Stevphen Shukaitis on Sun, 15 Mar 2009 12:19:18 -0400 (EDT)

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<nettime> Imaginal Machines, Movements, and Academic Enclosures NYC 4/1

Imaginal Machines, Movements, and Academic Enclosures
Wednesday April 1st, 2009, 7PM
16Beaver Street, New York

The defense of a PhD dissertation is a strange moment, one where what  
often starts as a collective process of the inquiry and the social  
production of knowledge is enclosed by the legitimating apparatuses of  
the academy. Something is gained for the individual upon whom a mark  
of academic is granted (PhD from the Latin philosophi? doctor, or  
literally the status as a ?teacher of philosophy?), but also something  
is lost within that process: the individual benefits, but often to the  
neglect of the flows of social and collective creativity from which  
their work draws. This is perhaps especially the case in forms of  
research and inquiry based around describing and theorizing political  
organizing, social movements, and radical politics. While searching  
out authentic moments of political discourse is often valued as a  
moment of data collection, the idea that there might be a role for  
more participatory forms of the evaluation of research and findings,  
role which goes beyond movements as data and breaks down the positions  
of researching-subject and researched-objects, is looked on with much  
greater skepticism, if not outright dismissal.

But what if it was otherwise? What if rather than a moment of  
professionalizing enclosure of knowledge, it was made into a moment  
for collective reflection and celebration of the collective creativity  
from which research draws? This would perhaps be to harken back to the  
origins of the doctoral degree as the ijazat attadris wa ?l-iftta  
(?license to teach and issue legal opinions?) in the training of  
Islamic law, but rather with the difference that guiding focus is not  
the formation and constitution of the law, but rather the constituent  
processes that guide and continually compose social movements.

We invite you to join Stevphen Shukaitis, Silvia Federici, and George  
Caffentzis in a discussion and forum that will tentatively sketch out  
what such a process might be through enacting it. Stevphen will  
discuss his research on collective imagination, class composition, and  
processes of social movement, which George and Silvia will comment on,  
leading to a collective discussion and reflection, both on the  
research presented and the processes of academic legitimation in  
relation to politically engaged social research.

Electronic copies of Stevphen?s research will be made available via  
this site:

For more information

Stevphen Shukaitis is a lecturer at the University of Essex and a  
member of the Autonomedia editorial collective. He is the editor (with  
Erika Biddle and David Graeber) of Constituent Imagination: Militant  
Investigations // Collective Theorization (AK Press, 2007). His  
research focuses on the emergence of collective imagination in social  
movements and the changing compositions of cultural and artistic  
labor. For more on his work and writing, see

Silvia Federici is a scholar, activist, and professor emerita at  
Hofstra University. She is the author of Caliban and the Witch: Women  
the Body and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia, 2004) and is the co- 
founder of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa.

George Caffentzis is a member of the Midnight Notes Collective and  
coordinator of the committee for Academic Freedom in Africa.

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