Oecumene Dialogue April 2012

Dear Oecumene friends and colleagues,

We are very pleased to send you the April edition of Oecumene Dialogues, our monthly newsletter.

Summary of items covered in this issue:

  1. News 'Job opportunity: Postdoctoral Research Associate to join Oecumene team'
  2. Blog on 'Europe, 'Kill Bill' Style'
  3. Blog on 'Religion and Citizenship Workshop'
  4. Podcast 'Engin Isin on Citizens Without Frontiers'

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1. News 'Job opportunity: Postdoctoral Research Associate to join Oecumene team'

*Please distribute far and wide*

We are delighted to announce that Oecumene is recruiting a Postdoctoral Research Associate (duration 18 months starting 1 October 2012).

We are looking for a motivated graduate with a PhD in social sciences background to join the existing research team of 4 Research Associates and 3 PhD students.

The purpose of the Oecumene project is to redefine European citizenship by developing, without the assumptions of orientalism and occidentalism, comparative insights on citizenship understood as political subjectivity in Africa, Asia, Australia or the Americas. Expertise in any one of these areas is required but applicants with a focus on Africa especially in relation to indigenous citizenship would be beneficial.

Closing date: 24 May 2012.

For detailed information and how to apply go to www.open.ac.uk/employment.


2. Blog on 'Europe, 'Kill Bill' Style'

By Iker Barbero

'Growing together. The more we are, the stronger we are' is the title of a recent European Commission promotional video designed to send youngsters in member countries the message that unity is strength. Yet, it does so by showing an extremely orientalist version of the EU. But before describing the video, I would like to point out two questions that the title raises. Firstly, who are the 'we'? Second, against whom do that 'we' need to be strong? The answer to these questions is closely linked to the search for the identity of the European Union and its perceived threats.


3. Blog on 'Religion and Citizenship Workshop'

By Maria Nita Dennis-Jones

Held on the last day of the Oecumene project's First Symposium, the workshop entitled 'Religious organisation and the political articulation of citizenship', explored many relevant and current issues concerning the involvement of religion in the public sphere. The workshop underscored the need for an inclusive cross-regional academic dialogue on this subject. Citizenship as an enabler of political subjectivity opens up politics as a practice of contestation. Here religion has a historical role, and the workshop continually drew attention to the central part played  by religion in political activism.


4. Podcast 'Engin Isin on Citizens Without Frontiers'

In this podcast Engin talks about Citizens Without Frontiers: of those whose acts traverse boundaries. Academics, auditors, entrepreneurs, footballers, investors, journalists, lawyers and managers move as professionals through distinct but overlapping fields (of expertise, knowledge, and competence) that cross national borders. (Sans-frontiérisme has become their ideology.) Yet, when people move across these borders as citizens, unless authorized, they are treated as trespassers and their bodies are caught in border regimes that constitute them as migrants, refugees, or aliens. (Sans-papierisme has become rallying cry.) There is a widening gap between those whose move across borders and those who remain confined within them. Cosmopolitanism or universalism have sought to close this gap but so far neither has identified a field in which citizens can act. This may be the end of citizenship. If not, what prospects can there possibly be for citizens without frontiers?


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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