Speakers confirmed for transformative progressive politics workshop

Scholars from across the UK, Europe and the US will be contributing to a two-day workshop in May, interrogating the question of whether states have a place within a transformative progressive politics.

The workshop, to be held on Kent’s Canterbury campus on 19/20 May, will be hosted by Professor Davina Cooper, Professor of Law and Political Theory at Kent Law School. It will offer participants the opportunity to reimagine the concept of the state for progressive politics. Speakers include:

  • Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University
  • Chiara De Cesari, anthropologist and NGO assistant professor with a double appointment in European Studies and in Cultural Studies at the University of Amsterdam
  • John Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Criminology at the Open University
  • Davina Cooper, Professor of Law and Political Theory at Kent Law School
  • Nikita Dhawan, Professor for Political Theory at the University of Innsbruck
  • Luis Eslava, Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School
  • Nick Gill, Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Exeter
  • Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University
  • Janet Newman, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Criminology at the Open University
  • Joe Painter, Professor of Politics-State-Space and Urban Worlds in the Department of Geography at Durham University
  • Shirin Rai, Professor in the department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Maria do Mar Castro Varela, Professor at the Alice Salomon University, Berlin

Further questions for consideration at the workshop include:

  • What contribution can particular disciplinary methods make to this reimagining?
  • In what circumstances do legal reform campaigns and activist legal strategies draw on idealised conceptions of the state; what are the implications of doing so?
  • What relationships exist between official, activist and academic ways of imagining the state (critical or otherwise) and progressive or radical politics?
  • Can states be productively imagined at different scales, with different relationships to locality and globe?
  • Can states develop radically new forms of political organisation and representation, and can they meaningfully support those lacking social power?
  • What resources, social practices and texts – from social experiments to political texts and utopian fiction (such as News from nowhere, Woman on the edge of time etc) – might help to inspire new state imaginations?
  • What can reimagining the state do (and not do)?

Professor Cooper has explored the theme of transformative politics in articles, book chapters and books over twenty years, including in: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994). Her most recent book, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (2014) was awarded the Charles Taylor Book Award 2015.

Places on the workshop are free but limited; to reserve a place, please email: KLSResearch@kent.ac.uk

The workshop is one of a number of events supported by Social Critiques of Law (SoCriL), a research group at Kent dedicated to the critical study of law, regulation and governance.