My Comment on ‘Blood’ by Gil Anidjar

I was asked to participate in an event recently organised by the Philosophy @ UWS initiative, Encountering the Author, a discussion of Blood: A Critique of Christianity by the Columbia University Professor of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Gil Anidjar. I could not attend but produced a recording of my commentary which can be heard here.

I found the book absolutely fascinating but I wanted to discuss what implications thinking with blood has for race critical and decolonial scholarship or, in other words, what does Blood add to race?

Critical comments welcomed.

 

New Book: Racism & Sociology

Racism and SociologyMy new edited collection, Racism and Sociology, co-edited with Wulf D. Hund is out.  It is part of the Racism Analysis Yearbook series published by Lit Verlag. The book includes cutting edge papers by Les Back and Maggie Tate, Sirma Bilge, Barnor Hesse, Silvia Maeso and Marta Araujo and Felix Losing in addition to Wulf and I.

Contents: Wulf D. Hund: Racism in White Sociology. From Adam Smith to Max Weber – Alana Lentin: Postracial Silences. The Othering of Race in Europe – Felix Lösing: From the Congo to Chicago. Robert E. Park’s Romance with Racism – Les Back, Maggie Tate: Telling About Racism. W.E.B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall and Sociology’s Reconstruction – Barnor Hesse: Racism’s Alterity. The After-Life of Black Sociology – Sirma Bilge: Whitening Intersectionality. Evanescence of Race in Intersectionality Scholarship – Silvia Rodríguez Maeso, Marta Araújo: The Politics of (Anti-)Racism. Academic Research and Policy Discourse in Europe

ACRAWSA Conference 2014

State of Race Panel I. Photo courtesy of ACRAWSA

State of Race Panel I. Photo courtesy of ACRAWSA

I just got back from Brisbane where I co-coordinated two panels at the 2014 Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Conference with my colleagues from the Centre for Muslim and Non-Muslim Understanding at the University of South Australia, Gilbert Caluya and Yassir Morsi.

The first panel, on ‘The State of Race I: Postracialism and its Limits’ had papers by myself, Angela Mitropolous, Gilbert Caluya and Yassir Morsi. Continue reading

Should Pussy Riot Boycott the Festival of Dangerous Ideas?

FODIA Head-to-head published in The Guardian on 29 August 2014.

On 11 August an anonymous group published an open letter to two ex-members of Pussy Riot. The group called on Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova to withdraw from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas taking place this weekend at the Sydney Opera House, due to the links between the St James Ethics Centre, co-organisers of the event, and the government’s cruel and illegal policy of mandatory detention, Operation Sovereign Borders. I support this initiative.  The St James Ethics Centre’s board includes retired Major General Andrew James Molan, the paid special envoy of Operation Sovereign Borders and former chief of operations of the allied forces in Iraq. Until 19 July this year, the Board of the St James Ethics Centre Foundation, the Centre’s fundraising wing, also included Douglas Sneddon, director of the board of Transfield Services and chair of the Transfield Services human resources committee.On 11 August an anonymous group published an open letter to two ex-members of Pussy Riot. The group called on Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova to withdraw from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas taking place this weekend at the Sydney Opera House, due to the links between the St James Ethics Centre, co-organisers of the event, and the government’s cruel and illegal policy of mandatory detention, Operation Sovereign Borders. I support this initiative.  The St James Ethics Centre’s board includes retired Major General Andrew James Molan, the paid special envoy of Operation Sovereign Borders and former chief of operations of the allied forces in Iraq. Until 19 July this year, the Board of the St James Ethics Centre Foundation, the Centre’s fundraising wing, also included Douglas Sneddon, director of the board of Transfield Services and chair of the Transfield Services human resources committee.On 11 August an anonymous group published an open letter to two ex-members of Pussy Riot. The group called on Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova to withdraw from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas taking place this weekend at the Sydney Opera House, due to the links between the St James Ethics Centre, co-organisers of the event, and the government’s cruel and illegal policy of mandatory detention, Operation Sovereign Borders. I support this initiative.  The St James Ethics Centre’s board includes retired Major General Andrew James Molan, the paid special envoy of Operation Sovereign Borders and former chief of operations of the allied forces in Iraq. Until 19 July this year, the Board of the St James Ethics Centre Foundation, the Centre’s fundraising wing, also included Douglas Sneddon, director of the board of Transfield Services and chair of the Transfield Services human resources committee.On 11 August an anonymous group published an open letter to two ex-members of Pussy Riot. The group called on Masha Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova to withdraw from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas taking place this weekend at the Sydney Opera House, due to the links between the St James Ethics Centre, co-organisers of the event, and the government’s cruel and illegal policy of mandatory detention, Operation Sovereign Borders. I support this initiative.

Read the rest of the article on The Guardian website

Sydney Biennale boycott victory shows that divestment works

Injuries sustained by Manus Island detainees after the deadly attacks of February 2014

An article I co-wrote with Javed De Costa of Beyond Borders on why the Boycott of the 19th Sydney Biennale over its involvement with Transfield, the company that runs the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, was an important first step in the campaign to boycott and divest from the profits of mandatory detention.

Last Friday, the seemingly impossible happened. Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, director of Transfield Holdings, resigned from his position as chair of the board of the Biennale of Sydney. He tweeted “I hope that blue sky may now open over this 19th @biennalesydney”, as the Biennale simultaneously dropped Transfield’s funding.

Read the rest on the Guardian website…

 

On the Indignance of the White Left

For over a month I have been ensconced in the rapidly evolving campaign attacking the supply chains that prop up the Australian system of mandatory detention. This has largely been through playing a supporting role in the blog, Cross Border Operational Matters in the context of which I am learning from long time activists from the Melbourne based Beyond Borders group, especially the burgeoning Women’s Caucus, as well as the unequalled intellectual and organising capacities of Angela Mitropoulos whose work I read many moons before ever dreaming about finding myself in this colonial outpost of the Southern Hemisphere. Recently, I have been particularly thankful for the interventions of Liz Thompson, long time open borders activist and Manus Island whistle blower. Apart from her crucial interview on the SBS Dateline show last week, her recent article in which she explains why she chose not to address the Refugee Action Coalition rally in Melbourne last Saturday was a vital intervention into the politics of the stagnated refugee movement such as it is in Australia.

Liz argued that

I have become increasingly concerned about the self-promoting, NGO-proliferating arm of the “refugee movement”, the lack of self-reflection on the amount of space taken up by white people saying “not in my name”. These rallies serve to reinforce and reorganise a white refugee movement that speaks on behalf of others.

Continue reading

xBorder Operational Matters

An asylum seeker says the burns on his hands were caused by Australian Navy personnel holding his hands to hot parts of a boat engine.

This last few weeks has provided a quick lesson in the myth and mechanics of border policing in and beyond Australia. Linked is a Working Paper on ‘operational matters’ in the campaigns around border issues in and beyond Australia. It is meant to provoke a focused discussion about how to bring about change. [An earlier version of this was distributed on January 26, 2013.]

Last Talk: Good and Bad Diversity

I recently gave a talk on Good and Bad Diversity: The Crisis of Multiculturalism as a Crisis of Politics at the Reconfiguring Antiracism Conference, held at Deakin University, Melbourne (9-10 December 2013). This paper emerges from The Crises of Multiculturalism, the book I co-wrote with Gavan Titley in 2011 and ‘Post-race, Post-Politics’, the article I published in Ethnic and racial Studies in 2012 (Online First) and which is free to read until the end of 2013. I am now moving on to a new phase of research involving a number of strands – the transformation of race through digital communication networks and the challenge for internationalist antiracism (with Gavan Titley), the relationship between racism in public and public racism, and the silence about race in mainstream migration sociology. As I leave The Crises behind, I thought I’d share this audio of my last public talk in which this book figures. I can’t keep dining out on it forever (!), however its impact and the questions it opened up for me will continue through my work into the future. Watch this space…