CRCC Seminar Series
Semester 1 2017/18 programme
FASHIONING THE SELF: a narrative of fashion, style, identity and age
It is the late1920s. A little girl is growing up with her two brothers in a tiny ‘two-up two-down’ terraced cottage down the road from the farm. Every year she goes to a party held for local children by the village teacher in the ‘Big House’ that dominates the village. Until a secret in the little girl’s family becomes public. After that, she never goes to the Big House again. Not for many years, that is, until she has children of her own. One day, she dresses her two little girls in their Sunday best - hand-smocked satin blouses, plaid pinafores, freshly-shined shoes and ribbons in their hair - walks them across the fields back to the Big House and knocks on the door.
This presentation is an auto-ethnographic story and film clip of the part played by clothes in the fashioning of the self. For me, now, an older self. The popular media suggest that we are currently witnessing “a fashion for older women”. Do fashion designers know this? The sociologist Julia Twigg suggests that the spread of fashion opportunities to older women entails the colonisation of their bodies by new expectations, new requirements – ones that demand that they be fashionable or well dressed, but that present the body in such a way that age is as far as possible effaced. So, does fashion efface one’s age or enhance one’s agency? And how are clothes so much more than communicative of style? Let the story begin…
18/10/2017 Taku Tamaki: Japanese national identity representation in nation branding and the Cool Japan initiative
What is the relationship between Cool Japan and Japanese national identity? On the one hand, the relationship seems obvious. As a nation branding exercise promoting Japaneseness to the outside world, Cool Japan contains an element of identity representation in which the stakeholders define and package Japanese identity as a commodity to be consumed by people resulting in favourable views of Japan. On the other hand, both the top-down nature of Cool Japan and the variations in things that constitute Japan brand dilute the core message. Yet, it is precisely this challenge of coherence that prompts stakeholders to invoke the traditional Japanese identity narratives that construct Japan into both a non-Western and an un-Asian entity, effectively reproducing the myth of Japanese uniqueness. In short, the narratives of Cool Japan are a 21st century rearticulation of the familiar Japanese identity narratives.
Taku Tamaki is a Lecturer in International Relations, specialising in the international political dynamics of the Asia-Pacific region. After gaining his PhD at Aberystwyth, he was Research Fellow at the Institute of Asian Cultural Studies at International Christian University in Tokyo, and taught International Relations at Plymouth before moving to Loughborough in 2007. He has taught a wide range of courses on international politics and international political economy, including International Relations Theory, the United Nations and International Organisations, The Asia-Pacific in Global Politics, and the International Political Economy of the Asia-Pacific Region.
Diversity is poorly represented in Danish cultural institutions, as they often focus on and re-tell the story of the “homogenous and harmonious” nation of Denmark only recently being influenced by migration. Although few institutions recognise this shared narrative as imagined (despite extensive historical and archaeological evidence) some museums and founding bodies have in the last decade begun the work connected to including and portraying the diverse people of Denmark, but with very different approaches. It is these first attempts of creating representation of migrants, descendants and racialised individuals that Sabrina Vitting-Seerup is researching and will share with us at this event. Since one of the main problems faced by the Danish cultural institutions is the difficulty many of their employees have discussing racialization and religion, it is challenging for the people researching and working in cultural institutions to discuss and correct the current skewed representation in Danish culture. By using the notion of the postmigration condition as a starting point combined with an intersectional approach to the problem of skewed representation, Vitting-Seerup is working towards creating the language and models needed to move towards a more inclusive and truthful representation in the cultural products displayed and supported by Danish cultural institutions.
Sabrina Vitting-Seerup is a PhD Fellow in Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen and the current World Public Speaking Champion. She started working on her PhD in January 2016 as part of an interdisciplinary research group focusing on art, culture and politics in the ‘postmigrant condition’. Her research focuses on the way Danish cultural institutions and contemporary cultural products depict migrants and their descendants. She is currently based in Brighton working on finishing her comparative studies of cultural representations of diversity in British cultural institutions.
Please note this session will take place in James France D109.
15/11/2017 Thilo Lang (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography): Peripheral but global: World market leaders outside of agglomerations
Brockington Building U122
1pm – 2pm
Within a current research project studying processes of spatialisation under the global condition, world market leaders (WML) are conceptualized as highly innovative firms which maintain particularly strong trans-local relationships with other actors. These firms must be capable of not only marketing their products globally, but also of continuously generating knowledge about the respective technological fields as well as about users, competitors and potential collaboration partners in order to sustain their competitive advantage and market leadership.
Partially contradictory to assumptions of the literature on the geographies of innovation, these firms do not seem to be primarily reliant on local forms of knowledge creation and instead maintain trans-local and global collaborations to create knowledge for their innovation processes. The aim of the project is thus to understand firm-level conditions and procedures that facilitate and maintain relationships across distance to create knowledge for innovation processes.
Regarding the research design, a standardised survey to investigate innovation patterns of firms at focus is currently under way. The survey will be enlarged by a random sample of WML located in agglomerations to carve out potential differences regarding the implementation of innovative activities dependent on the location. Which conditions and procedures enable WML located outside of agglomerations to engage in and utilise trans-local knowledge creation processes? What role does the firms’ own location and their interrelations with actors within the region play in relation to trans-local knowledge creation and to what extent can geographically distant relationships replace or supplement local opportunities for knowledge exchange?
The presentation will focus on conceptual issues but include first results based on an analysis of the German world market leader database and some first insights based on data from the German community innovation survey.
22/11/2017 Simon Goodman (Coventry): ‘The roles of category use and Brexit throughout debates about the ‘refugee crisis’
The ‘refugee crisis’ refers to the movement of people into Europe from 2015 onwards. This event also coincided with campaigning over ‘Brexit’, in which the British public eventually voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) spring 2016. This talk will present discourse analyses of three aspects of the way in which the crisis was presented and debated. First, it will be shown how the terminology used to present the ‘crisis’ and those people involved has evolved, with the location and category of people involved in the crisis changing following key events. Second, the way in which immigration figured into the Brexit campaign is addressed, showing that (1) leave campaigners presented immigration as out of control. This included immigration from outside of the EU and those arriving in Europe as refugees. (2) Remain campaigners presented Brexit as an ineffective way of controlling migration and (3) in limited cases immigration was presented as beneficial. Finally, it is shown how Brexit became topicalised in the refugee debate, where ‘problematic’ refugees were used to show why Brexit is necessary. Together this suggests that the leave campaign’s attempts to link Brexit with migration were successful.
29/11/2017 Oksana Sarkisova: Snapshot Histories: The Soviet Century through the Prism of Vernacular Photography.
1pm-2pm, Brockington Building U.1.22
Memories of the Soviet era have been subject to multiple inquiries over the past few years. Most of them are preoccupied with the cultural memory of the Soviet terror, as well as with the cultural production that, often under state sponsorship, seeks to package and sell the new patriotic narrative which ties the USSR into a longue durée story of the Russian greatness. Less attention has so far been granted to the practices of remembering that occur in the micro‑social milieu of the family. This talk presents a collaborative project run with my Willams College colleague Prof. Olga Shevchenko that is dedicated to filling in this lacuna by exploring the way the Soviet era is remembered when people in Russia look through their family photo albums. The ethnographic material for this project comes from the 156 semi-structured interviews with members of 54 two‑, three‑ and four‑generational families from five regions of Russia, and the visual archive of the photographs from their albums. We are interested in the criteria people use when sifting through their familial experience to identify the elements that they consider worth remembering. How do the photographs, both as images and as material relics, participate in the ways people reconstruct their family past? The presentation will highlight similarities and differences in the ways different generations within one family construe their family histories. For each of them, photographs provide a rich resource for building and authenticating the different versions of the family past.
Dr Oksana Sarkisova is Research Fellow at Blinken OSA Archivum at Central European University (Budapest), Director of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Verzio (www.verzio.org) and co-founder of CEU Visual Studies Platform (vsp.ceu.edu). She has published on Soviet and Russian cinema and amateur photography, co-edited Past for the Eyes: East European Representations of Communism in Cinema and Museums after 1989 (2008), and authored Screening Soviet Nationalities: Kulturfilms from the Far North to Central Asia (2017). Her fields of research are early Soviet cinema, documentary filmmaking, amateur film and photography, and politics of memory.
Her current project is "Snapshot Histories: Family Photography and Generational Memories of Russia's Socialist Century," in collaboration with Dr. Olga Shevchenko, Williamstown, USA.
1pm – 2pm, Brockington Building U122
An escalating number of crises appear in the sport industry in general and the football industry in particular that make the area of crisis communication an increasingly important matter in both the everyday running and the long-term viability of football. However, the sensitivity of the topic paired with the culture of the football industry makes an extensive analysis on current practice in crisis communications a particularly challenging task. This study aims to provide insight on the matter by investigating the current practices and techniques employed in English Premier League clubs, as they were presented by communications professionals working in the clubs. The analysis of the clubs’ practices does not only uncover the management of crisis communications and its almost complete lack of proactivity, but also sheds light on the cultural peculiarities of the sport and the importance and use networks by the individuals employed within it.