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New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its Others

New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its Others

9th and 10th June 2016

Venue: Silverstone Building, University of Sussex, Brighton UK


Gargi Bhattacharyya, University of East London – author of Traffick, the illicit movement of people and things and Dangerous Brown Men.

Arun Kundnani – author of ‘The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror’

Sally Munt, Director Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies, University of Sussex – author of Cosmopolitan Dharma: Race, Sexuality and Gender in British Buddhism.

Tamara Shefer, University of the Western Cape – author of Racist sexualisation and sexualised racism in narratives on apartheid.

Call for Papers

Neo-liberalism is in crisis. But it keeps driving on. However, in ambition, depth, degree of break with the past, variety of sites being colonized, impact on common sense and everyday behaviour, restructuring of the social architecture, neo-liberalism does constitute a hegemonic project (Stuart Hall The Neoliberal Revolution2011).

Building on the success of the conference New Racisms: Forms of Un/Belonging in Britain Today in 2014, the Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies would like to invite you to New Racisms II: Neoliberalism and its Others.

As the hegemonic process of neoliberalism drives forward, conceptualisations of race, racial hierarchies and racial politics continue to develop in the UK and beyond. These changes have occurred against a background of global conflict, neo-imperialist projects and the forcible displacement of peoples. In this conference we would like to explore these shifts, analysing the intersections of race and racism with gender and others axes of identity. Although we welcome papers in any area relating to the conference title, in particular we would like to encourage papers on the following five themes:

The Refugee Crisis and Xenophobia

According to UNHCR’s report World at War, 56.5 million people were forcibly displaced in 2014, 19 million more than a decade ago. In 2014 there were more refugees than at any time since records began, with conflicts in Syria and Ukraine adding to the flows of people moving out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. These numbers are incremented further when the refugees of global capitalism are taken into account. Participants are invited to consider how (historical and contemporary) colonisation, free market trade agreements, land regulation and ecological decline intertwine in different contexts to force people from their homes, and how, within Fortress Europe, this might relate to the forms of state fascism and street racism refugees encounter in its decaying capitalist centres.

Anti-Muslim Racisms

In the post 9/11 world the rise in anti-Muslim racism continues unabated. How has the process of neoliberalism affected and contributed to this? In particular we invite contributions on anti-Muslim racism but also those exploring state practices on surveillance and the policing and management of multiculturalism, both of which are closely associated with counter terrorism policies. As with the former theme, this invites additional consideration of global wars, and their historical, economic and colonial rationales.

Far Right Movements

Alongside the refugee crisis and increasing anti-Muslim racism we see the rise in far right movements; this encompasses the rise of neo-fascism in the form of Pegida, Britain First, and the EDL, the strengthening of traditional far right nationalist parties such as the French National Front, as well as a more general shift to the right within mainstream politics as exemplified by the electoral successes of UKIP in Britain and other right wing parties across Europe. In the US we have seen the unlikely emergence of Donald Trump as a credible Presidential candidate because of or in spite of his anti-Muslim platform. Forming in relation to capitalist inequality and the ‘us and them’ discourses of European and US racisms, these movements also correspond with local identity-based communities. We are interested in what these far right movements mean and what an effective anti-racist resistance might entail.

Austerity and the Making of a New Underclass

Following the financial crash of 2008, governments have responded to the ensuing crisis with harsh austerity measures. Such policy responses have asymmetrically affected different groups of people, with those who are most marginalised bearing the brunt of such measures. This can be understood at global, regional and national levels. In this conference, we are interested in what role ‘race’ played in these developments and what new forms of politics are developing in resistance. We invite potential participants to consider how racism and neoliberalism help us to understand how suffering is outsourced to different fringes. As the 2015 Paris Climate Conference revealed, the world’s peoples furthest from the capitalist centre stand to lose most from the over-exploitation of global resources. At a regional level, austerity is outsourced to Europe’s south (and east) contributing directly to the nexus of xeno-racism, anti-Muslim racism and far right movements outlined above. In the UK, the neoliberal project encourages black and minority youth to aspire to consumerism, at the same time they continue to be treated as members of a ‘subject’ race.

Higher Education and Race

These politics of austerity are tied inimically to the marketization of higher education and its racial registers. This conference invites participants to consider how these developments relate to the study of ‘race’ itself, as well as to the issue of diversity amongst both students and staff. The UK government’s recently imposed statutory duty to prevent radicalisation on public bodies such as the university affects and is affected by the production of anti-Muslim racism as the #EducationNotSurveillance campaigns testify. As with the above themes, this question is also globally connected. The #RhodesMustFall campaign has highlighted the colonial and racial dimensions of the marketisation and inequality of neoliberal education in South Africa. These postcolonial, racial and capitalist orders invite further reflection on how UK Higher Education is organised. It further invites consideration of the pitfalls and possibilities of global and local responses to such predicaments.

Over the last fifty years, Cultural Studies has provided a fertile platform for inter and cross-disciplinary work in these areas. Between literary criticism, history, anthropology, media studies, sociology, geography and visual arts, this two-day conference aims to develop this by drawing together contemporary work exploring race in cultural studies against the background of global and local neoliberal hegemonies. It hopes to address the political dynamics of contemporary culture; analysing, contesting, and imagining beyond, the changing dynamics of race and racism in the neoliberal moment.

In the spirit of cultural studies the organisers would like to positively encourage submissions from academic and non-academic practitioners. It is hoped that this variety of formats might reflect the breadth of research and practice in this field and collect an inter-disciplinary response to race and racism in the neoliberal moment.

Formats could include, but are not restricted to:

•           Installations

•           Visual arts

•           Short films

•           Literature – poems, spoken word, music

•           Sound art

•           Conference papers (between 15 and 30 minutes).

Submissions corresponding to the main themes are encouraged, but other submissions are also welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact the organisers if you are unsure.

Conference fees (including lunch and refreshments) for the two days are as follows: £160 academics and those in full time work, £50 students/low paid, £50 charity sector/NGOs. There is a bursary to support voluntary and community organisations.

Conference dinner (optional) £25.

Registration will open on 1st April 2016 with information provided on Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies web pages

Deadline for proposals is 14th March 2016. Please submit 1 page abstracts including your name, affiliation, and indicate whether you would prefer a 15 minute or 30 minute slot for your parallel session/panel. Panel submissions are also welcome. We aim to let people know by 18th March if your proposal is accepted.


Dr Malcolm James

Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies

Associate Director, Sussex Centre for Cultural Studies


Categories: Algorithmic Authoritarianism and Digital Repression Interested Shadow Mobilization, Astroturfing and Manipulation