In the last several years we have seen momentous acts of citizenship across the globe, where citizens have taken over the public sphere and demanded justice and representation in creative and powerful ways. At the same time, citizenship is taking on a global dimension, with acts in one national context resonating and affecting another.
What do these boundary-crossing acts of citizenship tell us about the future citizen? How can we understand what is at stake today when we speak of citizenship and social justice in a globalised world?
This panel will look at the changing idea of the global citizen, from whistle blowers to protestors and migrants, which inform an idea of the future citizen.
This event is aimed at arts practitioners, activists, researchers and those concerned with the role of cultural rights in relation to policies of borders and migration.
Professor Engin F. Isin, artist Jonas Staal, Dina Gusejnova, historian at UCL’s Centre for Transnational History, and chaired by Jo Glanville.
Jonas Staal (born 1981) is a visual artist whose work focuses on the relation between art, propaganda, and democracy. Apart from the New World Summit, he developed, amongst others, the free smartphone application Ideological Guide to the Venice Biennale. His upcoming book Nosso Lar, Brasilia explores the relationship between spiritism and modernism in Brazilian architecture.
Art and the Stateless State
In this talk I introduce my artistic and political organization New World Summit, which I founded in order to develop alternative parliaments for stateless organizations, as well as the New World Academy (co-founded by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht), which engages artists and students to explore the role of art within the political struggle of stateless groups. The aim of the New World Summit is to develop a parallel political infrastructure that redefines, through the radical imaginative field of art, the project of a fundamental, limitless democracy.
Jo Glanville is director of English PEN. She was an award-winning editor of Index on Censorship and is a former BBC current affairs producer. She appears regularly in the media as a commentator on culture and freedom of expression, including the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the London Review of Books.
Dina Gusejnova is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at UCL’s Centre for Transnational History. After receiving her PhD from the University of Cambridge, she worked as a Collegiate Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. She is currently the organiser of an interdisciplinary research project on cosmopolitanism and war.
According to a conventional view, cosmopolitan political philosophy, when it emerged in the eighteenth century, rested on a universal conception of politics and history, a theme that continued to be important for nineteenth and twentieth century internationalism. At the same time, there always existed a rival tradition of cosmopolitan thought: the sense of an emotional kind of affinity between people across the globe in specific moments and situations, one that is typically mediated by witnesses, artists, or writers. We have seen a fluctuation of such ‘cosmopolitan moments’ over the past two hundred years or so: moments of international solidarity with different causes and communities, such as the prosecution of minorities by empires and nation-states, statelessness, the destruction of citizens by their own governments or each other, and natural calamities. In this talk, I explore some of these examples in historical perspective and raise the questions of the opportunities and pitfalls that ‘cosmopolitan moments’ present to a sustainable and institutional politics of future global citizenship.
Engin F. Isin
Engin F. Isin is Professor of politics in Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Open University. He has authored Cities Without Citizens (Montreal, 1992), Being Political (Minneapolis, 2002) and Citizens Without Frontiers (London, 2012). He has published with Greg Nielsen, Acts of Citizenship (London, 2008) and with Michael Saward, Enacting European Citizenship (Cambridge, 2013).
Citizens Without Frontiers?
It may sound odd to talk about citizens without frontiers when all sorts of walls are being erected, borders created, and migrations restricted. Yet, with ‘citizenships for sale’ and dual, multiple citizenships, for those who can afford it the world has never been smoother. I want to talk about this apparent paradox and what it means for the future of citizenship – hence the question mark.