“Everyday [urban] life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others.”
– Michel de Certeau
Manifesto of Urban Poetry Society
(Drafted by Yimin Zhao, 31 October 2016)
Naming the group as “Urban Poetry Society” is to attribute to both the urban way of life and the significance of literature (signalled by poetry) in this life. All three words in the name are defined in their broadest senses.
The goal is to establish a platform for freestyle discussions yet with academic depth. Topics can be varying among different disciplines but should have the potentials for multi-/ trans-disciplinary discussions and debates.
The primary areas are temporarily set as critical theories (Marx beyond Marxism); nature and landscape in Enlightenment/ Romanticism; the spatial way of seeing; the ideology of aesthetics; subject and power (such as Foucault, phenomenology, and psychoanalysis); methodological reflections (on colonial and post-colonial thinking in particular).
The form of meetings
For each session, there should be a leading discussant. S/he should be designated by the end of the previous meeting. S/he has the authority to determine the topic to be discussed and to select reading materials (if any).
For reading materials, it can be a thesis chapter, a fascinating book chapter, some high-quality articles from journals/ magazines/ newspapers, etc., or maybe a new exhibition in British Museum or National Gallery.
The recommendation of reading materials should be announced several weeks before the meeting, so that other members will have time to prepare for discussions. If possible, the electronic version of related publications can be shared via Dropbox.
The length of each meeting can be, say, two hours. The leading discussant first introduces his or her concerns in selecting the particular topic and related readings – focus on the fundamental questions, problems, puzzles that are not investigated well and hence worth more communications. Then the leading discussant will chair the remaining session and invite/ regulate each member’s sharing.
A brief summary of each meeting can be made if we have volunteer(s), but this is the least important thing. What attracts me most is to stimulate oral discussions and/or debates. It will be great if formal communications or collaborations can be advanced later after each meeting.
First meeting (November 2016)
Reading material: Derrida, Jacques. Specters of Marx: the State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International. Routledge, 2012. (Chapter 1)
Leading Discussant: TBD
Time and venue: TBD