“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Occupy as Form


Please circulate to ARC affiliates, interested UC faculty, interested CCA faculty, and selected graduate students and Bay Area colleagues working on the arts and civic space.

OCCUPY AS FORM: A WORKING SESSION, 9:30am to 4:30pm, Friday, February 10, 370 Dwinelle, University of California, Berkeley

The word 'occupy' now has new resonance in our current moment as do several other terms with which it has been allied: occupation, assembly, event, site-specificity, neighborhood, DIY, sit-in, encampment, settlement, network, labor, profession, public health, public safety. On the one hand, the Occupy movement is so wide, varied, complex, and protean, it can be hard to create a space of reflection that won't be dated the next day. On the other hand, as cities throughout the U.S. and the world take down Occupy encampments, it is all the more important to activate reflection about the movement's significance, its techniques, and its future.

As a modest contribution to such reflection, the Arts Research Center invites interlocutors to take up what might be called the "formal" questions of the concepts related to Occupation, a charge that we hope will focus thinking and begin to plot an expanded set of associations, histories, and analytic frames. Rather than a series of official public lectures, we are inviting faculty, graduate students, and Bay Area colleagues in relevant fields to participate in a more inductive process of reflection, discussion, presentation, and more reflection.

Registration and Attendance: Individuals who want to take part will first submit one paragraph (no more than 500 words) on a keyword associated with the Occupy movement. This can be any term that moves you, and it may have a range of references. This is not an abstract per se, but a discursive offering to the group to galvanize our collective thinking. You are welcome to include links to posters, pamphlets, and short videos as well. Paragraphs will be posted on the ARC blog by February 1, and participants will all read each others' nascent reflections by February 10. This paragraph is your "registration" into the gathering; lunch and snacks will be provided for you throughout the day. Send blog post to Sarah Gibbons at sgibbons@berkeley.edu by January 31, ccing Michele Rabkin, micheler@berkeley.edu.

Format and Participants: The final roster and format will be composed on February 1st after all blog posts have been received. While we know that sub-topics will change, we currently imagine sessions on over-arching concepts such as Labor, Site, and Sociality. Sessions will be formatted and guided by fellow coordinators-- Julia Bryan-Wilson (UCB), Shannon Jackson (UCB), Seth Holmes (UCB), Ted Purves (CCA), and Blake Stimson (UCD)--and include contributions from Greg Levine (UCB), Saba Mahmood (UCB), Michele Rabkin (UCB), and……you! We strongly encourage participants to gather for the entire day in order to cross-reference and build the conversation.

Location and Time: The event will be held in 370 Dwinelle on the 7th floor of Dwinelle Hall on the Berkeley campus, beginning with a continental breakfast. Lunch will also be provided to all "registered" participants. Dwinelle Hall is relatively near the Berkeley Downtown BART station, and garage parking is available off of Durant Street as well as in the downtown district of Berkeley.

Shannon Jackson
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor
Director, Arts Research Center
Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies
Member, Budget Committee
University of California
215 Dwinelle Annex
Berkeley, Ca 94720

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