Leeds Beckett public talk to explore culture, politics and the public realm
The third instalment in the Leeds Cultural Conversations (LCC) series, a collaborative venture by the Centre for Culture and the Arts (CCA) at Leeds Beckett and Leeds City Council, will address how the left can find new ways to challenge the capitalist standpoint of 'public bad/private good’.
Dr Andrew Lawson, Reader in American Literature, and Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in English Literature, will present ‘Retaking the Commons: culture, politics, and the public realm’ on Wednesday 11 November at The Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall.
In the hour long lunchtime talk, Dr Lawson and Dr Shaw will be drawing on their literary expertise to explore how literary and cultural texts can reframe ideas of collective agency and the common good. Dr Lawson said: “Capitalism’s legitimacy has been damaged by the financial crisis and by the long recession from which we are struggling to emerge. Our talk aims to understand what has gone wrong with capitalism, and to imagine alternatives to it.”
Dr Susan Watkins, Director of The Centre for Culture and the Arts at the University, added: “The next LCC was planned long before the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, but in an environment where we are arguably witnessing some challenges to the neoliberal discourse of 'public bad/private good', Dr Lawson and Dr Shaw will be looking at the future of capitalism and considering the strategies, opportunities and innovations that might lead towards a fairer, more equal society.”
Dr Lawson’s background is in the interdisciplinary study of American literature and history, with a particular focus on the history of capitalism in the United States and the formation of the middle class. He is the author of several books, including Downwardly Mobile: The Changing Fortunes of American Realism and Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle.
Dr Shaw’s research interests include contemporary literature, especially working class literature, cultural representations of post-industrial regeneration and the languages of comedy. Her books include Crunch Lit, David Peace: Texts and Contexts and Mining the Meaning: Cultural Representations of the 1984-5 UK Miners’ Strike. Both Dr Shaw and Dr Lawson are also organising a one-day conference entitled Post-Capitalism 2015: Rethinking Crisis, Culture, and Politics on Friday 6 November at the University’s city campus Rose Bowl building.
The LCC series, supported by academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, sees some of the centre’s leading academics deliver lunchtime talks in some of the city’s most iconic buildings, including the City Museum. Previously, Professor Franco Bianchini and Dr Emily Zobel Marshall delivered their talks: What is the European Capital of Culture and what it can do for a City, and It's not all sequins and bikinis. Power, performance and play in the Leeds and Trinidad carnival (respectively) to packed audiences; evoking lively debates and thought provoking conversations.
For more information on the series please visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/LCC.
The full list of talks in the series is:
Retaking the Commons: culture, politics, and the public realm. - Dr Andrew Lawson, Reader in American Literature and Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in English Literature. Wednesday 11 November 2015 12.30, Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Doing urban history in an urban world - Dr Shane Ewen, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural History Wednesday 9 December 2015 12.30, Sullivan Room, Leeds Town Hall.
The real Fagin: the life and crimes of William Sheen - Dr Heather Shore, Reader in History Wednesday 13 January 2015 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Pride of place: LGBTQ histories and heritage - Professor Alison Oram, Professor of Social and Cultural History. Wednesday 10 February 2016 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Women, visibility and playful acts - Dr Liz Stirling, Dr Casey Orr, Jo Hassall, Laura Robinson Wednesday 9 March 2016 12.30, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Cooking without a clock: women, domesticity and timekeeping in nineteenth century Europe. - Dr Rachel Rich, Senior Lecturer in European History. Wednesday 13 April 2016 12.30, Denny Room, Leeds City Museum.
Eastern European ‘show trials’ of the 1950s: the Slansky case - Dr Kelly Hignett, Senior Lecturer in History. Wednesday 11 May 2016 12.30, Court Room, Leeds Town Hall.