The Falmer Method – Towards a New Kind of Conference

Andrea Cornwall, Frank G. Karioris and Nancy Lindisfarne 

With all the immense pressure on young scholars to present at conferences, to publish and find jobs, it is easy to forget that we got into academia because we were excited about thinking, reading and grappling with new ideas – and that academia is full of people who have those enthusiasms. In the early summer of 2014, at the University of Sussex in Falmer, we tried out a formula for a symposium which celebrated these values. The symposium wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn good, and we think the format will be of interest to others. We’ve decided to call it the Falmer Method.

The symposium was Frank’s idea.

Too many academic conferences bore senior scholars and scare young ones, sometimes quite badly. They are a way to test people, favour a few and put others down. And keep them down. In essence, that is what the usual format does. As Kircher and Biswas (2017) put it, writing in The Guardian, expensive academic conferences give us old ideas and no new faces. Continue reading

Thinking about Feminism and Islamophobia (3) The new grand alliance in the Middle East

Women defendants at a mass trial of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria, Egypt, November 2013

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale explain the changing international alliances in Middle Eastern politics, and how this is connected to rising Islamophobia in Europe.

In most of Europe and North America now there is only one acceptable form of racism: prejudice against Muslims. This is recent. Until 1978 in most of Europe and North America Muslims were often discriminated against because they were Asian, or Arabs, or people of colour. But in the US, Britain and many other countries they were not singled out for their religion. Continue reading