Archive for May, 2010

Illuminating and infuriating

8 May 2010

In today’s “The Interview” on the BBC Word Service, Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, gave an insightful and comprehensive overview of the possible causes of the financial crisis, discussing among others how the nature of both the product (sub-prime mortgage) and the customer (the borrower) has been redefined, the cosy relationship between regulators and investment banks, the stories of the few investors who actually made money, and also the role of Goldman Sachs. Listen to it on the BBC website (28 min).

More Middlesex in The Guardian

8 May 2010

Finally news of the Middlesex affair reach the mainstream media. The Guardian brings extensive coverage of the closure of the Middlesex philosophy department and the international outrage it has triggered.

International academics protest at Middlesex philosophy closure

Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek and others urge dean to reverse department closure as students occupy campus building

The Guardian on Middlesex

6 May 2010

A bit of coverage in The Guardian on the Middlesex occupation:

Universities and colleges hit by industrial action

“Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at King’s College, London, are in the second day of a walkout over a £27m cuts programme at the institution, while at Middlesex approximately 30 students are occupying the university’s Mansion building in protest at the planned closure of the philosophy department. (…)

The 30 Middlesex students have been staging a peaceful sit-in since Tuesday morning calling for the university to reverse its decision to shut the world-renowned philosophy department. Anindya Bhattacharyya, an MA student, said they had mainly been studying, having rigged up a pulley system to get their books into the building.”

Middlesex newscast

6 May 2010

Watch this news report from the Middlesex occupation site:

Sign the petition and join the Facebook group to protest against the closure of the Middlesex philosophy department.

Middlesex letter

6 May 2010

Letter in Times Higher Education, signed by Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot, Jacques Ranciere, Gayatri Spivak, Slavoj Zizek and 24 others:

“We the undersigned deplore Middlesex University’s recent decision to close its philosophy programmes, including its prestigious and successful MAs. This is a matter of national and indeed international concern. Not only does it contradict Middlesex’s stated commitment to promote ‘research excellence’, it also represents a startling stage in the impoverishment of philosophy provision in the UK.” Read the rest here.

Add your voice by leaving your comment at the Times Higher Education articles, signing the petition and joining the Facebook group.

Times Higher Education articles:

Update: Times Higher Education have now published the full list of signatories. A very impressive list indeed, featuring leading philosophers of our time. If Dean Edward Esche at Middlesex is not familiar with these names, perhaps the Vice-Chancellor, members of the University Executive, and its Board of Governors should do a little Google search for these names just to get an idea of the damage they are causing to the Middlesex brand.

Here is the full list (from Times Higher Education):

Keith Ansell-Pearson, professor of philosophy, University of Warwick

Alain Badiou, emeritus professor of philosophy, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Etienne Balibar, emeritus professor of philosophy, Université de Paris-Nanterre, and distinguished professor of humanities, University of California, Irvine

Miguel Beistegui, professor of philosophy, University of Warwick

Andrew Benjamin, professor of critical theory and philosophical aesthetics, Monash University, Australia

Andrew Bowie, professor of philosophy and German, Royal Holloway, University of London

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot professor of rhetoric and comparative literature, University of California, Berkeley

Susan Buck-Morss, Jan Rock Zubrow professor of government, Cornell University, New York

Barbara Cassin, directeur de recherches, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris

Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy and chair of the philosophy department, New School for Social Research, New York

Christopher Fynsk, professor of comparative literature and modern thought, and director of the Centre for Modern Thought, University of Aberdeen

Simon Glendinning, reader in European philosophy, London School of Economics, and director of the Forum for European Philosophy

Boris Groys, professor of Slavic and Russian studies, New York University

Michael Hardt, professor of literature, Duke University, NC

Harry Harootunian, emeritus professor of history, Chicago and New York universities

Joanna Hodge, professor of philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University

Claude Imbert, emeritus professor of philosophy, École Normale Supérieure, Paris

Mandy Merck, professor of media arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dermot Moran, professor of philosophy, University College Dublin

Michael Moriarty FBA, centenary professor of French literature and thought, Queen Mary, University of London

Antonio Negri, philosopher and political scientist

Jacques Rancière, emeritus professor of philosophy, Université de Paris VIII

Kristin Ross, professor of comparative literature, New York University

Lynne Segal, anniversary professor, psychosocial studies, Birkbeck, University of London

Peter Sloterdijk, rektor der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe

Gayatri Spivak, university professor in the humanities, Columbia University, New York

Isabelle Stengers, professor of philosophy, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Peter Weibel, chairman and CEO, ZKM/Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe

James Williams, professor of European philosophy, University of Dundee

Slavoj Zizek, co-director of the International Centre for Humanities, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London

Research as Exhibition

6 May 2010

Beyond the Academy: Research as Exhibition” – a symposium at Tate Britain Auditorium on Friday 14 May 2010, 10.00–17.30,  featuring, among others, Bruno Latour and Noortje Marres.

The exhibition is increasingly being reframed as a ‘research output’, but what can new forms of research and collaboration bring to the concept and curatorship of the exhibition? Is the idea of the exhibition being distorted or creatively extended by new disciplinary practices and knowledge? In what ways do new forms of research exhibitions create new types of knowledge and experience for the audience?

Hat tip to Mutable Matter.

Update (6 May 2010): I’ve been just told that Latour will also take part in a panel discussion at the following event at the LSE in the afternoon of 14 May:

Richard Sennett: The Sociology of Public Life

Sociology Department conference

Date: Friday 14 May 2010

Time: 2-6pm

Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Speakers: Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Bruno Latour, Alan Rusbridger, Professor Judy Wajcman, David Adjaye, Professor Geoff Mulgan, Lord Richard Rogers, Polly Toynbee

Chairs: Professor Lord Anthony Giddens, Professor Ricky Burdett

In this exciting half-day conference two panels on ‘Public Life and Public Policy’ and ‘Cities and the Public Realm’, discuss these themes in the context of the work of Professor Sennett, the eminent sociologist whose recent books include The Culture of the New Capitalism and The Craftsman.

Middlesex occupation

4 May 2010

Philosophers at Middlesex take their occupation very seriously:

More at:

Make sure to sign the petition and join the Facebook group.