Dr Michael F. Keating

Michael Keating is keynote speaker to the Oil, Finance and Shipping Symposium

Richmond Professor of International Political Economy, Michael Keating was keynote speaker to the The Oil, Finance and Shipping Symposium on 31 August at the University of Greenwich. The title of Michael’s talk was ‘Global Energy Governance: Characteristics of a Fourth Era in the Making’. Michael is most recently the co-author of the Global Energy Challenge and co-editor of Dynamics of Energy Governance in Europe and Russia.

Dr Robert J. Wallis

Dr. Robert J. Wallis delivers keynote lecture at University of Helsinki

Dr. Robert J. Wallis delivered a keynote lecture at the University of Helsinki on 21 August 2016. He was invited to speak at the ‘Thinking Through Animals’ International workshop at the Tvärminne Zoological Station, 19-21 August 2016. Dr. Wallis spoke on ‘Art and Shamanism: From Cave Painting to the White Cube’, the eponymous title of his forthcoming monograph. The participants at the international workshop gathered to consider issues surrounding ‘taking animals seriously’ in the archaeological record and the group are now working on a funding proposal for a collaborative research project. Dr. Wallis is Professor of Visual Culture, Associate Dean, and Convenor of the MA in Art History and Visual Culture in the School of Communications, Arts and Social Sciences at Richmond. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute. His recent publications include:

*   Historical Dictionary of Shamanism. Rowman and Littlefield (second edition 2016).

*   Paganism, archaeology and folklore in twenty-first century Britain: the case of ‘The Stonehenge Ancestors’. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion: Special Issue: Religion, Archaeology and Folklore 28(2): 129-157 (2015).

*   Re-examining prehistoric stone ‘wrist-guards’ as evidence for falconry in later prehistoric Britain. Antiquity 88(340): 411-424 (2014).

Professor George Xinsheng Zhang

Prof George X Zhang lectured on Chinese language teaching in China

Professor George Zhang visited Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) in July, Richmond’s partner university in China. Professor Zhang gave a number of guest lectures and presentations as a visiting professor to post-graduates, and to Chinese language teachers both from China around the world on professional development programmes organised by BLCU and funded by Hanban. BLCU is also a national centre responsible for education and training of Chinese language teachers funded by Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters. The BLCU is setting up a number of regional centres around the world, and Richmond University is being considered to become a centre in the UK.

Professor Zhang also delivered talks, as an invited speaker, on the learning and teaching of Chinese and the development of learning materials at the 3rd Mandarin Teachers’ Conference in Shanghai in early August, organised by Dulwich College International (DCI), which runs the largest dual language programme involving Chinese amongst international schools around the world.

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Richard Bevan awarded Gold Medal at National Eisteddfod of Wales

Adjunct Professor Richard Bevan has been awarded the Gold Medal in Fine Art by the National Eisteddfod of Wales for his films, attracting a £5000 award. He produced 16mm films that include the film projectors as a central part of the work. Richard said: “The films have relatively unconventional forms – as long as two hours of a loop within a cinema, or as short as 13 seconds as the only work within a gallery.” Bevan’s films will be exhibited and he will feature in BBC 4 programme.

richard bevan

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Dr Paul Rekret publishes article in Constellations: A Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory

Paul Rekret, ‘From Political Topographies to Political Logics: Post-Marxism and Historicity’ is published in the latest issue of Constellations: A Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory. In the article Rekret, writing with Simon Choat, argues that post-Marxist political theories oscillate ceaselessly between ontological and sociological claims.   This is shown to result from these theories’ tendency to draw an opposition between the properly political moment – indexed by notions of event, antagonism, equality, multitude or singularity – and the juridical, regulative, disciplinary, or administrative order of everyday life.

The article may be found here.

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Paul Rekret, ‘A critique of new materialism: ethics and ontology’, Subjectivity

This article offers a critical assessment of the conception of ethics underlying the growing constellation of ‘new materialist’ social theories. It argues that such theories offer little if any purchase in understanding the contemporary transformations of relations between mind and body or human and non-human natures. Taking as exemplary the work of Jane Bennett, Rosi Braidotti, and Karen Barad, this article asserts that a continuity between ethics and ontology is central to recent theories of ‘materiality’. These theories assert the primacy of matter by calling upon a spiritual or ascetic self-transformation so that one might be ‘attuned to’ or ‘register’ materiality and, conversely, portray critique as hubristic, conceited, or resentful, blinded by its anthropocentrism. It is argued that framing the grounds for ontological speculation in these ethical terms licences the omission of analysis of social forces mediating thought’s access to the world and so grants the theorist leave to sidestep any questions over the conditions of thought. In particular, the essay points to ongoing processes of the so-called primitive accumulation as constituting the relationship between mind and body, human and non-human natures.