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Hauntology, Affect and the "Migrant Experience": Home Rules and Affective Histories

The CEU Campus
Friday, April 27, 2018, 11:15 am

This lecture will explore how cities might be restructured and reimagined as a result of migration. It will re-move (that is put back into circulation) a novel example of housing activism led by a diverse group of working class and migrant communities in London during the 1990's who led a struggle and campaign that I will call "Home Rules". I will use the concept of "affective histories" developed from the work of Valerie Walkerdine in order to explore and analyse why this form of political resistance and struggle did effect change, and what was mobilized in terms of the affective histories of the participants involved. Where the communities Walkerdine focuses on are often intolerant of difference and otherness (or at least this is the myth or perception of them), the communities I am interested in are those whose heterogeneous histories of migration, displacement, persecution, racism, sexism, homophobia collide in ways that provide the potential to reimagine and restructure what it means to live together through difference, and the cultivation of practices of mutual support, solidarity and interdependence. The case study provides a strong argument against urban gentrification and the replacement of difference and diversity with sameness. I approach this story through the unique vantage point of being the granddaughter of Irene Blackman, who was a key protagonist within the campaign.  I lived through the context of this struggle knowing little about my grandmother's life before she came to London in the 1930's as a single mother. The relationship between the personal and the political will become of interest for the story I will tell.


Lisa Blackman is currently Co-Head of the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London. She works at the intersection of body studies and media and cultural theory and is particularly interested in subjectivity, affect, the body and embodiment. She has published four books in this area. The most recent is Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation, (2012, Sage). Her forthcoming book, Haunted Data: Transmedia, Affect, Weird Science and Archives of the Future is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Press (2018). She has also made a substantive contribution to the fields of critical psychology and body studies. In this context she co-edits the journal, Subjectivity (with Valerie Walkerdine, Palgrave) and edits the journal Body & Society (Sage). Her other books include Hearing Voices: Embodiment and Experience (2001, Free Association Books); Mass Hysteria: Critical Psychology and Media Studies (with Valerie Walkerdine; 2001, Palgrave); and The Body: The Key Concepts (2008, Berg).