Lecture Series

The BCEPT Lecture Series aims to provide a forum for the discussion of salient theoretical and practical issues within contemporary political philosophy. The events organized by BCEPT as part of the Lecture Series are held on an infrequent basis and are structured in a traditional conference format, with one or several speakers offering presentations on particular topics, followed by Q&A sessions where the speakers and the audience interact. The Lecture Series hosts both Romanian and international speakers and while the speakers are usually scholars working within the field of political philosophy, scholars working in other areas as well as well as activists and other non-academic professionals with expertize relevant to the applied aims of BCEPT are also welcomed.

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BCEPT Lecture Series #3: On Postcolonial Neoliberal Nationalism

Date: 14 May 2018

Partners: Faculty of Political Science, SNSPA (National University of Political Science and Public Administration), Bucharest

Location: SNSPA (National University of Political Science and Public Administration), Bucharest

Speaker: Nitasha Kaul (University of Westminster, London)

Brief description: The starting point of this talk is the recognition of globally proliferating right wing electoral successes of a specific kind that rely upon a weaving together of seemingly contradictory aspects of neoliberalism and nationalism. An important dimension of these globally occurring changes is that they reflect something more than simply the empirical instantiation of a right-wing success in any one specific context. They require us to unravel and understand the transmutations in the nature of the political and the economic in the contemporary postcolonial world. Here, I focus on the relevance of uncovering the powerful weave of nationalism, neoliberalism and postcolonialism that lies behind such configurations of power; a governmentality I refer to as PNN (Postcolonial Neoliberal Nationalism). An understanding of PNN requires us to challenge the apriori availability to analysis of either neoiberalism or nationalism in isolation; neoliberalism and nationalism are not only not contradictory to each other, but as projects of re-forming imaginaries, they co-constitute the ideas of ‘market/economy’ and ‘nation/culture’. Further, PNN makes visible the ambivalent status of ‘the West’, since it is imbued with the historical legacy of colonial memory re-called into the present as a revanchist pride and combined with the conflicting aspirational/actual consumption desires to emulate the capitalist imperial metropolitan fantasies. I use the example of India to illustrate how PNN is enacted as a technique of governmentality by the Modi-led BJP government through the reformulation of Swadeshi and the Make in India project.

Author bio: Nitasha Kaul is an Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London where she has been teaching postgraduates courses in Politics and IR since 2012. She has a BA Honours in Economics from SRCC, Delhi University, a Masters in Economics with a specialisation in Public Policy, and a Joint PhD in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Hull, UK (2003). She was previously a tenured Assistant Professor of Economics at the Bristol Business School (2002-2007), an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the Royal Thimphu College in Bhutan (2010), and a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy in London (2007-2015). Her main research and public interests are in the areas of political economy, neoliberalism, economic justice and economic violence. Aside from her academic work, she also writes novels, short fiction, non-fiction essays and poetry. Her CV can be found here: http://site.nitashakaul.com/CURRICULUM_VITAE.html

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BCEPT Lecture Series #2: National Unity, Constitutional Order and the ‘Liberalism’ of Carl Schmitt

Date: 27 April 2018

Location: SNSPA (National University of Political Science and Public Administration), Bucharest

Speaker: Łukasz Święcicki (University of Natural Sciences and Humanities – Siedlce, Poland)

Brief description: There is probably no better thinker to read and interpret now than Carl Schmitt. In times of crisis of liberalism he seems to be another authoritarian, right-wing theoretician who may only be a contributor to the critique of liberal democracy. I strongly oppose such an interpretation. In pre-1932 Schmitt’s writings we may see a Weimar friendly legal theorist whose main politico-legal aim is to defend an actual constitutional order. His political interpretation of the Weimar constitution is for him the only chance to defend powerless normativisticly interpreted legal order. In order to defend itself, liberal democracy needs the political (das Politische). His differentiation of legality and legitimacy seems also to be a reinterpretation of liberalism. Seen from our times, Schmitt offers a response to questions of political stability raised by John Rawls in his Political Liberalism. He locates them both in his legal and political thought by offering practical solution to the challenge of populism.

Author bio: Łukasz Święcicki, PhD in Social Sciences (Political Science), is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economic and Legal Sciences of the University of Natural Sciences and Humanities in Siedlce, Poland. His research interests include political and legal theory, economic theories, constitutional law and public security. In 2012 and 2013 he was a visiting scholar at Ludwig-Maximilian Universitat in Munich (GS Institut fur Politikwissenschaft) and the University of Chicago (Committee on Social Thought). In 2012 he was awarded by Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education with a prestigious „Diamond Grant”. He is the author of a book on Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss and their critiques of legal positivism (in Polish, 2015).

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Justice in Public Policies. A Grassroots View from the United States of America

Date: 1 September 2017

Location: SNSPA (National University of Political Science and Public Administration), Bucharest

Partners: United Way Romania; CFSEA Center of the Faculty of Public Administration (SNSPA)

Speakers: (1) Jasmine Gripper (Legislative Director at the Alliance for Quality Education); (2) Eamonn Scanlon (Lead Education Organizer at Metro Justice); (3) Anda Serban (Advocacy and Program Manager at United Way Romania and Co-Founder of ICAN Romania).

Topics: (1) Equity in Education; (2) The Fight for Fair Minimum Wages; (3) A Comparative Perspective on Civil Disobedience and Advocacy. The Cases of Romania and USA.

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