Playing like a state

  • Date:

Join us for the latest in our spring research seminar series when we welcome speaker Professor Davina Cooper, Kent Law School, University of Kent.

If states are a necessary part of a more progressive polity, what means are available for re-imagining what states, as horizontal, embedded, activist, and care-oriented formations, could be like?

This talk explores the politics and potential of imitative forms of collaborative play (and role-play) as a way of radically experimenting with states and state-like practices.

Drawing on examples that range from micro-nation state secessions to the creation of feminist judgments, crowd-sourced constitutions and local currencies, the talk considers the different ways in which state play engages with the ‘real’. At the heart of this discussion lie two questions: what value does play have as a way of experimenting with progressive ways of doing stateness; and what contribution can play make to a radical politics of change?

Davina Cooper‘s main areas of research sit at the interstices of socio-legal studies, political theory, social diversity and the transformational potential of state and non-state sites. Specifically, Davina has explored these themes in articles, book chapters and books over twenty years, including in: Challenging Diversity: Rethinking Equality and the Value of Difference (2004); Governing out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (1998); Power in Struggle: Feminism, Sexuality and the State (1995); and Sexing the City: Lesbian and Gay Politics within the Activist State (1994). Her most recent book, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (2014) has just been published by Duke University Press.

The venue is Room G.04 in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University Road, University of Leeds. See here for a campus map.

It is free to attend and all are welcome.

This event is organised by Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies as part of the spring research seminar series.

Image: Steve Ullathorne