Talking Difference with Lewis Gordon

As you know, we had to postpone this year’s CISRUL conference and summer school on Conceptualizing “Difference”. We now hope to hold it in April 2021.

In the meantime, we are pleased to invite you to join us for a series of online interviews Talking Difference. Our keynotes will engage in live online conversation with CISRUL colleagues, followed by questions from the audience. These sessions will take place over the next months, starting in June and picking up again after the summer holidays.

Lewis Gordon
Lewis Gordon | © Simeon Mark Cofie

We invite you all to the first interview Talking Difference with Lewis Gordon on Wednesday 10th June at 3 pm, via Zoom. Our keynote speaker Lewis Gordon, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut, will discuss ‘difference’ with CISRUL member Ritu Vij (International Relations). The session will be recorded and made available on our website. However, we hope that you will join us for the live interview, and pose questions of your own.

Please remember that, in preparation, we’ll be reading Lewis Gordon’s work for the CISRUL reading seminar this coming Tuesday 26th May at 10 am!

Podcast: What Have These Concepts Ever Done for Us?

Securalism, liberalism, post-modernity, difference. Using abstract political concepts such as these is the bread and butter of every academic and serve as invaluable shorthands. At the same time, however, these concepts can be very vague and even intimidating to those unfamiliar with them. Depending on how they are used political concepts can obscure as well as shed light on important issues. Are they worth the trouble and how do they help us understand actual politics? What actually have these concepts ever done for us?

Each episode of this new podcast series invites a different CISRUL-related researcher to present their work and to ask him that very question: what has this political concept ever done for you? Created by Dikaia Gavala and Jorg Meurkes, the podcast offers a sneak peek at on-going research. Academics from philosophy, history, sociology, literature, and beyond present their work and explain how and why they use their favorite political concept.

Check out the latest episode below and subscribe to the podcast at

Gramsci in Ethiopia with Bisrat Kabeta [Part 2] What Have These Concepts Ever Done for Us?

Bisrat Kabeta, Dikaia Gavala and Jorg Meurkes, with a special appearance of Graham, talk about Gramsci, Ethiopia, NGO'S, hegemony, civil society, organic intellectuals, ideology, climate change, capitalism, giving a voice to the voiceless, socialist strategy and so on and so on.
  1. Gramsci in Ethiopia with Bisrat Kabeta [Part 2]
  2. Gramsci in Ethiopia with Bisrat Kabeta [Part 1]
  3. Civil Disobedience with Maxim van Asseldonk [Part 2]
  4. Civil Disobedience with Maxim van Asseldonk [Part 1]

Call for application: Conceptualizing Difference

background image © Deniz Altug

The call for applications for this year’s annual CISRUL Conference and PhD Summer School Conceptualizing Difference featuring keynotes by Lewis R. Gordon (University of Connecticut), Sabine Hark (TU Berlin), Gurpreet Mahajan (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Anya Topolski (Radboud University Nijmegen) is now open!

The idea of ‘difference’ governs today’s political thinking. Struggles for equality and justice are generally concerned with recognizing and protecting differences, not least because varieties of difference, including gender, sexuality, race, religion and language are used to justify political oppression, discrimination and exclusion. This conference aims to explore and interrogate ‘difference’ as a political category.

All information on the conference and the application procedure can be found here.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact the organisers, Anna Sophie Lauwers and Fredericke Weiner.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.

Workshop: Approaches to Political Concepts II

CISRUL starts the new year with a workshop bringing together scholars from various disciplines to explain how they have dealt in their work with one or more political concepts. The objective is to generate debate on different approaches to political concepts, as well as showcasing the range of research associated with CISRUL/POLITICO.

The workshop takes place Thursday, 9 January, in Library Meeting Room 1 & Friday, 10 January, in Library Seminar Room 224.

More information and the full schedule

Organised by Michael Brown

Movie Screening: Sorry We Missed You

We will be hosting a movie screening of “Sorry we missed you” by Ken Loach and a discussion on “precarious lives in the gig economy” on 12 November, 5.55pm, at Belmont Filmhouse.

After his highly acclaimed socio-political drama “I, Daniel Blake”, Ken Loach releases another striking timely tragedy, where on-demand platforms force people into self-entrepreneurship, irregular employment and precarious living conditions. In his new Cannes-celebrated film “Sorry we missed you”, the 83-year old director dives into the reality of working in the so-called ‘gig economy’, the peak of our contemporary neoliberal work culture.

More information about the Movie Screening and Discussion

Co-organized by the Sociology Society and Vicky Kluzik

Impressions from the Inter-Disciplinary Conference “Decolonising Political Concepts”

From 19 to 20 September 2019 CISRUL hosted the inter-disciplinary conference “Decolonising Political Concepts” organized by Marie Wuth and Valentin Clavé-Mercier.

The conference featured presentations by academics from the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. The topics discussed ranged from knowledge and power to language and resistance, to agency and sexuality.

The various regional and disciplinary backgrounds made for exciting and insightful exchanges facilitated by a shared commitment to the project of decolonising the Western academic canon.

See below for photos or click here for more information on the conference.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.