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.

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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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