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Key Concept Masterclasses

with Professor Joseph Pugliese
with Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva
with Associate Professor Jacinta Ruru

Thursday 11th December


In conjunction with Space, Race, Bodies—Geocorpographies of the City, Nation and Empire, hosted by the Department of Media, Film and Communication (MFCO), the Postcolonial Studies Research Network (PSRN), the Somatechnics Research Network (University of Arizona) and the Sexuality Research Group at the University of Otago.
As part of the forthcoming Space, Race, Bodies—Geocorpographies of the City, Nation and Empire conference, we are delighted to offer the opportunity for postgraduates and researchers to attend several key concept Masterclasses. Reading lists will be provided to facilitate discussions.

The Masterclasses will be held at the University of Otago on Thursday 11th December:

09.00-11.00: ‘Biopolitics and technology’ with Professor Joseph Pugliese

Biopolitical regimes operate, in Foucault’s terms, to bring “life and its mechanisms into the realm of explicit calculations”. As such, biopolitical regimes are critically dependent upon a range of technological apparatuses in order to produce their power/knowledge effects. In this Masterclass, we examine the deployment of a range of technologies (including drones, biometrics, thermal and satellite imaging, and motion detectors) in a range of geopolitical contexts in order to materialise their biopolitical ramifications.

Joseph Pugliese is the Research Director of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Some of his recent publications are State Violence and Execution of Law: Biopolitical Caesurae of Torture, Black Sites, Drones (2013), Biometrics: Bodies, Technologies, Biopolitics (2010) and "The Alleged Liveness of Live: Legal Visuality, Biometric Liveness Testing and the Metaphysics of Presence” (2013).

11:15-13:15: ‘An Indigenous consideration of space and property’ with Associate Professor Jacinta Ruru

This session will draw on multiple disciplines such as law, geography, and politics to consider how colonial spaces are being recalibrated as Indigenous places in modern societies that are committed to reconciliation. The recasting of lands and waters including public places such as national parks will be considered in this session against the backdrop of themes relating to national identity, peoples’ connections to land, the resilience of Indigenous laws, and the power of society to reimagine its foundations. Readings for this session will include an opportunity to look at recent excerpts from the top courts in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and writing by leading authors such as Professor Nicholas Blomley”.

Jacinta Ruru is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Otago and Centre Associate at the University of New South Wales Indigenous Law Centre. Her recent work includes co-authoring Discovering Indigenous Lands: The doctrine of discovery in the English colonies (2010), and “Undefined and unresolved: Exploring indigenous rights in Aotearoa New Zealand's freshwater legal regime” (2009). She is co-editor of a forthcoming Māori Law Treatise (2015).

14.00-16.00: ‘Reading the dead: A method for the critique of global capitalism’ with Professor Denise Ferreira da Silva

How to formulate the question of political transformation (from) without the constraints of the modern grammar? In this experiment on reading as a critical strategy and political intervention, I engage this question through a conversation that stages a confrontation between the flesh and soil and the historical materialist rendering of body and land. Beginning with the Zapatistas' dead call for decolonisation, I trace the limits of available tools for the critique of postcolonial capitalism, in particular the reliance on resource extraction and agricultural production, in an assemblage that opens 'thinking' towards imaging the political without separability, determinacy, and sequentiality—that is, without the modern western onto-epistemological pillars and their effects in our political imagination.

Denise Ferreira da Silva holds the Inaugural Chair in Ethics and is the Director of the Centre for Ethics and Politics, University of London. Some of her work includes: “To be Announced: Radical Praxis or Knowing (at) the Limits of Justice” (2013) and Toward a Global Idea of Race (2007).

If you are interested in participating in a Masterclass please submit an indication of preference/s, a short biography, and a summary of your research interests (1 page maximum) by 28th November to Alex at

Reading lists will be disseminated to all participants in advance of the Masterclass.

Spaces are limited to 12 participants per Masterclass, and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Tea & coffee will be provided.

There are no costs for Masterclass attendance.

Friday 12th December

The Sexuality Research Group is pleased to announce a Masterclass with Associate Professor Susan Stryker on December 12, 9.30 to 11.30. It is titled “Transgender Studies, Past, Present and Future”. Participation is limited so please email Dr. Melanie Beres if you would like to attend.

For more information please see the attached poster.