Space/Place/Culture seminar 4 – Duncan Hay. MMU, Thurs 20 February 5.15pm

Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme #3. All welcome.

Thursday 20 February, 5.15pm-7.00pm (approx end time) Room 315, MMU Business School Duncan Hay (Independent scholar)

‘Psychogeography, Marx and Time’

Psychogeography is perhaps best known in the UK as a literary practice which, in the hands of writers such as Iain Sinclair, Will Self, Peter Ackroyd and others, has found its principal object in London. Yet the concept has its origins in the milieu of the Parisian avant-garde of the 1950s and 60s, where, defined by Guy Debord as ‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals’, it was intended as part of a comprehensive reworking of Marxist thought which sought to revolutionise the practice and conditions of everyday life.

By analysing the differing conceptions of time and history that they discover in their respective cities, this paper will seek to investigate the differences between contemporary psychogeography and its radical antecedents, and at once open the question of what it might mean to reconnect psychogeography with the city which so influenced Marx’s understanding of industrial capitalism: Manchester.

About the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme:

The ‘spatial turn’ has opened up dynamic synergies – and occasional tensions – between the work of cultural geographers and researchers working in a range of fields across the humanities. As Douglas Richardson explains, ‘ideas, terminology, and concepts such as space, place, scale, landscape, geography, and mapping’ now permeate interdisciplinary academic research as ‘conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and core metaphors’. Saliently, Richardson – Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers – also points out that such tropes have become increasingly prominent within public life as evidenced, in this country, by a collective preoccupation with edgelands, psychogeography, liminal spaces, cultural cartography and so on. Moreover, the proliferation of digital geographical technologies – including Sat Navs and Google Earth – has revolutionised the practice of everyday life. Researchers at MMU have recognised the shared emphasis on geographic themes as a focus for both internal cross-disciplinary collaboration and as a means to engage wider publics with academic research; the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme is a forum where such research can be discussed, and is open to anyone.

Forthcoming seminars:

Thursday 20 March: Louise Purbrick (History of Art & Design, University of Brighton).’Traces of Nitrate’.

Thursday 17 April: Simon Faulkner (Art History, MMU). ‘The politics of here and there: Visual representations of spatial difference in Israel/Palestine’.

For further enquiries: g.macdonald@mmu.ac.uk