2 Sep 2010

Second LAPCSF seminar on "Cultural Studies and the Questions of 'Race' in the Postimperial Era"

Date:  Wednesday 8th September, 6:00~9:00pm

Chair: Oliver Dew (Birkbeck)

6:00~6:45  A keynote from Paul Gilroy (LSE)
Shameful history: postimperial melancholia and contested cosmopolitanism

6:45~7:15  Comments from Toshiya Ueno (Wako), followed by discussion
7:15~7:45  Paper 1: Masayoshi Kosugi (Goldsmiths), 
Cultural Studies, Multiplicity and the Question of 'Race'

7:45~8:15  Paper 2: Seigo Kayanoki (Kobe)
"Seasick, yet still docked”: reconsidering the recent domestic revival of Kani Kosen in Japan"

8:15~8:30  Comments from Ueno Toshiya
8:30~9:00  General discussion


The venue: Room 415 (Birkbeck College's main building at Malet Street)

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(1)  Masayoshi Kosugi, "Cultural Studies, Multiplicity and the Question of 'Race'"

Abstract:
Entering into the discussion through Prof. Stuart Hall's 'The West and The Rest: Discourses and Power' (1992) among other seminal Cultural Studies texts, I would like to critically examine the political, socio-cultural and ethical utility of the so-called 'non-Dualist' dialectics developed by Henri Bergson and the surrounding cultural critiques that are influenced by it.  In particular, the discussion will be explicitly framed in order to relate to the question of temporality under the schema of neo-liberal capital, and its impact upon the contemporary politics of culture induced by technological and economic variables. Most importantly, I would like to move the discussion towards a debate over 'race' and its construction through the above clues and elements.

(2) Seigo Kayanoki, “Seasick, yet still docked”: reconsidering the recent domestic revival of Kani Kosen in Japan"

In 2008, Japanese society witnessed an utterly (un)anticipated revival of the classic of prewar proletarian literature. Kani Kosen (Crab Cannery Boat), written by Kobayashi Takiji in 1929, deals with the harsh working condition of crews on board a ship catching and processing crab off the Hokkaido coast and their failed attempt to strike against capitalist exploitation. The founding that the hardships depicted in the near 80 years old proletarian novella has the anachronistic similarity with precarious lives of today’s working poor has generated the widespread readership. Fueled by the boom, many scholars have revaluated the actuality of the work in today’s Japanese context. However, it seems that there are many important issues left unquestioned. It is this problem space in which this paper will attempt to intervene. Firstly, it will be pointed out that the resurgence of interest in Kani Kosen has not been sufficiently connected with the ongoing debate on Japanese imperial past. Secondly, the paper will discuss that enough importance has not been placed on why the novel characterized by Takiji as “a page of history of capitalist intrusion in colony” was set in a boat at sea. In a manner reminiscent of Foucault’s thought on heterotopia, Takiji represents a ship as an autonomous space both of violence and resistance. In sum, what this paper will try to do is to “seajack” this boom as an opportunity for rethinking Japanese (post)colonial modernity, instead of diminishing it as being manufactured by a few trend-settlers and media’s commercial appetite.



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