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World experts on populism and democracy to gather in Brighton

World-leading academics from 43 countries will come together at the University of Brighton later this month (23-29 Jan) for the landmark Radical Futures conference which looks at the rise of populism and the future of democracy.

Renowned experts including Judith Butler from University of California (Berkely), Maurizio Lazzarato (University of Paris) and Jean Comaroff (Harvard University) are scheduled to speak at the conference which is organised by the International Consortium of Critical Theory (ICCT), the Department of Politics at Boğaziçi University, Turkey, and the University of Brighton.

The University’s Radical Futures, which promotes disruptive ideas and open debate on inequalities across the globe, has worked closely with the University’s Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE) on the conference which runs from 23 to 25 January.

The conference, at the University’s City Campus in Brighton, will hear from scholars from countries around the world including Japan, Indonesia, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Radical Future’s lead Mark Devenney said the event takes place at an unprecedented time:

“The conference examines a range of difficult problems which are global in scale, ranging from refugee crises caused by war, inequalities in wealth, sexist, xenophobic and provocative hate speech and conduct and the emergence of right wing populist parties. The conference aims to reinvigorate critical and theoretical approaches to the present, devoid of dogmatism, but committed to a politics of equality.”

Judith Butler will be joined by Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University). Both are co-directors of the ICCT programmes. Judith Butler’s work on the politics of gender is acclaimed for transforming the ways people think about sex and gender. Penelope Deutscher has published widely on feminist theory and on contemporary French Philosophy.

Other speakers include Professor Jean Comaroff (Harvard University), Maurizio Lazzarato (University of Paris I) and Professor Christoph Menke (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt.)

Professor Andrew Church, University of Brighton’s Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise), said: “We are delighted that leading researchers from around the world will join us to address these key issues in contemporary politics. This is a major event for the University and the work of Radical Futures is at the core of our strategic plan for research and enterprise.”

The conference will also highlight the particular circumstances for academics in Turkey where many academics have been persecuted and some have had to leave the country to avoid imprisonment.

Mark Devenney said: “Unfortunately, what is happening in Turkey is indicative of what has happened to critical academic work in many parts of the world.

“Many countries have seen the rise of right wing populist and authoritarian movements. This is one of the first opportunities for all us to think collectively about what has gone wrong and to debate the future of a democratic politics opposed to these tendencies.”

Register for the conference.

Find out more about the Critical Theory Consortium of which CAPPE is a member.

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