Coup d’Funk: 2017 Focus on the Funk

by | 28 Mar 2017


Morrem Tantos Homes e Eu Tao Aqui So (Vietnam series), 1968, by Teresinha Soares

Tectonic shifts in the given order of the world made 2016 a vintage year for the Right. Referendums, elections, soft coups, and quasi-judicial or political processes in the UK, the US, India, the Philippines, Colombia and Brazil amongst others made clear the challenge posed by appeals to nativism in these times of crisis. However, such nativism should not be confused with parochialism. The spirit of the coup has moved from location to location with each manifestation resonating and connecting with the others. There has been a failure to grasp the extent to which rightward shift is not just nationalistic but also offers an alternative conception of international ordering.

Unable to grasp the full historical and socio-political contexts and perspectives from which these popular votes and varieties of populism keep emerging, traditional political parties and the media, but also academia, struggle to respond to this situation. However, events like these are not entirely surprising. Too often overlooked traditions of thought have cautioned against the dangerous consequences of neoliberal forms of governance being mobilised by fascist and xenophobic projects, as well as against the consequences of historically revisionist and politically questionable equivalences between rightist and leftist varieties of populism. We draw on these traditions in our conference, seeking to collectively respond to the resurgence of catastrophic and apocalyptic chronotopias by shifting the geography of reason, our reasoning and perspectives of time, as well as renewing our questions in order to challenge the present and create new and more hopeful futures.

Over the course of this three-day event, together with an impressive line-up of activists, thinkers, artists and politicians, we will tackle the following questions: How has the warning of 2016 been received? Coup d’état, soft coup, or coup d’Funk? How is law implicated in the violence of the coup? What are the connections between the coup, racial, financial and other legacies of colonial violence? What methods can we develop- both inside and outside the academy- to respond to the coup? How can academic institutions design practices and develop alliances with popular organisations and movements to resist and fight against the coup? What forms of struggle and militancy are required for the development of counter-hegemonic projects? What forms of theoretical practice are born out of such struggles?

Keynote speakers include:

  • HE M. President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff
  • Lewis R. Gordon (University of Connecticut, USA)
  • Eduardo Mendieta (University of Pennsylvania, Winner of the 2017 Frantz Fanon Award)

Free tickets are available here.

Download the full programme

Birkbeck School of Law, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the Royal College of Art

Friday 19 May – Monday 22 May 2017

This conference is organised by: Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Leticia Da Costa Paes & Kojo Koram. 


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