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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.

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Richmond Students Co-Present Conference Paper with Richmond Professor in Switzerland

Patricia Olle Tejero (a senior in International Relations), Katherine Arnold (a Study Abroad alum) and Dom Alessio (Professor of History and Dean of International Programmes) presented a jointly researched and written paper on “Micronesia’s Spanish, German and American ‘Lakes’” at the 22nd New Zealand and Pacific Studies Association conference. The conference was held in Lugano, Switzerland. The paper examined the near total omission of Spain’s role in the region, its sale of the East Indies to Germany (marking the beginning of the Second Reich) and the significance of later US control in the region (from nuclear testing to its continuing military bases).

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Student Government President Launches New Charity Pledge

Richmond’s Student Government President Damien Ashton-Wellman has launched the University’s official Raising and Giving (RAG) pledge after signing an MOU with their first partner.

The campaign will see the Richmond Student Government and their staff advisors pick a charity or non-governmental organization (NGO) each year for which the University will focus its various student fundraising activities on throughout the following Fall and Spring semesters.

Working with the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Associate Dean for Student Leadership, the Student Government will co-ordinate and keep track of all charitable activities by various student organizations at Richmond throughout the year. They will then donate the grand total in a cheque giving ceremony each May.

It will be one of the biggest co-ordinated charitable drives in the University’s history and will include existing events such as International Night and Student Government Parties but also encourage the various student Clubs & Societies, Residence Life teams and individual students to get involved in fundraising.

The first official RAG partner for the 2016-2017 academic year will be Professors Without Borders, an NGO that the Student Governemnt have already worked with during the Spring 2016 semester. It was co-founded by Richmond alumnus Tessy De Nassau and former Adjunct Professor of International Relations Dr Caroline Varin to develop educational opportunities and reverse the brain drain in emerging countries.

The MOU was co-signed by Vice President of Student Affairs Allison Cole-Stutz and Associate Dean for Research Dr Martin Brown representing Richmond along with Tessy De Nassau and Majeks Walker on behalf of Professors Without Borders.

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Brexit debate: Britain at the crossroads

The Brexit debate organized by the Wellbeing Research Cluster on June 15th was attended by a large group of students, alumni, staff and faculty. The four faculty involved, all from Richmond Business School, pressed on with their arguments for and against Brexit.

 Professor Wilkinson argued that the threat of international terrorism posed the greatest threat if Britain votes to Remain. Dr Cohen emphasized, amongst other things, the trade and social consequences associated with a vote to Leave. Professor Ramos, on the other hand, was more interested in the institutional and legal aspects and argued passionately for a vote to Remain. Dr Dabir-Alai made the point that Remain camp were using a strategy of fear to convince the electorate to vote as they want them to. He argued that risk and uncertainty are a necessary part of modern life and the vote to Leave should not concern itself with these issues.

 Professor Spangenberg held the warring sides well apart through a skillful combination of tact and wisdom.

 As the session ended the participants revealed their real, as opposed to adopted, positions with some members of the audience claiming that they knew all along. The panelists beg to differ!

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Student Government Raises £885 For Alumni NGO

The Richmond Student Government has raised £885 for non-governmental organization Professors Without Borders from the proceeds of its Spring End of Term Party. The event held at Bodo’s Schloss nightclub in Kensington on the 4 May saw over 130 students and alumni come together to celebrate the end of the academic year and give to the cause.

Student Government President Damien Ashton-Wellman stated “I think it’s important to not only give back to our amazing alumni, but also to do our part in providing outreach to those that have not had the same opportunities as us. Education is a right for those that are academically gifted and not just a privilege for those with money, that’s something I think that’s Richmond is very committed to.”

The Non-Profit was co-founded by Richmond alumnus Tessy De Nassau, who graduated in 2014 with a BA in International Relations and former Adjunct Professor of International Relations Dr Caroline Varin to develop educational opportunities and reverse the brain drain in emerging countries.

This year, Professors Without Borders are sending seven academics to Bo and Freetown, in Sierra Leone, where they will teach 125 students over two weeks. All classes are free to the students while the teachers volunteer their time and knowledge. The funds raised by the Richmond Student Government will go directly towards supporting this initiative on the ground.

More information on Professors Without Borders and the work they do can be found here.professors without borders