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Zoe Thompson

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What is the fate of culture and urban regeneration in the era of austerity? In Urban Constellations: Spaces of Cultural Regeneration in Post-industrial Britain (Ashgate, 2015),  Zoe Thompson applies critical cultural theory to help understand this question. The book is based on four case studies, of  The Lowry in Salford, The Deep in Hull, The Sage Gateshead and The Public in West Bromwich. These four case studies are read through a variety of methods, including walking and visual methods, along with two key theorists, Jean Baudrillard and Walter Benjamin. Baudrillard and Benjamin are juxtaposed as important thinkers of culture, the symbolic and the urban, in an attempt to show the ambivalences of cultural buildings used for urban regeneration. The buildings are narrated as 'dreamhouses' within the symbolic, as well as the political, economy of post-industrial urban spaces. The book shows how all the case studies offer elements of hope and redemption for their locations, whether as sites for individual's memory, in the case of The Sage, or as collective notions of art and culture, in the example of The Lowry. However the book also shows the risks associated with these spaces, as premature ruins, in the case of the now closed The Public, or sites reminding us of nature's revenge in the form of climate change, as The Deep does. The book will be of interest to a large range of scholars across cultural and urban studies, through to architecture and critical theory, and it has important lessons for contemporary urban policy too.


Amanda RogersPerforming Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, Identity and the Geographies of Performance

March 25, 2015

Identity, performance and globalisation are at the heart of the cultural practices interrogated by Amanda Rogers in Performing Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, Identity and the Geography of Performance (Routledge, 2015). The book explores the global networks of theatre that have emerged between Asia, America and Europe, using a variety of policy, practice and political examples. The book argues that […]

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Helena GurfinkelOutlaw Fathers in Victorian and Modern British Literature: Queering Patriarchy

March 16, 2015

What is a father? In Outlaw Fathers in Victorian and Modern British Literature: Queering Patriarchy (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2014), Helena Gurfinkel offers an insightful new vision of fatherhood through an engagement with English literature, Freudian psychoanalysis and queer theory. The book takes a range of authors who have depicted ideas of fatherhood, patriarchal relations and homosociality along with […]

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Orit HalpernBeautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945

March 9, 2015

The second half of the twentieth century saw a radical transformation in approaches to recording and displaying information. Orit Halpern’s new book traces the emergence of the “communicative objectivity” that resulted from this shift and produced new forms of observation, rationality, and economy. Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University […]

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Nick TurnbullMichel Meyer’s Problematology: Questioning and Society

March 7, 2015

To be human is to question. This act of questioning is the essence of philosophy, as it allows ontology and epistemology to exist. For example, to understand what it is to be we must first ask the question of what it is to be. This insight, of the primacy of questioning, is at the heart […]

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Victoria HesfordFeeling Women’s Liberation

March 6, 2015

Victoria Hesford is an associated professor of Women and Gender Studies at Stony Brook University in New York. Her book Feeling Women’s Liberation (Duke University Press, 2013) examines the pivotal year of 1970 as defining the meaning of “women’s liberation.” Applying a theory of emotions to the rhetoric of mass media and the response of movement […]

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Alexander R. GallowayLaruelle: Against the Digital

March 5, 2015

“The chief aim of [philosopher François Laruelle’s] life’s work is to consider philosophy without resorting to philosophy in order to do so.” What is non-philosophy, what would it look like to practice it, and what are the implications of doing so? Alexander R. Galloway introduces and explores these questions in a vibrant and thoughtful new […]

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Jen HarvieFair Play: Art, Performance and Neoliberalism

February 9, 2015

Arts and culture are under threat in the age of austerity. This threat is underpinned by the misuse of the idea of participation in contemporary performance. This is one of the central arguments of Fair Play: Art, Performance and Neoliberalism (Palgrave, 2013) by Professor Jen Harvie. The book considers how arts and culture are changing in […]

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Sam Gindin and Leo PanitchThe Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire

February 9, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in World Affairs] Two Canadian socialist thinkers have published a new book on the successes and failures, the crises, contradictions and conflicts in present-day capitalism. In The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso, 2013) , Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin trace the evolution of the international capitalist system over the last century. (Panitch is a […]

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Martin ShusterAutonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism and Modernity

February 2, 2015

The work of Theodore Adorno is well established as a crucial resource for understanding the complexities of contemporary capitalism, playing a foundational role in Critical Theory. Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno’s most well known text written with Max Horkheimer, is reassessed in a new book of philosophy by Martin Shuster.  Autonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism […]

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