa, the Caribbean, Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Adi has also written three history books for children including The History of the African and Caribbean Communities in Britain, which was re- published for the third time in 2014. He is currently writing a book on the origin and evolution of Pan-Africanism.

Tuesday 1 March 2016 Kasper Braskén (Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland): ‘Creating the Communist Culture of Anti-Fascism: Transnational Solidarity, Opposition, and Resistance in Interwar Europe’

Kasper Braskén is Postdoctoral Researcher at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. He is a historian specialising in German, transnational and social movement history. He is the co-editor of H-Socialisms and the author of several articles on international solidarity, communism and anti-fascism. His latest publication is The International Workers' Relief, Communism, and Transnational Solidarity: Willi Münzenberg in Weimar Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Set in the context of the post-First World War era, the book looks at the making of communist and socialist cultures, movements and public celebrations of transnational solidarity.  Braskén is currently working on a three-year postdoc project titled: ”The Origins of Anti-Fascism: Transnational Movements against Fascism, Nazism and the White Terror in Europe, 1923–1939”. 

Tuesday 22 March 2016 Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow): ‘Caribbean Slavery and Scottish Capitalism: A Marxist Perspective’

Dr Stephen Mullen was appointed as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in History at the University of Glasgow in January 2015, working on the project ‘Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom and Race in the Eighteenth Century’. His doctoral research focused on Glasgow-West India merchants, planters and sojourners in the 18th and 19th centuries. Stephen has published a general text on Glasgow's connections with New World Slavery, It Wisnae Us, as well as a number of general and academic articles.

Wednesday 13 April 2016 ‘Easter 1916: Socialism, Feminism, Nationalism’: A panel presentation by Maria-Daniella Dick, Kirsty Lusk and Willy Maley (University of  Glasgow)
On the eve of the centenary, a discussion of the Easter Rising, its Irish-Scottish connections, and the inextricability of socialism, feminism and nationalism from accounts of the Rebellion.

Thursday 2nd June 2016 Building Urban Autonomy: The Dignified Fight for Homes in Mexico City

Enrique Reynoso is an urban activist who has spent more than twenty-five years organising for housing rights and autonomous communities in Mexico City. He will discuss his work with the Francisco Villa Independent Popular Front, which is independent of political parties and affiliated to the Zapatista-inspired La Sexta (the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle). Enrique will discuss the fight for homes in Mexico City, reflecting on a mass social movement which is involved in land occupations, collective house construction and autonomous organising in some of the poorest areas of Mexico City. This event provides a rare opportunity to discover how the principles of Zapatismo are being translated in one of the largest urban conurbations in the world. Enrique's talk will be introduced by Neil Gray, University of Glasgow, and Katia Valenzuela Fuentes, Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham who will also translate. Organised in collaboration with the Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group:

Tuesday 4 October 2016, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Robbie Shilliam (Queen Mary University of London): ‘Ah, We Have Not Forgotten Ethiopia: Anti-Colonial Sentiments for Spain in a Fascist Era’

Anti-fascist internationalism in the 1930s, exemplified for instance in the Spanish brigades, is usually considered to be the modern genesis of European cosmopolitanism as a workable political project. But instead of a political tradition of anti-fascist internationalism, largely sui generis to Europe, I want to retrieve the tradition of anti-colonial anti-fascism, in which “Europe” is posited as not just part of the problem but as unable to express or solve the problem of fascism sui generis without addressing its colonial project and the conjoined struggles that this problem and project give rise to. For this purpose I excavate contemporaneous considerations of the relationship between the violent Italian colonization of Ethiopia and the violent civil war in Spain. And, specifically, I examine one of the most important anti-colonial anti-fascist archives of the time – Sylvia Pankhurst’s newspaper, New Times and Ethiopia News (NTEN). I conclude by asking what lessons might this tradition impart for contemporary Europe, beset now, as it was in the 1930s, by austerity and racialized resentment?

Robbie Shilliam is Professor of International Relations at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of The Black Pacific: Anticolonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015) and German Thought and International Relations: The Rise and Fall of a Liberal Project (London: Palgrave, 2009). Robbie blogs at and has a personal blog at He is co-convener of the British International Studies Association’s Colonial/Postcolonial/Decolonial working group and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Transnational Decolonial Institute.

Tuesday 18 October 2016, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Thomas Rudman (Manchester Metropolitan University): ‘A Reading of Alain Badiou in the light of Saint Paul: Communism and Theology Today’ (For a recording of the talk, click here)

Described by Slavoj Žižek as a philosophical great on ‘the level of Hegel’, Alain Badiou is now a central figure in debates within critical theory, politics and art. Indeed, Badiou’s intransigent defence of the communist hypothesis as the unsurpassable horizon for humanity was a major catalyst for the series many of international debates entitled ‘On the Idea of Communism’ that have been held since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. This paper aims to investigate one of the more controversial areas of Badiou’s political work: his attempt to reinvigorate communist militancy via the figure of Saint Paul. As various critics have argued, this ‘theological turn’ goes against the grain of some key assumptions about Marxism, not least the notion that historical materialism is founded upon avowedly secular and post-Enlightenment forms of critique. In contrast, this paper offers a materialist analysis of the texts of early Christianity in order to show that their style of ideological and political subversion is not incompatible with the egalitarian aims of Marxism. However, I also argue that Badiou’s avowed atheistic reading of Paul is not sufficient to sustain the claims he makes for its political significance. This paper thus aims to address some of the shortcomings of Badiou’s position in order to better defend the articulation of Marxism and Christianity, not by disavowing the messianic aspects of Pauline Christianity but by exploring their political and imaginative potential.

Thomas Rudman recently completed his PhD on Alain Badiou at Manchester Metropolitan University where he is a part-time lecturer in English Literature. His current research focuses on Marxist cultural theory and critical disability studies.

Tuesday 15 November 2016, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Darran Anderson: ‘Remembering the Future – the politics of space and architecture’

Darran Anderson is an Irish essayist, poet and author of most recently, Imaginary Cities (Influx Press). Inspired by the surreal accounts of the explorer and ‘man of a million lies’ Marco Polo, Imaginary Cities charts the metropolis and the imagination, and the symbiosis therein. A work of creative nonfiction, the book roams through space, time and possibility, mapping cities of sound, melancholia and the afterlife, where time runs backwards or which float among the clouds. In doing so, Imaginary Cities seeks to move beyond the clichés of psychogeography and hauntology, to not simply revisit the urban past, or our relationship with it, but to invade and reinvent it. Following in the lineage of Borges, Calvino, Chris Marker and Kenneth White, the book examines the city from global macrocosm to the microcosm of its inhabitants’ perspectives. It proceeds through opium dreams, sea voyages, the hallucinations of prisoners, nocturnal decadence, impossible Soviet skyscrapers, marauding golems, subterranean civilisations, apocalyptic prophecies and the work of architectural visionaries such as Antonio Sant’Elia, Archigram and Buckminster Fuller. It rethinks the ideas of utopias and dystopias, urban exploration, alienation and resistance. It claims that the Situationists lacked ambition when they suggested, “Beneath the paving stones, the beach.” Instead, beneath the paving stones, we may just be able to discern the entire universe. Darran is an occasional Guardian columnist, blogger, co-editor of the literary journal The Honest Ulsterman and former contributing editor to 3:AM Magazine and Dogmatika. He has written the 33 1/3 study of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson (Bloomsbury, 2013) and A Hubristic Flea (3:AM Press, 2014).  Darran's forthcoming book is 'Tidewrack' (Chatto & Windus (Vintage) in the UK/Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the US).

Tuesday 29 November 2016, 5.15-7pm, Lilybank House Seminar Room

Heather McLean on Feminist Community-Engaged Arts Practice in a Neoliberal Era
Heather McLean is a critical urban geographer and performance artist currently based in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Her research interests focus on culture-led regeneration, precarity, arts interventions and everyday geographies of agency and resistance. She works from feminist, queer, postcolonial and participatory paradigms, with a key aim of actively engaged research that, both theoretically and methodologically, decentres dominant discourses and engages participants in knowledge co-production. Her current research seeks to understand under-represented artists’ and activists’ efforts to forge solidarities within a paradigm of austerity urbanism. Specifically, she is exploring how arts-based social enterprise organisations and artist-run centres support marginalised communities in Glasgow. 


Tuesday 20 January 2015: Kostis Kornetis (New York University), ‘Student Resistance, Cultural Politics and the “Long 1960s”’

Tuesday 10 February 2015: Brendan McGeever (University of Glasgow), ‘The Bolshevik Response to Antisemitism in the Russian Revolution, 1917-1919’

Thursday 19 February 2015: Neil Davidson (University of Glasgow) and Sandy McBurney (Glasgow Left Unity), ‘Marxists Debate Scottish Independence: Economic Crisis, Social Radicalization and the Working Class’

Tuesday 24 February 2015: Tanja R. Müller (University of Manchester), ‘Legacies of Socialist Solidarity – “Memories of paradise” or “Dreams collapsed”?’

Monday 2 March 2015, 5.15pm, Law School, University of Glasgow David McLellan: 'Marxism and Asian Values’ - a discussion  

Tuesday 3 March 2015Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck, University of London), Hillel Ticktin (University of Glasgow, Emeritus) and Myrto Tsakatika (University of Glasgow): ‘Greece, SYRIZA and the EU: The Lightning Before the Storm?’

Tuesday 10 March 2015: Samuel Cohn (University of Glasgow), ‘Cholera revolts from 1831 to the present: A class struggle we may not like’

Tuesday 6 October 2015 Tom Mills (University of Bath): ‘Under the Shadow of Power: The BBC and the Promise of Democratic Media’
Tom Mills is a researcher at the University of Bath’s Department of Social and Policy Sciences and a co-editor of New Left Project. His PhD thesis is entitled, ‘The decline of social democracy and the rise of neoliberalism at the BBC’, and is the basis of his forthcoming book on the BBC. You can watch Tom Mills's talk by clicking here.

Tuesday 20 October 2015 It for Others: A screening and talk by Duncan Campbell
Duncan Campbell was awarded the 2014 Turner Prize for It for Others, his contribution to Scotland’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Responding to Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’ 1953 work Statues Also Die, a critique of the colonial commercialisation of African art, Campbell’s 54-minute ‘essay-film’ includes sections on African art, footage of contemporary commodities, and a performance made in collaboration with the choreographer Michael Clark that seeks to illustrate the principle of exchange value. Recent solo exhibitions of Campbell's work include: Kunsthall Oslo (2015); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, The Common Guild, Glasgow and G.MK gallery, Zagreb Croatia (all 2014); the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2012); Belfast Exposed (2011); Artist’s Space, New York (2010); The Model, Sligo (2010); Tramway, Glasgow (2010); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2009); Ludlow 38, New York (2009); Kunstverein Munich (2009); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Mass. (2009); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2009); MUMOK, Vienna (2009); Tate Britain, London (2009); Baltic, Gateshead (2008); ICA, London (2008); and Art Statements, Art Basel 38 (2008), where he was awarded the Baloise Art Prize.

Tuesday 10 November 2015 Savas Matsas (Workers' Revolutionary Party, Greece), 'The Divisions in Greece and the Future of Socialism in Europe'

The eminent Greek theorist and socialist politician Savas Matsas is  well known in Greece and beyond for the various books he has written on socialism, literature, philosophy and culture, for being the General Secretary of the Workers Revolutionary Party, and for being one of two accused in an anti-semitic trial staged by Golden Dawn and the right wing government in 2013. You can watch Savas Matsas's talk by clicking here.

Tuesday 17 November 2015 Neelam Srivastava (University of Newcastle): ‘An Italian Difference? Gramsci, Cosmopolitanism and Anti-Colonial Thought’
Neelam Srivastava is Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature at Newcastle University. She has recently edited a special issue of Interventions on ‘Frantz Fanon in Italy’ (2015), and is the co-editor of The Postcolonial Gramsci (2012). Her research interests span Italian colonialism and anti-colonialism, South Asian literature, theories of translation, and anti-colonial cinema.

Tuesday 1 December 2015 Andrew Prescott (University of Glasgow): ‘Freemasonry and Socialism in Britain, 1848-1875’
Andrew Prescott was a curator in the British Library from 1979-2000, and was then Director of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield from 2000-2007. He is currently Professor of Digital Humanities in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow and AHRC Theme Leader Fellow for Digital Transformations.  

Friday 4 December 2015 (5.30-7pm, Yudowitz Lecture Theatre, Wolfson Medical School Building, University Avenue)
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams  will present their new book, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (Verso, 2015)
(This event is co-hosted by the Glasgow Human Rights Network and the Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies. It will be followed by an informal reception)

Monday 7 December 2015  Nina Power (University of Roehampton): ‘The Social Brain and Its Missing Body: Work in the Age of Semiocapital’
“[T]he social factory has become the factory of unhappiness.”  Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s description of the ‘social brain’ in the era of semio-capital is profoundly melancholic. But what is the social factory? What can we say about the ‘social brain’? And is semio-capital really so different from the older kind? Discussions of contemporary work often pivot around a series of binary oppositions as unhelpful as they are tempting: if some work can be described as ‘immaterial’, does this make other kinds of workers – ‘material’ workers – somehow old-fashioned, outdated? When we talk about the social brain are we implying that brains exist without bodies, and that some brains are stuck in pre-technologised circuits? Who or what does the social brain think for, and what does it produce? This paper discusses contemporary feminist responses to current debates around work, arguing in favour of an approach that begins from the standpoint of social reproduction and care.
Nina Power teaches Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. She is the co-editor (with Alberto Toscano) of Alain Badiou’s On Beckett (2003) and Political Writings (forthcoming), and author of numerous articles, reviews and interventions on political subjectivity, Marxist thought, critical theory and feminism. Her One-Dimensional Woman (2009) has been translated into French, Turkish, German and Italian.


21 January 2014, Yassamine Mather (University of Glasgow): ‘The Current State of the “Arab Spring”’

11 February 2014, Selina Todd (St Hilda’s College, Oxford): ‘The People: Writing a History of Working-Class Life in Modern Britain’

25 February 2014, Hillel Ticktin (University of Glasgow), 'Will the Depression Ever End?'

4 March 2014, Sara R. Farris, (Goldsmiths, University of London):  ‘The political-economic foundations of Femonationalism’

14 March 2014, Tariq Ali, 'Scotland Past and Future' (co-hosted by the Radical Independence Campaign)

Tuesday 30 September 2014: Charlie Masquelier (University of Surrey),‘Co-operatives and Socialism: It’s Complicated...’

Tuesday 14 October 2014: Andrea Hajek (University of Glasgow), ‘Negotiating Memories of Protest: The Case of Italy’

Tuesday 28 October 2014:Christian Høgsbjerg (University of York), ‘”To Exploit a Larger World to Conquer”: C.L.R. James's Intellectual Conquest of Imperial Britain’

Tuesday 11 November 2014: Imogen Tyler (Lancaster University), ‘The Stigma Doctrine: Social and Political Economies of Inequality in Post-Welfare Britain’

Friday 28 November 2014: Selma James, 'Women, Race and Class: The Fight for Real Equality' CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO OF SELMA JAMES'S TALK



Wednesday 9 January 2013, Werner Bonefeld (University of York): ‘From Humanity to Nationality to Bestiality: A Polemic on Alternatives to Austerity without Conclusion’

The critique of capitalism finds the positive only in communism. This critique is conscious of the fact that the pauper belongs to the concept of capitalist wealth, and poverty is thus more than a deplorable situation. It is a social condition. Anti-austerity is in itself neither communistic nor social-democratic, nor is it necessarily critical of capitalism. The extreme right, including neo-fascist parties, is as vocal as the political left in its opposition to austerity. What, then, does it mean to say no?

Werner Bonefeld studied at the University of Marburg, the Free University of Berlin and the University of Edinburgh where he received his doctorate and has taught at the Universities of Frankfurt and Edinburgh. More recently he conducted postgraduate seminars on critical theory and the critique of political economy at the Universities of Puebla and Buenos Aires. His work contributed to the development of the internationally recognised Open Marxism school. Werner Bonefeld is a member of the Conference of Socialist Economists, and with Hugo Radice, Greig Charnock and Stuart Shields, he organised the Leeds/Manchester/York working group on critical International Political Economy. He is a keen gardener, cycles to work, and listens to Captain Beefheart and So-Called.

Tuesday 29 January 2013    Jeff Meadowcroft (University of Glasgow): ‘Workers’ Consciousness and Political Repression in Imperial Russia (1825-1905)’

The ‘conscious worker’ was an important figure in the Russian workers’ and socialist movements of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ‘Workers’ consciousness’ was a central concept in the thinking of the Russian revolutionaries throughout this period. What were the origins of this concept of ‘workers’ consciousness’? At what point did the ‘conscious worker’ gain social recognition as a special ‘type’ of person distinct from other working people? Recent historical studies have treated ‘workers’ consciousness’ either as a social identity or as a discursive construct, concentrating on relations between the radical intelligentsia, working people, and socialist and Marxist ideologies. In contrast, this talk argues that the ‘conscious worker’ became a social recognised type through the politically repressive practices of the autocratic government, and that the ‘official’ concept of consciousness or conscious action was closely related to the class domination of which these repressive practices were examples.      

Tuesday 26 February 2013     Savas Matsas: ‘The Political Economy of Greece and the Current Global Crisis’ 

Savas Matsas is an oncologist who has been politically and academically active in Athens under the dictatorship and after. He has written books on literature, articles on dialectics and Marxist philosophy as well as on Greece and the world crisis, and has taught at a number of Greek universities.

Tuesday 19 March 2013    Alex Benchimol (University of Glasgow): ‘The Black Dwarf and Peterloo: The Cultural Politics of Radical Print Protest in the Romantic Period’

This paper will explore how the radical weekly Black Dwarf used its pages to confront the state repression of organized protest in the period of mass agitation for political reform after the Napoleonic wars. In the face of widespread Government opposition to radical protest from 1817-20, including the Gagging Acts of 1817, the editor of The Black Dwarf, T J Wooler, used the periodical as an innovative space to uphold in print principles of popular constitutional agitation that were being physically repressed by the Government of the day. This culminated in Wooler’s strategy of counter-publicity surrounding the Radical protests on St Peter’s Fields in Manchester in August 1819 violently put down by the Manchester Yeomanry. The paper will examine a series of articles in The Black Dwarf published before, during and after what became known as the ‘Peterloo Massacre’, framing them as documents of intellectual resistance deploying a variety rhetorical weapons to encourage in the periodical’s audience a sense of independent political agency in the public sphere.

1 October 2013, John Roberts (University of Wolverhampton): ‘Against Cannibalism: Chto Delat, Russia and the New Avant-Garde’

15 October 2013,  Jack Jacobs (John Jay College/CUNY): ‘The Frankfurt School on Israel’

20 November 2013, Maud Bracke (University of Glasgow): ‘Mapping the Local, the National and the Transnational in 1970s Feminism: The campaign for Reproductive Rights in Rome’ (co-hosted by the Centre for Gender History)

3 December 2013, Andrew Hoskins (University of Glasgow): ‘Decay Time’



29 February 2012: Prof. John Holmwood (University of Nottingham): Knowledge regimes, public higher education and the future of the social sciences

14 February 2012: Deborah Bryceson (Geography, GU): For Richer, For Poorer: Sexuality, Prostitution and Marriage in East African Artisanal Gold Mining Settlements

Tuesday 30 October 2012 Prof Peter Thomas (Brunel University): ‘Hegemony, the Philosophy of Praxis and the Third International’

This seminar presentation will provide a critical overview of recent developments in the study of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, particularly as they impact upon our understanding of Gramsci’s central concepts of hegemony and the philosophy of praxis, and the relationship of his thought to the Third International. In conclusion, the presentation will attempt to suggest some of the ways in which this specialist research well help to re-invigorate the discussion of Gramsci in wider (inter)disciplinary areas, and the use of his thought in social and political movements.

Peter Thomas teaches the History of Political Thought at Brunel University, London. He is the author of The Gramscian MomentPhilosophy, Hegemony and Marxism (Brill/Haymarket, 2009), and has translated the work of Antonio Negri, Slavoj Zizek and Mario Tronti, among others. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxist Theory, and co-editor of the Historical Materialism Book Series. 

Tuesday 4 December 2012    Luke Fowler, The Poor Stockinger, The Luddite Cropper And The Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott (film screening followed by discussion, led by the director)

Luke Fowler’s new film focuses on the work of the radical socialist E. P. Thompson. From1948 to 1965 Thompson lived in Halifax and, as part of his university duties, was employed in the West Riding branch of the Workers’ Education Association (WEA). The Poor Stockinger, The Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott revisits E. P. Thompson’s radical work in the West Riding of Yorkshire which reflected the struggles for the underlying philosophy of the WEA fought by Thompson and other ‘extra-muralists’ of that period such as Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart. The methods and ideas of these committed and passionate educationalists were honed in working-class communities in the North and the Midlands of England in the middle of the last century.

Glasgow-based artist, filmmaker and composer Luke Fowler creates cinematic collages that have often been linked to the British Free Cinema movement of the 1950s. His documentary films have explored counter-cultural figures such as Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing and English composer Cornelius Cardew. Fowler was awarded the inaugural Derek Jarman Award in 2008, had a retrospective exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 2009 and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, for a solo exhibition at Inverleith House in Edinburgh showcasing his film All Divided Selves, which explores the life and work of radical psychiatrist R.D. Laing.



12 January 2011: Jane Goldman (English Literature, GU): Bloomsbury and Socialism.

26 January 2011: Rob Maslen (English Literature, GU): Fantasies of Complicity in the 1930s. ( This paper concerns the literature of complicity with the Nazis in Europe and Britain)

9 February 2011: Neil Davidson (Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde): Alasdair MacIntyre as a Marxist, 1953-68.

23 February 2011: Yassamine Mather (Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, University of Glasgow): Political and Economic Crises in Iran

9 March 2011: Mike Gonzalez: The Venezuelan revolution at a Crossroad; peoples power and the state.

6 December 2011: David Archibald (Film Studies, GU) & Nick McKerrell (Glasgow Caledonian University): The Trials of Tommy Sheridan

22 November 2011: Bob Fine (University of Warwick): Marxism and Human Rights

21 November 2011: Guy Standing (University of Bath): The Precariat

15 October 2011: Teach-In on The Financial Crisis, Higher Education and Academic Freedom
Speakers: Hillel Ticktin (University of Glasgow), Christine Cooper (University of Strathclyde), Willy Maley (University of Glasgow), Des Freedman (Goldsmiths, University of London, coeditor of The Assault on Universities, Pluto), Greg Philo (GU) and Terry Brotherstone (University of Aberdeen and ex-President of UCU Scotland).



20 January 2010: Mo Hume (Politics, GU): Post-War Violence in El Salvador

26 January 2010: Mick Cox (LSE): Is the USA in decline - again?

4 May 2010: Maud Bracke (History, GU): Female Workers in the Strike Movements in the Late 60s in Europe.

16 November 2010: John Holloway (Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in Mexico): Crack Capitalism: The New Anti-Grammar of Revolution. Recording of John Holloway's talk.



13 October 2009: Myrto Tsakatika (Politics, GU): Euroscepticism and the Radical Left: the Greek case revisited.

27 October 2009: Hillel Ticktin (Centre for Socialist Theory and Movements, GU): The Political Economy of the Crisis

10 November 2009: Christine Cooper (Accountancy, University of Strathclyde): Accountancy and the Banking Crisis

24 February 2009: Olga Taxidou (English Literature, Edinburgh University): Failure and Utopia in the Theatres of the Historical Avant-garde (from 1910 to the Moscow trials)

17 March 2009: Satnam Virdee (SAASS, GU): What's Left? Historical Materialism after Poststructuralism

May 5 2009: Robert Gibb (SAASS, GU): Working Practices, Power Relations and 'The Human Factor': Examining Asylum Appeals at the French National Court for the Right to Asylum (CNDA)