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Page history last edited by yuk.hui 12 years, 2 months ago

Click this link to follow the history of discussions and future plans



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30 June, 2008

1. The summary of the first meeting is updated (it is not complete, please feel free to edit and comment. -Yuk)

2. Anyone who wants to have a wiki account please sent an email to me or Hanna.




In the attack the headquarter events there were voices asking for changes. Some were exited, some were frustrated, some were content, some were dissatisfied. What could we make out of that? What comes next after the head quarter was attacked? What if there remains another headquarter with a new dress?


Did we just create something that further justifies our existence and our way of being? We, teaching staff and students, are all fulfilling the request of institutions, since we have been codified by a series of formats, phd seminars, reading groups, exams, panels. The way the programs are planned and carried out already determine our ways of being and codify our identities – both as individuals and as an institution.


We appreciate all the discussions during the 12 hours meeting, we are also impressed by most of the insightful critiques. The wishes for changes, transformations, and twists were, however, not common wishes. They did not have a goal, a direction, or a unified identity. What comes next is still a question?


This is where we can start. Instead of thinking of how to improve teaching and learning, we want to think from the perspective of community. Institution itself brings us into being, but there lies another concern of “being with”, which has more to do with interaction, communication. This does not mean coming behind one cause, under one banner, but it means being together after we have come together. The task is not to define a common goal or to change the institution, because we are the goal and we are the institution.


We are writing to invite your participation to a project, which aims at a more radical way of rethinking the event. We have only one proposition to make: WE HAVE TO TAKE OVER THE CENTRE TOGETHER. The only way to attack the headquarter, is to abolish the headquarter. We, the students and those staff members who are willing to, should take over the planning and the building of the centre (not the money or jobs) – for one year as an experiment. To “Take over” is not to replace the headquarter, or seize the power, but to conquest the headquarter with a new form of communication – through being together, and starting our thinking as well as our learning all over again each day. There is no power to be seized, there is only power to be or to do.


We look for a communication, which transforms the relations between educator and educatee from a subject-object relation into a process of active sharing of knowledge, experience and intuition. It means deconstructing the hierarchies and identities we have voluntarily taken as students and teachers, as experts and non-experts. We can start it as a project. We can call it minoritarian thinking. We can call it learning with each others, instead of from others.


What are the questions to be asked? Maybe we should not have any predetermined way to do things, we should not do anything if we do not want it. We can ask, who should plan the MA and PhD programs? Do we want a PhD seminar? If we do, who should plan it – the students or the staff, or both? Do we want to read in the seminars, or do we want to start our thinking from somewhere else? How can students take part in the research? How can we make students contribute, give, instead of taking or receiving? How could students run the centre together with the staff, or how can we abolish these identities altogether?


You can say that we have already asked these questions, that we already have more freedom than many others. But our task is to ask, whether this really is the case… Let’s ask ourselves: why do we have readers waiting for us when we enrol; why does the staff know what the students are doing but the students do not know what the staff is doing. As we all know, the main obstacle for changes in the academia has traditionally been the common reluctance to give up the structures of power and authorities. If we have any trust at all in the CCS, we must believe this cannot be the case here. In other words, this is not supposed to be a student revolt, but creating a coming community for all of us at the CCS.


We, the initiators, call for everyone to take over our thinking, as an opening but not as a ready-made program. We do not have any answers to your questions: the communication should start here: we want to here your responses and meet you next week at Laurie Grove. Meanwhile, all those interested, please, contact us or use the newborn wiki: ccsgold.pbwiki.com


Yuk Hui: huiyuk (a) gmail.com

Hanna Kuusela: hanna.r.kuusela (a) gmail.com


Comments (13)

ccsgold said

at 12:01 am on Jun 12, 2008

I like the enthusiasm here and the attempt to carry the event further, but I find a few things mentioned a bit silly.

For example, what's the problem with having a reading pack waiting for us when we arrive? No one tells you you have to read it, or what not to read. And what is this point about the students not knowing what the staff are doing? All the staff have a profile page on the ccs website, including bibliography and research interests; john's blog is advertised on every email he sends us.

I agree that there is a necessity for something like a community able to realise its potential for self-determination. But I think you're asking for things we already more-or-less have. What about the difficult questions of the horrific direction academia is going as a whole, and what we can do about it? How is scrapping the reader going to make any difference there?


ccsgold said

at 8:34 am on Jun 12, 2008

'The only way to take ove the headquarter is to abolish the headquarter' sounds very differently from 'how can students run the centre together with the staff?'. The first sentence sounds like a war-slogan. You or me. The second sounds like active co-existence in a spirit of mutual recognition. A 'communication which transforms the relations between educator and educatee from a subject-object relation into a process of active sharing of knowledge, experience and institution' seems to me to be possible onlyy with the second sentence. why should anyone in the Centre want to work together with you, if you threaten to extinguish them? Just an observation (relatively) from the outside.


yuk.hui said

at 10:34 am on Jun 12, 2008

hi james, thank you for appreciation and pointing out the silly things. the reader, seems to be a minor thing compared with the vision to change the practice of cultural studies, to us, a reader already tell us something, the format of doing seminars by reading, the course has to be completed by reading these articles, hanna and i talked about the idea of unreading, and the objects raised in susan's presentation in attack the headquarter, the question is not should or shouldn't we need a reader, but do we need a reader, if yes then what it is.
and i am sure that you can buy the books by our lectures and professors, not to mention the websites, but i am also sure that every non-ccs students can do the same thing, they may even know much better than us what our staff are doing, the point again is not about knowing, but a communitarian idea to attend certain transparency and improve the academic communication.
another question is why the headquarter is ccs, but not cultural studies, goldsmiths, university of london, we do believe that by transforming a headquarter which we study and practice can give us a better insight of the future.
again, hanna and i don't have a plan, and we don't want to have a plan as well, it is a group project as we perceived it to be, we don't expect everyone to join us, and we didn't force anyone to join us, if there is misunderstanding in the rhetorics, we would like to clarify here.

Hanna said

at 11:42 am on Jun 12, 2008

To add something to Yuk's comment and to reply to Julia.... At least for me abolishing the headquarter does not mean threatening or extinguishing anyone or going into war against anyone, on the contrary, it means abolishing the idea that there is a headquarter or a logics of a headquarter. In other words, abolishing the headquerter would mean that in the end there would be no headquarter, which someone would have to attack or defend. But rather there would only be a place where we are doing things together and communicating. (This is of course not to say that we would not be doing it already...)

This is why we also say it is not supposed to be a student revolt, but a joint attempt to work without hierarchies and actively build a community.


PS. And what comes to the readers, I'd say they are definitely not the main point, but simply an example on which people can agree or disagree,...

ccsgold said

at 12:27 pm on Jun 12, 2008

James: My response to Yuk's last comment was too long for the wiki so it's now a separate page - "James - further concerns and support"

ccsgold said

at 12:34 pm on Jun 12, 2008

James: OK Hanna - so what you really want is to abolish the "head" of the headquarters? Maybe "Open the hindquarters"? But that might have all sorts of unwanted connotations...

Hanna said

at 10:21 pm on Jun 12, 2008

As you can see, I edited the original text: tried to make it response to the comments and criticism we have received. I encourage all others to do the same. If there are things which do not respond to your understanding, strike them through. If there are things missing, add them. This way we can try to make the initiative itself a common project. (For other points and answers, see Yuk's reponse.)

ccsgold said

at 11:09 am on Jun 14, 2008

Hi Yuk and Hanna,

this sounds so much better to me. It's not just rhethoric that I was worried about. It's the rhethoric as an expression of the desire behind it. And the rethoric as something that potentially impacts the quality of the atmosphere surrounding this debate, your activism, the Centre, the impressions and inspirations for those who receive entries from this mailing list. I had similar worries already wit the horrible title 'Attack the headquarters' and your 'let's take over the CCS' was just adding more to that concern. To make this amazing activism not just an open invitation to free all destructive energy and then hope smething (better) will come somehow after, but to organise yourself in a constructive and careful way sounds great to me. thanks for response. good luck.

ccsgold said

at 11:12 am on Jun 14, 2008

Uups. Last entry was by me.


ccsgold said

at 3:56 pm on Jun 16, 2008

I won't repeat what has already been discussed. Just a quick suggestion which might be of interest to the people attending the Tues meeting.
Part of what have been discussed in the meetings and picked up by James in his comment was on the problem of dissemination. Although many students do publish their work, most are done on an individual basis. There has been a suggestion in the meeting of creating a platform/medium/ outlet/website where students of the CCS could publish their work. Not only will it be beneficial to students' own profile but such a project could provide a common goal for which students of the CCS can work towards together. I would like to suggest the possibility of regrouping and rerouting existing student efforts so as not to create (too much) new workload for everyone.

Perhaps student presentations could be rewired around a (or several) themes, something like the Berlin conference for example where the theme of Chameleon brought together papers on deception, illusion, disguise, spectacle etc. Creative topics like the chameleon or crustaceans (one that Jeff and Susan put in a proposal for) could provide interesting ways of thinking about one's own work and group students together in a more focused discussion. These selection of papers could then be published either by ourselves or brought to a publisher who might be interested in doing a special issue. This also could make students more engaged in each other's work and gives a focus and goal to work towards.

I think it's important not to overlook existing work done by students and staff, all I am suggesting is thinking about how we could reroute and channel these effort into something we think is lacking in the centre.

Also I would like to hear more from people in yr 1,2,3 ...


ccsgold said

at 10:34 am on Jun 18, 2008

I think the suggestions of platforms for publishing/presenting on themes could be very productive. It seems to me that we are very 'interdisciplinary' center and that creating a few 'research clusters' (or something of the sort) organized around themes or sets of questions could be useful, both in terms of moving research forward, but also in terms of creating the sorts of platforms that might be best suited to the nature of the research. The groups don't have to be isolated - they could meet up collectively also (for instance, there may be single journal created, or a graduate student conference), but it might be productive for people interested in more closely related topics to have opportunities to work together.

ccsgold said

at 10:35 am on Jun 18, 2008

oops - i wrote the last entry. - Jen

johanna said

at 1:47 pm on Jun 24, 2008


I thought, the last meeting was really useful and clearly, really interesting impuleses were given.

I think it's crucial to *link* the parallel projects and different construction sites together in order to facilitate cross-polination and collaborations and have a kind of community comprising all the heterogeneity, allowing exchange of ideas, criticism, collaboration, small and wider projects to evolve...

I think the wiki was a great idea, as discussion can be overseen at any point of the project. Discussion by email has the disadvantage, that narratives are hard to follow over a longer period of time, as continuity gets disrupted and it's really hard to read when emails get longer (because of all the unneccesary information)... A wiki could be open to all CCS people, all MAs, PhDs & staff, without the fragmentation of information that seems to happen right now. It could also be an archive of old projects and ideas.

So my question is: would it be possible to combine several projects on the wiki and somehow bring together the fragmented discussions?

Eg. all the ongoing initiatives:
* the CCS community / future
* CCS festival / squat
* the CCS garden
* the CCS magazine
* the CCS 10 year anniversary
* the MA Cultural Studies conference

I'm involved in organising the MA Conference and I think, a collaborative Wiki would be great, so not only open to MA people can post and follow the events.

I've looked at the wiki today... and I thought, it could be something like this:
I'm not sure, if that's practical for a broader platform and as a longe term tool... it can be anonymous, though! (as proposed by Goetz). The question is, what we would want to be on it...

Also, I think a room to meet in and a 'democracy wall' would be great...


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