White Spaces Network

Current Events

Roundtable on Extradition and the War on Terror

Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn College, CUNY), S. Sayyid (Leeds), and Nisha Kapoor (York)

Monday, January 26th, 5:30pm, Leeds Humanities Research Institute (Seminar Room 1)


Jeanne Theoharis Public Lecture, ‘The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks’

School of History Annual Public Lecture, Co-hosted by the White Spaces Research Network and the School of History

Tuesday, January 27th, 6pm, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre (Michael Sadler Building)

Please also join us after the lecture for a book signing and wine reception in the School of History foyer (3rd floor, Michael Sadler Building)

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott, this year’s School of History public lecture is about the life of Rosa Parks. Jeanne Theoharis will be talking about her book The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, which won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work Biography/Autobiography as well as the 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Theoharis Public Lecture Flyer


Re-Thinking Justice, Ethics and Research Impact Series

This mini-series will build on the ethics training that early career researchers across the University of Leeds LEAP faculties partake in by working to expand notions of scholarly ethics from a rights-based framework to a justice-based framework. It aims to enable research students and staff, especially early career staff, to critically reflect on scholarly responsibilities to students, research participants and methods, and wider communities in ways that complement institutionalised ethics review processes.

This series is geared towards early career researchers but is open to all research staff and students. You must register for this event by Monday January 19th by emailing Say Burgin (s.burgin@leeds.ac.uk<mailto:s.burgin@leeds.ac.uk>). This project is funded through LEAP.

Workshop 1: What’s This Series About?: Introductions and Networking

Wednesday, January 21st, 14:00-15:30, Beech Grove House (seminar room)

This brief workshop will provide an overview of the series’ aims and information about the two later workshops. It will provide an initial space for critical reflection on standard ethics training and will give participants an opportunity to network with one another.

Workshop 2: Being a Public Intellectual: Possibilities and Responsibilities

Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn College, CUNY)

Wednesday, January 28th, 10:00-13:00, Beech Grove House (seminar room)

It will open up a conversation around what it means to be a public intellectual and the possibilities and social responsibilities of such a role. Academic professions provide possibilities for community- and justice-based research, as well as for using one’s voice and expertise to reflect on contemporary rights issues. However, because of heavy workloads and concerns about gaining further employment and/or promotion, early career researchers often feel less able to use their posts in these ways. Moreover, while academic associations and universities often offer ethics-based training for new researchers, there are few opportunities to reflect on more expansive, justice-based visions of scholarly responsibilities to students, research participants and wider communities. Led by Distinguished Professor of Political Science Jeanne Theoharis, this workshop will provide a space to reflect on these notions of responsibility and voice. Theoharis will open up the discussion by reflecting on her efforts in co-founding Educators for Civil Liberties and No Separate Justice and how she strives to nurture sustainable and ethical relationships with community groups and media outlets. She’ll also provide guidance and answer questions about generating publicity and managing public relations, touching specifically on how she developed relationships with major popular news outlets like The Nation magazine and Huffington Post.

Workshop 3: Pieces of Paper

Lynda Morris (Norwich University of the Arts)

Wednesday, February 18th, 13:30-16:30, Beech Grove House (seminar room)

Could you come with a folder (and a list) of the pieces of paper you have collected and kept?
I recently started to think about my German friends in the late 1960s and their enthusiasm for Conceptual art in the period 1967-73. They had a mission to bring US and British artists to Germany. Why? Their invitation cards, articles, letters are opening up the larger political history of Conceptual Art.
All my work has been on archives: In the early 1980s I worked on the AIA 1933-53. The Artists International Association’s Monthly Newletters 1933-53 told the story of the Spanish Civil War, Anti-Fascist Refugees, WW2 and the Cold War. That led me to interview surviving members in the DDR in 1985.
In 2011, I went to Ramallah in Palestine to give a lecture for the Picasso in Palestine Project.
Now I am now working on Picasso and Modern Africa 1945-73. I went to Johannesburg with Vanley Burke and his exhibition of the Jamaican community: By the Rivers of Birminam.
I want to talk with you about your papers, your history and the larger political history of the times we are living through.


Rountable on Indigeneity, Whiteness and Race: Forced Essentialization: Racist Violence, White Subjectivity and the Indigenous Body

Tuesday 10th June 2014, 1:30-3:30pm – LHRI Seminar Room 1, University of Leeds
Aileen Moreton-Robinson, David Singh, Alissa Macoun, and Chris Anderson

Abstracts and Bios

Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Moderator 

Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Professor of Indigenous Studies and Director of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network and Indigenous Studies Research Network, Queensland University of Technology

David Singh: Racial Violence Against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: A Black British Perspective

The hackneyed repetition that ‘race is a social construct’ and the stress on admixture, hybridity and creolization as marking never complete identities, is typical of theory embracing the Enlightenment ideal of progress. The march of theory however marginalizes the phenomenological and ontological dimensions of ‘race’, where the body remains primary marker of ‘race’.

This paper will highlight the findings of the neglected ‘Report of National into Racist Violence in Australia’ and the National Report into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody to examine the ways in which Indigenous bodies are subjected to violent racist acts. The paper argues that forced essentialisation marks violent racism and in doing so incapacitates and subdues the Indigenous body’s exercise of sovereignty. In so arguing it will become clear the ‘raced’ bodies of the Indigenous other serve as handmaidens for a virulent form of possessive, white subjectivity that continues to underpin the colonizing enterprise.

Dr David Singh, Research Fellow, Indigenous Studies Research Network, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, david.singh@qut.edu.au

Ailssa Macoun: Between Children and Savagery: White Innocence and Australia’s Northern Territory Intervention

In 2007, the Australian government announced a program of coercive government and military intervention in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, claiming this was in response to a national emergency arising from Aboriginal child abuse.  The ensuing public debate about the nature, value and future of Aboriginal people and communities in Australia, was explicitly racialised; the program required the suspension of the Commonwealth’s Racial Discrimination Act to enable increasing external control and surveillance of Aboriginal lands, communities, lives and bodies.

This paper traces recurring colonial images of the Aboriginal child, the Savage and the Primitive as they were deployed by white architects and supporters of the Northern Territory Intervention to justify and explain their program.  These discourses emphasise white innocence, deploying racist constructions of Aboriginality to licence ongoing colonial violence and reassert the legitimacy, neutrality and sovereignty of the white settler state.  White advocates of intervention construct themselves as standing between Indigenous children and a primitive or savage Aboriginality. Institutional and individual settler accountability for abuse is deferred and contained through the responsibility to develop the primitive and civilise the savage. Intervention advocates frame their program as extending settler authority over a troubling black terrain, controlling, containing and redeeming Aboriginal bodies and spaces through inclusion in the white nation’s moral order.

Dr Alissa Macoun, Research Fellow, National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Chris Andersen: Race and the Erasure of Indigenous Peoplehood: Métis Beyond “Mixedness”

In Canada, virtually all scholarship relating to Aboriginal issues takes for granted three Aboriginal peoples: First Nations (formerly termed Indians), Inuit (formerly termed Eskimos) and Métis (formerly termed Halfbreeds and Métis). Despite their virtually unquestioned legitimacy, these terms are as much administrative as they are autonymical and as such, are heavily shaped by Canada’s racialized histories. Among those Indigenous peoples most heavily impacted by this racialization has been the Métis, whose post-contact origins are seen as a metric of lack of authenticity vis-à-vis other Indigenous peoples. In this talk, I wish to demonstrate how racially inflected administrative practices created and sustained an apparently natural divide between Metis and other Indigenous peoples based around a presumptive “mixedness” (i.e. Métis-as-mixed) and, moving beyond these racial logics, my presentation will seek to explore a non- (or at least, less) racialized understanding of Indigeneity that presents a new formulation of Métis peoplehood.

Professor Chris Andersen is the Director of the Rupertsland Centre for Metis Research in the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta.

Public Lecture: The Possessive Logics of a White Colonising Aesthetic: Representations of Indigenous Children in the Work of Brownie Downing

Tuesday 10th June 2014 4:30pm Wine Reception, 5:30pm Lecture – Business School Western LT (G.01)
Aileen Moreton-Robinson

The twentieth century marked the availability of leisure to the masses, an increase in private property ownership and proliferation of commodities for consumption, acquisition and collection. In particular, after World War II, the home became the primary site where personal objects were available to be used, stored, collected and displayed. The home is itself the private realm of our intimate relationships to objects represented as symbols of security, as expressions of self-concept and as signs of one’s connection to, or differentiation from other members of society (Kulka 1996; Miller 1998; Sturken 2007). As inanimate objects they come to represent and be imbued with different and multiple forms of meaning operating socially as well as discursively. In this paper I argue that the interpretive dimension of representation involves re-presentation; a discursive process that is operationalised by a white possessive logic to bring things into existence. I explore how white possession manifests as a colonising aesthetic in the artwork of Viola Edith Downing, otherwise known as ‘Brownie Downing’, who is considered to be one of Australia’s most recognised and popular commercial artists of the twentieth century.

Postgraduate Masterclass on Indigeneity and Whiteness

Wednesday June 11th Lunch (provided) 1-2pm, Masterclass 2-4pm, LHRI Seminar Room 1
Led by Aileen Moreton-Robinson, David Singh, Alissa Macoun, and Chris Anderson

Spaces are limited for this event, and postgraduate students will be prioritized. RSVP to Say Burgin (s.burgin@leeds.ac.uk). Once your attendance is confirmed, we will send you the readings.

Extradition: The Question of Citizenship in the War on Terror

7th March 2014

Who has the ‘privilege’ of citizenship? Should it ever be revoked, and does the War on Terror justify this? A screening of the 2012 Yale Law Project film “The Worst of the Worst: A Portrait of a Supermax Prison”, followed by discussion with a panel of esteemed activists, commentators and writers. This free event is being held by JUST West Yorkshire in conjunction with the Free Talha Ahsan Campaign.

Click for full event details on the JUST West Yorkshire Website

Facebook Event Page

Bradford Students Union, Lecture Theatre 0.51, 5:30pm


The Stuart Hall Project

26th Feb 2014

A screening of the John Akomfrah documentary on the life and works of a seminal cultural theorist. Covers themes of memory, belonging, culture and politics in a 20th century context.

Click to watch trailer

Leeds University, Business School, Maurice Keyworth SR (1.15), 6 – 8:30 pm




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