Issue date: 22 June 2004

ISSUE DATE: 22/06/04

‘Identity in Question’ conference
Monday 28 to Tuesday 29 June St Hugh’s College, Oxford, UK

Identity is one of the most pressing contemporary issues in public political life, ranging from debates over identity-politics to new social movements. Leading social and critical theorists will convene at the ‘Identity in Question’ conference at St Hugh’s College in Oxford on 28 and 29 June, which has been organised by the Centre for Critical Theory at the University of the West of England, to debate the consequences of our society’s increasing preoccupation with identity and individualism.

Some of the world’s leading social scientists will be coming together for this two-day conference, including Zygmunt Bauman, Richard Sennett, Drucilla Cornell, Charles Lemert, Lynne Segal, Jeffrey Prager, Stephen Frosh, Janet Sayers, Angela McRobbie and Paul du Gay.

Professor Anthony Elliott, Director of the Centre, said, “This promises to be a really significant conference, both in academic terms but also in more explicitly political terms. Politics, it is agreed by many, has moved increasingly beyond Left and Right, and identity is more and more the term in and through which people are taking their cues from the big political issues of the day. It is also clearly significant that the largest funder of social science research in this country – The Economic and Social Research Council – has allocated millions to research programmes around identity and individualism. Against this backdrop, the bringing together of so many leading researchers on identity will undeniably produce some interesting and provocative exchanges.”


Editor’s notes

Zygmunt Bauman has been widely hailed as one of the world’s leading social theorists. He is the author of the award winning ‘Modernity and the Holocaust’, and has also authored more than a dozen books in the last ten or so years (translated into over 30 languages). He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Leeds & Warsaw. In 1998 he won the Adorno prize, and more recently he became a UWE Honorary Graduant.

Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology at the LSE and NYU, and is a pioneer in the field of urban sociology. He is a regular contributor to public political debate in newspapers and magazines around the world, and his recent books include ‘The Corrosion of Character’ (1998) and ‘Respect’ (2003).

Drucilla Cornell of Rutgers University, is one of America’s leading feminist theorists whose work spans philosophy, political theory and psychoanalysis. Her books include ‘Beyond Accommodation’ (1991) and ‘Transformations’ (1992).

Charles Lemert’s ‘Social Theory: The Multi-cultural and Classical Readings’ is a worldwide best seller, and he has been described by Professor Norman Denzin of the University of Illinois as ‘the pre-eminent social theorist in America today’. He is Andrus Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University and his recent books include ‘Postmodernism is Not What You Think’ (1997), ‘Dark Thoughts’ (2002) and ‘Muhammad Ali’ (2003).

Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor of Psychology and English at Birbeck College, London. Widely seen as one of Britain’s most influential feminist theorists, Professor Segal’s book ‘Why Feminism?’ (2001) has been critically acclaimed in much recent public debate.

Jeffrey Prager is Professor of Sociology at UCLA and is the author of ‘Presenting the Past’ (1998).

Stephen Frosh is Professor of Psychology at Birbeck College, London. He is internationally known for his research on the relationship between psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. His recent books include ‘The Politics of Psychoanalysis’ and ‘After Words’.

Janet Sayers is Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at the University of Kent. She internationally known for her research on Freud and Feminism, and is the author of ‘Freudian Tales’ and ‘Mothering Psychoanalysis’.

Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths College, London. Her recent books include ‘In the Culture Society’ (1999) and ‘Feminism and Youth Culture’ (2000).

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