Oecumene research and the European Year of Citizens 2013

Friday, 17 May 2013, 14:00 - 16:30
Europe House, London

Deena Dajani and Jack Harrington, both Oecumene Project ‘Citizenship after Orientalism’ team members will present their research at an event organised by Ransackers as part of the European Year of Citizens 2013.

Deena Dajani speaks about the figure of the 'fool' in her her research. The word 'fool' conjures up an image of a court-jester situated next to a king, subversive, witty and critical, voicing in court that which was only otherwise communicated in whispers. This image survives today through the works of Erasmus and Shakespeare, and produces this fool as ideal, political and European. The paper will contest this legacy first by introducing Bahlūl al-Majnūn al-Kufī, a Sufi sheikh from the 8th century who under the guise of madness (for it is rumoured that al-Kufī feigned madness to avoid being called on to serve al-Mahdī, the ruling caliph at the time) contested the dominant politics of his day, and second, by considering how the privileging of the renaissance fool in court came at the expense of other forms of folly which also had the potential to develop subversive challenges to the court, such as madness and clowning, which came to be seen as lacking and deficient, 'emptied' of any political significance.

Jack Harrington's presentation asks 'Do we still live in an age of empire? How does the imperial past shape the ways in which we understand politics?' His talk offers some ways of thinking about these questions.

The event takes place at Europe House, Monet room, London on 17 May 2013, 2.00pm - 4.30pm.

For registration, please email Oecumene-project@open.ac.uk

Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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