Members of UCU at the University of Cambridge are on strike against huge cuts to our pensions. We have an exciting programme of free public events running alongside pickets and rallies during the strike!
Teach-outs bring staff, students, and guest speakers together, in an informal atmosphere, to discuss important and challenging themes that re-imagine the university in ways that challenge oppression and injustice.
Please distribute this widely, invite friends and family, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and keep checking here for the full programme and regular updates. More events will be added soon. Details on our past teach-outs are at the bottom of the page
STRIKE WEEK IV: MON 12 – FRI 16 MARCH
Friday 16 March
Post-Truth teachouts: Journalism in the Post-Truth Era
1.30-3PM (Fri16Mar), Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane
Why Is it so Hard to Agree on the Facts? On the Virtues and Limits of Political Fact-Checking (Dr Lucas Graves, Reuters Institute, University of Oxford),
The Fog of Change: How Government Shape Media Landscapes during Political Transformation (Olga Zeveleva, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge).
Free event, but registration requested.
Post-Truth teachouts: Interactive Theatre Workshop
3.30-4.30PM, (Fri16Mar), Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane
Facilitator: Devika Ranjan
Through a series of interactive exercises, conference attendees will explore the concept of post-truth through the body. Over the course of an hour, participants will consider perspective, positionality, and distortion through games that are designed for critical self- and societal reflection. This workshop builds on the tools of Theatre of the Oppressed, a community-based theatre method that encourages people to reconsider power structures, hierarchies, and violences through movement and games. Devika has facilitated theatre workshops around the world. She focuses on making theatre with communities in conflict zones, especially concerning issues of displacement and migration. Her most recent workshop was a three-week series with women on the India-Pakistan border, cumulating in a performance that advocated for their rights and safety in front of local government officials. Devika has been trained in Theatre of the Oppressed facilitation in New York City (USA), Kathmandu (Nepal), and Bengaluru (India).
Free event, but registration requested.
***OPEN MEETING with VICE CHANCELLOR STEPHEN TOOPE***
2-4pm (Fri16Mar): Great St Mary’s Church
An Open Meeting will be held between the Vice-Chancellor, CUSU Education Officer and a member of the UCU Executive on Friday 16th March at 2pm at Great St. Mary’s Church.
The CUSU Education Officer and UCU representative will conduct an initial 15-20 minute interview with the Vice-Chancellor about the University’s handling of the recent strike action, and this will be followed by 20-25 minutes of questions from the floor around the UCU strike and pensions dispute, chaired by the CUSU Education Officer. There will then be a further round of questions from the Education Officer (provided by activist groups) on issues such as decolonisation, divestment, prevent, housing justice and reform of the disciplinary procedure. These will each be followed by a short period of questions from the floor, with the session concluding at 3:30pm.
The Vice-Chancellor has committed to another open meeting in the first week of Easter Term, provisionally scheduled for the 26th April from 4:30-6pm, where a broader range of issues can be discussed.
All parties are hopeful that this marks the beginning of an enhanced open dialogue between the central university, its staff and its students on the issues that affect us all.
The event is open to all.
Post-Truth teachouts: Panel: The Academy in the Post-Truth Era
5-6pm (Fri16Mar): Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane
- Dr Anne Alexander (CRASSH, University of Cambridge)
- Dr Jana Bacevic (Sociology, University of Cambridge)
- Ali Meghji (Sociology, University of Cambridge)
This session is an open conversation among attendees of the teach-out about the academy in the post-truth era and in the context of the strike.
Free event, but registration requested.
Attacking health: the end of international humanitarian law?
5-6.30pm (Fr16Mar): Cripps Auditorium, Magdalene College
Speakers: Dr David Nott, Hamish de Bretton Gordon, Toby Cadman, Saleyha Ahsan, Sir Stephen O’Brien
Years of attacks on civilians, health facilities and healthcare workers in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have demonstrated the challenges of implementing international humanitarian law and getting warring parties to adhere.
Does the unprecedented rate and frequency of attacks on health and facilities globally signify the end of International Humanitarian Law?
Why have our global legal frameworks been unable to protect places of care and those who serve in them? We are pleased to welcome a distinguished panel to discuss recent events in Eastern Ghouta, Syria and their implications for humanitarian affairs and diplomacy.
Free, with preregistration requested
Disassembling the University: how did we get here?
2-4pm (Mo26Feb): Great St Mary’s Church, Kings Parade
Short interventions exploring the political and economic background to neoliberal reforms in higher education – from reframing education as a commodity through trade agreements, via the introduction of tuition fees, to contemporary challenges of platform capitalism and precarious academic labour. After this, we’ll open for interventions/thoughts from the floor – how can we fight this together?
Speakers: Jana Bacevic (Sociology/Education), Mark Carrigan (Education), Clément Mouhot (Mathematics), Susan Robertson (Education)
Decolonizing the Curriculum Forum 2018
4-6pm (Mo26Feb): CUSU Lounge, 17 Mill Lane
Join us for a conversation with decolonization activists around developments and strategies in ongoing campaigns to decolonize the curriculum, including reports on current actions, reforms in progress, strategies at other UK universities, and a discussion of the decolonization agenda in the light of Brexit.
Speakers: Cambridge students and activists involved in decolonization initiatives, Gurminder Bhambra (Sussex), Kerem Nisancioglu (SOAS)
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/221310005108560/
From Climate Racism to Cimate Justice: Decolonizing Divestment
7:30-9pm (Mo26Feb): Keynes Hall, King’s College
Come hear speakers unveil the links between climate change, white supremacy, colonialism and global power structures, before we relate this back to our praxis at Cambridge and in activism. Each speaker will talk for 10-12 minutes. Following a short break we will then have a more interactive discussion, chaired by Cambridge divestment and decolonisation activist Safieh Grace Kabir, on how we can relate all this back to the divestment and decolonisation movements in Cambridge.
Speakers: Suzanne Dhaliwal (director and co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network), Dalia Gebrial (PhD candidate at LSE and editor at Novara Media), Trishant Simlai (PhD candidate in Geography at Selwyn College, Cambridge), Nilufa Ahmed (President of BanglaSoc at Cambridge)
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/171535313626242/
Reproductive politics in the Age of Trump and Brexit
2-4pm (Tu27Feb): Lloyd Room, Christ’s College
What do Trump and Brexit have to do with reproductive politics? How are the social, cultural, economic and political logics of these recent ‘populist’ driven phenomena linked to ideas about reproduction? In this session we will explore the longstanding links between race, nation, empire and reproduction that lie at the base not only of recent political shifts, but long term political trends. Drawing on the work of feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial scholars, we will look at both the similarities and the differences between the images and narratives that motivated Trump supporters and Leave voters, through which fears about migration, national borders, employment — and even the unpredictable weather — are linked to specific formations of gender, sexuality, reproduction, nation and race.
Speakers: Sarah Franklin
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/356533454824858/
The Politics of Aesthetics
5-6pm (Tu27Feb): Winstanley Lecture Theatre, Trinity College
In this hour-long teach out, we’ll present a handful of approaches to works of art, and especially literature (idealist, subjectivist, historicist, new critical, close reading…), many of which still thrive in university faculties today. Against these, we’ll discuss some characteristic principles of an aesthetics based on a Marxist materialism, which gives due weight to the social and political in cultural productions. To conclude, we’ll move from these principles to analyse several examples from literature, and point to some of the controversies and limitations of a Marxist aesthetics, and then leave as much time for questions and discussion as possible.
Speakers: Edward Lee-Six and Ted Tregear
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/420252931721127/
Heterodox economics, finanancialisation and marketisation of higher education
2-4pm (We28Feb): Great St. Mary’s, Kings Parade
In this teach-out session we will be discussing the underlying economics that has contributed to the UCU pensions dispute. Do not be alarmed, this teach-out will be accessible and non-technical and intended to provide an opportunity to explode the myth that the economy works like a big household. Come along with questions and ideas and explore the question of how the argument that the USS pension fund is high-risk and in deficit, is linked to student loans, tuition fees, VC’s pay and the creation of artificial economic scarcity in higher education and other public services.
Speakers: Ha-Joon Chang, Steve Watson
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/156147921633852/
Political activism and revolutionary ideas in South Sudan: a history
2-4pm (We28Feb): Thomas Gray room, Pembroke College
This short lecture and discussion session will focus on the intellectual history of South Sudanese communities as they have struggled to articulate and set out a political community. Through a history of insurrection, militia organisation, poetry, self-made educational projects and songs, we will listen to South Sudanese people’s ideas of possible futures since the 1960s, and discuss the limits of what can be imagined and fought for on the insecure edges of post-colonial, neoliberal nation-states.
Speakers: Nicki Kindersley
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2055060584778694/
Strike songs and protest lyric: A discussion
3:30-5pm (We28Feb): Lightfoot Theatre, Divinity School, St. John’s College, Cambridge
What role has lyric poetry played in political protest, historically? What role can it play today? We will meet to discuss the power and significance of strike songs, political poetry, and protest lyrics. Discussion will be free form, and we invite everyone to bring well known or less familiar examples to discuss, read, or perform.
Speakers: Ruth Abbott
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/192375178032153/
Practitioner talk by Sharath Srinivasan, Director of Africa’s Voices
5-6:30pm (We28Feb): King’s Audit Room, King’s College
Please join us for a talk, Q&A and drinks with Sharath Srinivasan, reflecting on his work and this sphere of work in general. As Co-Director of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge, Sharath conceived of Africa’s Voices within a larger research programme and developed it into an independent charity. How can citizens, writ large, better influence social and political change in Africa? His research is firmly grounded in a career prior to academia in international aid.
Africa’s Voices emerged out of four years of research at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Governance and Human Rights (CGHR), on Politics and Interactive Media in Africa. With strong interest from initial collaborators, in 2014 Africa’s Voices launched as an independent, non-profit research organisation and registered UK charity.
Speaker: Sharath Srinivasan
Event details: https://talks.cam.ac.uk/talk/index/100603
STRIKE WEEK III: 5 – 8 March
Monday 5 March
How UK policy fuels war and repression in the Middle East
2-3:30pm (Mo5Mar): CUSU lounge, 17 Mill Lane
Speakers: Ann Feltham (Campaign Against Arms Trade), Liesbeth ten Ham, Sue Woodsford (Amnesty International and Truth for Giulio campaign) Anne Alexander – chair (Middle East Solidarity magazine and Cambridge UCU)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/154910001879267/
This teach-out session takes us behind the UK government’s claims to be ‘working for a more secure, prosperous Middle East and North Africa’ to examine the role of UK arms and diplomacy in fuelling war and repression. Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemen have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster – yet the UK continues to export billions of pounds of weaponry for use in the bombing. Meanwhile, despite all the evidence pointing to the responsibility of the Egyptian security forces for the murder of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni, the UK continues to do “business as usual” with Egypt’s military regime, citing the need for support in the “war on terror” and the battle against “illegal migration.” We ask what are the most effective ways to build campaigns which challenge our government’s role in the Middle East, and how do we ensure that our own universities are not complicit in repression?
Neoliberal Capitalism versus Collective Imaginaries: Sharing a Common Future
2-3:30pm (Mo5Mar): Great St Mary’s Church
Speaker: S. M. Amadae
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/168973626976909/
This talk is in part a primer on neoliberal capitalism extending from the Washington Consensus and sale of the birthright of the developing world in the 1980s to its reconfiguration in the twenty-first century to dispossess blue and white collar workers from economic security in the name of flexible employment to serve capital. The goal in imparting a better understanding of the unique strategies of neoliberal political economy is to afford insights into effective tactics of resistance. These include reinvesting the public and global commons with shared intentionality in opposition to permitting unintended market outcomes, now combined with algorithmic governance, to blindly move into an unintelligible future.
Striking is good – but why does it feel so difficult?
2-4pm (Mo5Mar): JCR Bar, Downing College
Speakers: Monica Figueroa (Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/172597566702952/
This teachout will develop in the form of a workshop. We will explore with co-listening exercises what could keep us from giving up and how could we recover from the emotional hurts of defeat. What stops from fighting for our rights and dignity? What can keep us going? The debate will be introduced by Monica Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Fellow in Social Sciences at Downing College.
The securitization of migration: anti-terrorism, migration containment and surveillance
5:15-6:30pm (Mo5Mar): N7, Pembroke College
Speakers: Les Levidow, (Open University), Maria Chiara Vinciguerra (PhD candidate, Department of Politics and International Studies)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/154320501944953/
The teach-out will will address how security concerns are influencing the regulation of social life in contemporary Europe. Focusing on state-supported interventions tackling extremism and unwanted migration flows, the speakers will highlight the consequences of securitarian policies in terms of enhanced surveillance, social exclusion and undermining personal freedom
Tuesday 6 March
Britain and Anticolonialism/Anticolonialism in Britain
2-3:30pm (Tu6Mar): Great St Mary’s Church
Speaker: Priya Gopal
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/155673845145834/
This talk will explore how revolutions, insurgencies and resistance movements in Britain’s colonies inspired and influenced dissidents in Britain from the mid-19th century to the mid-twentieth century, helping to create transnational anti-colonial alliances
Labour Rights in Jewish Religious Law
3-4pm (Tu6Mar): 1 Newnham Terrace lecture room, Darwin College
Speaker: Daniel Weiss
This talk will explore the ways in which labour rights, and in particular the right to strike, are viewed in classical Jewish legal and theological thought, with a focus on what types of working conditions constitute an illegitimate return to a status of slavery. It will also examine how these traditions have been applied and interpreted in the context of contemporary social, political, and economic circumstances.
Understand Your University, Part I: Administration and the Finance Divisions
4-6pm (Tu6Mar): Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane
Speakers: Angus Satow (Zero Carbon), Jana Bacevic, Jeremy Caddick, Ronald Haynes, Stephen Cowley
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2098977716989327/
Do you want to understand how your university is run? Do you know who is on the University Council and how they are elected? Do you wonder what the Regent House is? Do you know what the Finance Division is and how it works? Do you want to learn more about the relationships between colleges and the University? To empower those wanting to be more effective in changing the way that the University of Cambridge works, come to Understand Your Uni!
This discussion focuses on the formal structure and the finance division of the university, in particular the role of the CFO and its growing influence, the recent building projects, the increasingly formal role of the VC, the corresponding declining role of Master/Provost at the expense of Bursars in college, in short the take-over of technocrats inside the university structures, and the corresponding social trends and changes in higher education political and financial landscape that facilitate(d) this.
Wednesday 7 March
Journalism under siege in Turkey
2-4pm (We7Mar): Harrods Room, Emmanuel College
Speakers: Muratcan Sabuncu (University of Sorbonne), Hakan Sandal (University of Cambridge); Moderated by: Ayşe Zarakol (University of Cambridge)
Facebook event: https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/600393643631299/
In this teach out panel, we discuss the crackdown on the freedom of press in Turkey under the Erdogan regime through various perspectives (e.g. anti-authoritarian, Kurdish, queer etc.). How is the possibility of opposition itself affected by this crackdown? What resistance and alliance potentials emerge from therein? Following a short talk by the speakers, we intend to open the platform for a conversational discussion in order to explore different possibilities of transnational solidarity.
Film-showing and talk: A particularly English kind of capitalism
3-5pm (We7Mar): Room: Rus 203, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road
Speaker: Patrick Keiller
Facebook event: https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/579808169019155/
Patrick Keiller studied architecture at UCL and fine art at the RCA. His films include London (1994), Robinson in Space (1997) and Robinson in Ruins (2010), the latter extended as The Robinson Institute, an exhibition at Tate Britain in 2012. He is currently Sir Arthur Marshall Visiting Professor of Urban Design in the Department of Architecture of the University of Cambridge.
Patrick will be showing extracts from two of his films and exploring aspects of the UK’s economy and its development since 1997.
The Right to Speak/The Right to Listen: Race, Empire, Prevent
4-6pm (We7Mar): King’s Audit Room, King’s College
Speakers: Mahvish Ahmad (Sociology, Cambridge), Surabhi Ranganathan (Law, Cambridge), Safieh Kabir (Cambridge Defend Education), Ed McNally (Palestine Society), Mezna Qato (Chair)
Facebook event: https://en-gb.facebook.com/events/1933070393676804/
In this teach-out, we will think together about the consequences to the university and its purpose when those within it are differently surveilled. What impact does that have on our freedoms, both within and outside the university, and how can we reclaim our rights?
Co-sponsors: Cambridge Defend Education, Critical Theory and Practice, Decolonise Cambridge, Palestine Society
Film screening (double bill) followed by discussion
From 4:15pm (We7Mar): Cripps Auditorium Cripps building, Magdalene College
Hosted by Hugo Azerad and Christophe Gagne
– first film Divines (in French with English subtitles) will be screened at 6.15 pm
– second film Tom at the farm (in French with English subtitles) will be screened at 8pm
Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/191621264775599/
Taken from the Guardian review of Divines:
‘Cinema is white, bourgeois and racist. That’s clear,” says Houda Benyamina. The French-Moroccan film-maker is not one to mince words. She is passionate and energised and talks at a blistering pace, as if there is not a moment to lose. She does not just mean French cinema, but all cinema. France’s is better than most. She cites a recent study that found just 7% of top movies in the US were by women last year. In France, it was 14%, she tells me. But still, she describes French cinema as a “caste system”: closed, aristocratic and hostile to outsiders.
Taken from the Indiewire review of Tom at the farm
Xavier Dolan is a master of atmosphere. His films live in the spaces between words. They’re made of the network of glances that underlie a conversation, the spiraling tension that lurks just beyond tangible grasp. Though he deals in abstractions — jealousy, hate, love, Freudianism — he delivers his stories in precise gestures that contain a universe within them.
Thursday 8 March
Street teach-out: Adorno on the picket line
11am (Th8Mar): Faculty of Education, 184 Hills rd
Speaker: Ross Wilson
In this teach-out, we will discuss the educational writings of the Frankfurt School Critical Theorist, Theodor W. Adorno, in particularl situating Adorno’s essays ‘Taboos on the Teaching Vocation’ and ‘Education after Auschwitz’ in the wider context of his thought. Central motifs in Adorno’s work, such as his views on the nature of thought, the conduct of research, and the ‘administered world’, will be explicated. We’ll also touch on Adorno’s more ambivalent relationship with protest, especially in the context of the student movement of the later 1960s.
UCU Solidarity: Women’s Strike Festival
Hosted by CUSU Women’s campaign
IMPORTANT NOTICE – In line with CUSU Women’s Campaign policy, the Women’s Strike events are for women and non-binary people only EXCEPT the teach-out (5-6.30pm) which is open to all. Apologies for any confusion.
4:30-8pm (Th8Mar): CUSU Lounge, 17 Mill Lane
The Women’s Strike is a strike for solidarity between women – women of colour, indigenous, working class, disabled, migrant, Muslim, lesbian, queer and trans women. On 8 March, in cities and towns across the UK we will meet each other on the streets and strike against a system of power that keep us isolated and divided from one another.
The Women’s Campaign is honouring the women’s strike and standing with UCU women and non-binary workers by putting on a relaxed day of events including poetry, spoken word, readings from radical women and a party to raise money for the UCU strike fund!
4:30pm: Decorating the space
5pm: Teach-out session
5:30-6:30pm: Readings from Radical Women (Why Strike?) / Discussion about Women’s Work
(NB after 6.30pm the event is women / non-binary only)
6:30-7pm: Practical Organising, how do we move forward?
7pm-7:30: Music and Letter writing for women in detention
‘A woman’s place is on the picket line’
Speakers: Dr Natalie Thomlinson (lecturer in modern cultural history at the University of Reading), Dr Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite (lecturer in twentieth century British history at UCL), Dr Anne Alexander (University of Cambridge)
Florence and Natalie will be talking about working-class women’s activism during the 1984-5 Miners’ strike, which was immense in scale and vital to sustaining the strike for a full year. Anne will present images and film documenting some of the experience of women activists in the Egyptian independent trade unions 2008 – 2013, based on research for her co-authored book, Bread, Freedom, Social Justice: Workers and the Egyptian Revolution (Zed 2014).
STRIKE WEEK IV: MON 12 – FRI 16 MARCH
Monday 12 March
Meet the Author: Peter Kimani (Kenyan Novelist): Dance of the Jakaranda
1-2pm (Mo12Mar): Camden House Drawing Room, Emmanuel College
Speaker: Peter Kimani
We will be hosting a conversation with Peter Kimani, a Kenyan novelist about his new book Dance of the Jakaranda. Kimani will discuss his new novel as well as the joys and challenges of creative writing in Kenya, race and power in colonial Kenya, and the realities of publishing Kenyan fiction. Peter Kimani is an award-winning Kenyan novelist and journalist. He received the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for literature, Kenya’s highest literary honour, for his children’s book Upside Down in 2011. Kimani was one of three international poets to compose and present a poem for Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. A prominent journalist on Kenya’s national news circuit, Kimani’s work has also appeared in the Guardian, New African and Sky News.
Review of Dance of the Jakaranda:
‘In this racially charged dance of power, the railroad into the interior of the country becomes a journey into the hearts of men and women. It is a dance of love and hate and mixed motives that drive human actions and alter the course of history. Kimani’s writing has the clarity of analytic prose and the lyrical tenderness of poetry.’ Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, author of Birth of a Dream Weaver
Rebellion and a Theory of Love
1-3pm (Mo12Mar): The Old Library, Pembroke College
Speaker: Dr Mia White (The New School)
How can we, designers of all kinds, educators of all kinds, truly contribute to a more just society? My answer to you and to myself, is that though we have not always realized it, you and I continue to yearn for freedom. All the time. So, what does it take to build a movement in the millions? It takes the struggle of and for freedom, in all our spaces. For me, it means theorizing black and brown spatial practice as love — a love borne from the generative forcefield that is blackness, my own, and that of undercommons universe, out of which some answers to the question “what are we to do?” (about murder, democracy, liberalism, gentrification, capitalism, war, suicide, white supremacy) remain waiting for experimentation. I have learned of this experimentation. As designers and educators, we can choose to uplift and amplify those experimental projects which seem to deepen an emancipatory sensibility and our own epistemic disobedience. The undercommons are those spaces inhabited and produced by we, black people, indigenous peoples, queers and poor people, and it is where and how we say “…that we want to tear down the structures that…limit our ability to find each other, to see beyond…we want to feel a new sense of wanting and being and becoming.”
These are love practices, and they have no beginning or end. I have witnessed them as both structured and improvisational – a blues epistemology of daily revolutionary actions in the land and in the body, in the classroom and through the page, in all the spaces. Our work is in better understanding that “Love” is teaching and manifesting abolition; it is the construction of collective freedoms through mutual trauma-healing in our haunted places. These are the revolution. Design must be a mutually pedagogical resistance, a wilful action (love), and practising abolition is our goal.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/430872924008988/
The Struggle against Patriarchy: Lessons from the Kurdish Freedom Movement and the Revolution in Rojava
2.15-4pm (Mo12Mar): Great St Mary’s Church
Speaker: Meral Çiçek
As patriarchal systems of violence and exploitation spread feminicidal chaos and destruction around the world, women everywhere think of increasingly more radical means of political organisation, grassroots mobilisation and self-defense. In the Kurdish women’s movement, as has been illustrated in their war against the so-called Islamic State and other systems of patriarchal fascism, the strongest weapon of women was their autonomous self-organisation with radical politics, committed to nothing less than a historical social revolution. As such, no meaningful liberation is possible without women’s liberation. The main speaker, Meral Çiçek, from the Kurdish Women’s Relations Office based in the Middle East, will shed light on the struggle of women in Kurdistan for a life in freedom and justice. The event will be moderated by Dilar Dirik, a PhD. student in the Department of Sociology, who is writing her dissertation on the subject/
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/334736990349247/
The Political and Colonial in Science
4-6pm (Mo12Mar): CUSU/GU Lounge, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge
- Simon Schaffer, Professor of history of science in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, on politics in the history of science
- Mary Brazelton, Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, on how science was made Western
- Ottavio Croze, Research Fellow in the Department of Physics, on mental health in physics
- Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics, on the role of the scientist in the 21st century.
It is often assumed that science is an “objective pursuit of knowledge” which sits outside the political sphere. Further, the way science is taught and done today also assumes a certain narrative of science as a Western tradition. History teaches us that both of these assumptions are false; science and scientists have always been part of political machineries and the history of science is a global one.
The neoliberal academy would have us continue believing these myths; it represses the political activity of scientists, and promotes capitalist & imperialist agendas, whereby science is mobilised for profit and power. We seek to critically engage with science’s past and present to show how science can be remobilised in the fight against neoliberalism.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/549510502101745/
Tuesday 13 March
Pensions are a Feminist Issue: Voices from the Picket
Join us on Tuesday 11am on the Sidgwick Picket for an open discussion about the implications of the proposed pensions cut on women and underrepresented groups. How do these cuts square with the University’s Athena Swan and Race Equality Charter agendas? We will be hearing and collecting your concerns, as well as your ideas for how the University should address pensions as a feminist issue.
Lessons from Peoples’ Struggles around the World: Towards a New Internationalism?
2.30-4pm (Tu13Mar): Great St Mary’s Church
Speakers: Prof. Fernando Calderon (Bolivia), Ms. Dilar Dirik (Kurdistan/Germany), Prof. Sanal Mohan (Kerala, India), Dr. Johanna Riha (First President and Co-Founder of the African Society of Cambridge University), Mr. Darnell Stephen Summers (Detroit/Berlin, Stop the War Brigade), and more.
Join us for an assembly-style conversation focusing on the prospects for a new, twenty-first century internationalism. The format of the event is as follows: Prof. Calderon will begin by providing a brief diagnosis of the current crisis of humanity (what he calls the situation of global “camanchaca”). This diagnosis will be followed by a brief discussion of a democratic alternative to this global crisis, by Ms. Dilar Dirik, in which she will sketch and advocate the main features of the revolutionary democratic confederal project of the Kurdish Freedom Movement.
After this diagnosis and “prescription” have been presented, Prof. Sanal Mohan, Dr. Johanna Riha, and Mr. Darnell Stephen Summers will respond, providing views from India, from Africa, and from the United States/Europe, respectively. These introductory remarks should last for about 30 minutes. We will then open up for a broad conversation, assembly style.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/159956554664879/
Lessons from Histories of Community Organising: Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in the 1960s New Left
4:15-5:15pm (Tu13Mar): Audit Room, King’s College
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/430674127377184/
Speakers: James Tracey
“The Rainbow Coalition was code word for class struggle.”-Bob Lee, Field Secretary for the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.”
In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense established critical alliances with radical organizations across the colourline such as the Puerto Rican Young Lords, Young Patriots Organization and Rising Up Angry, both rooted in the white working-class communities of Chicago. This was a critical experiment in building class politics in a movement atomized by racism. This “Organize Your Own, But Work Together,” served as a model for many other activist formations across the United States.
Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times (Melville House) is the first book to examine these histories. Join co-author James Tracy in talk and discussion about the promises and pitfalls of this form of organizing, as well as how racist reaction can be disrupted in populist times.
James Tracy is an Adjunct Instructor at City College of San Francisco and has over two decades of experience organising for economic and urban justice in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times and Dispatches Against Displacement: Field Notes From San Francisco’s Housing Wars.
Activists and Archivists! Unite and File! – Building a Cambridge Radical History Archive [Work-In]
Organised by: CamRads
**Note: Please bring a laptop/tablet to write with if you can! Thanks**
5.30-7pm (Tu13Mar): Audit Room, King’s College
Radical History Archive is an initiative on the part of students and staff to institutionalise activist memory here in Cambridge. We, as archivists and activists, aim to recover the radical trajectories of Cambridge, lived between the monumental inscriptions of its colonial legacy, and the sanitised spaces of its neoliberal commitment. The project aims to assemble activist history and map out the state of activist movements here today, assemble their alternative archives together, and produce new ones through oral history research. The work-in calls on the interested students and staff to get involved, bring their own activist know-how on to the table, discuss how to break down the tasks, and begin assembling together more information about radical history in and of Cambridge. Facilitated by James Tracey.
For any questions, concerns, or ideas, please contact email@example.com
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1217114085089998/
Wednesday 14 March – Strike themed day of Antiracism
Antiracist Organising in Cambridge
2-3pm (We14Mar): CUSU/GU Lounge, 17 Mill Lane
In solidarity with the UCU’s industrial action, this teach-out is presented by the Black Cantabs Research Society and the African Society of Cambridge University. This teach-out will explore the past, present, and future of anti-racist organising in Cambridge, and will consider the ways that the university can become a more equitable institution.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/595572797460697/
CUCU Grads Organising Meeting
3-4pm (We14Mar): Cambridge UCU, S10, 17 Mill Lane
This meeting is a chance for Cambridge UCU grad members to get together and discuss how we can build the union among graduate students at the university. We’ll discuss what UCU grads have done in the last year, and how we can build the union in departments and colleges, but mostly we really want to hear from you! Do you have ideas about how to get grads more involved in UCU? Are there particular issues that you have experienced while working for the university? Are you concerned about how work is organised in your faculty? Do you want to know more about what the UCU is and how it can help grads negotiate both paid and unpaid work at the university? Please join us and invite your friends!
Practitioner Series with Elizabeth Davies (BBC)
Hosted by Centre for Governance and Human Rights
5-6:15pm (We14Mar): Harrods Room, Emmanuel College
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/891955760974157/
Through a mixture of substantive discussion, personal reflection and practical advice, the CGHR Practitioner Series brings together high‐level experts working in these fields and creates a forum in which students and researchers can listen and ask questions about what this work actually involves, seek out reflections from experience on the dilemmas and challenges faced, and probe the skill set and experience needed to forge a career in these fields.
Your Freedom is Mine: Film Screening of Pride (2014) and Q&A with LGSM members
4-7pm (We14Mar): Bateman Auditorium, Gonville & Caius College
Speakers: Nicola Field & Colin Clews (original members of Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners)
Join us for a screening of the hit film Pride (2014) and a Q&A with members of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, Nicola Field and Colin Clews.
Pride brought the question of strike solidarity and the connection between struggles for liberation and the trade unions to cinema screens across the country. Nicola and Colin will share their experiences as members of the original LGSM group and reflect on what are the lessons for activists today.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/423656771408656/
Thursday 15 March
Climate Emergency: March for Divestment
Hosted by Cambridge Zero Carbon Society
1-2.30pm (Th15Mar): Senate House
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/148259925991498/
Zero Carbon asks staff and others to march in solidarity with students, to call the University to divest from fossil fuels on Thursday 15th March. The same management that has been complicit in the marketisation of higher education, and been in support of pension changes, has for three years resisted calls to remove its fossil fuel investments. Last year, staff stood together with students and passed a democratic grace in the Regent House for divestment. Instead of honouring this commitment to divest, the university decided to establish a working group to evaluate its position. Now through a leaked draft of their report it has become clear that the university will not commit to full divestment from fossil fuels, and has only reaffirmed a commitment on coal and tar sands that was supposedly made two years ago. We ask you to join us in calling for a new university, one that stands for climate justice and against the domination of higher education by financial bureaucracy. We are at a crucial moment of climate crisis and the university is one power structure that we can change together. But only solidarity between staff and students will create the necessary momentum, we need your support and you to stand with us on the streets! 15.03.18, 1pm outside Senate House, join the staff bloc and help us make this university on the right side of history.
Film Screening & Q&A with Uisenma Borchu
Hosted by Sophie Seita
2:30-4.30pm (Th15Mar): Queens’ College, Fitzpatrick Hall
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/148019675890345/
In Don’t Look at Me That Way, director and lead actress Uisenma Borchu crafts an enigmatic tale about the pitfalls of monogamous expectations, breaking free of taboos, and existing as a bisexual woman of colour in a white society. Oscillating between scenes of gentleness and playful intimacy and scenes of mental cruelty and perfunctory sex, the film’s drama never weighs down too heavily on its fluid movement and on the strong performances of exclusively non-actors (apart from Bavarian veteran actor Josef Bierbichler) whose dialogue was improvised, thus moving the film closer to the documentary style of Borchu’s earlier shorter films.
We are pleased that director Uisenma Borchu will be present for a Q&A after the screening.
The Archaeology of Power and the First Recorded Strike
3-4.30pm (Th15Mar): Timmy Hele Room, Queen’s Building, Emmanuel College
Throughout the human past, those in power have tried to impose control over others. Ordinary people have used various strategies to push back. Our teach-out will show vignettes of a number of examples of how people have resisted power structures. Learn about the earliest recorded strike when the labourers at Deir el-Medina, who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, downed their tools when they did not get the wheat rations they were owed. How did Roman slaves in Pompeii tactically make their work less productive? How did Italian peasants cope with oppressive landlords? How can archaeology reveal the truth about labour relations in the American West?
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/557890124584438/
Cultures of Anxiety in and beyond the Academy
3-5pm (Th15Mar): MCR, Christ’s College
An interactive workshop aimed at University members of all levels facilitated by members of the Department of Sociology.
Anxiety is defined as an “emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry” (American Psychological Association). In this teach out we will explore emotions involved in academia that are seldom discussed, and yet feel almost universally present. It feels like we are always worried about something, and might even be encouraged to be by institutions – whether it be exam marks, scholarships, money, job security, career, pensions, having enough time, or not doing enough with our time. What does all this worrying do?
How do we name and talk about a feeling, and what is political about this naming? Do particular emotions exist outside of bodies? Where is anxiety located? And how do we counter and resist the ways institutions frame themselves as anxious?
We will consider the ways in which anxiety circulates through bodies, cultures, environments and institutions, and how these worries become both normalised, and become reasons for acting. The session will involve participation and discussion.
Epistemologies of Ignorance and the Role of Political Activism
4.30-6pm (Th15Mar): Lightfoot Room, Divinity School, St John’s College.
Speaker: Paulina Sliwa (Faculty of Philosophy)
What we know is systematically affected by the power structures within which we are embedded. This seminar will explore the notion of “White Ignorance”, coined by Charles Mills, as well as related notions in feminist writing. How can such systematic ignorance be overcome? We will look at the epistemic potential of political activism, drawing on work by Elizabeth Anderson and Sally Haslanger.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1309461972530701/
Post-truth Teachouts: Film Screening: HyperNormalisation (2016)
5-8PM (Th15Mar), Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane
Film Screening: HyperNormalisation, directed by Adam Curtis.
We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, random bomb attacks. And those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – they have no idea what to do.
This film is the epic story of how we got to this strange place. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them. It shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us we accept it as normal.
But there is another world outside. Forces that politicians tried to forget and bury forty years ago – that then festered and mutated – but which are now turning on us with a vengeful fury. Piercing though the wall of our fake world.
Free event, but registration requested.