Next CCT event 4th Dec

An evening of beer, philosophy, discussion, art, and music – not necessarily in that order…

Thurs 4th December, 2014
Upstairs at the Railway Hotel, Southend-on-Sea,
‘You were the first to teach us something absolutely fundamental: the indignity of speaking for others’ (Gilles Deleuze to Michel Foucault)
Joseph Conrad (6) copy
With the rise of increasingly xenophobic mainstream political discourse in the form of immigrant bashing and confused claims of ‘England for the English’, to be marked as ‘Other’ in the contemporary moment is to be marked as inferior and, in a self-contradictory move, perceived simultaneously as both a drain on national resources and a competitive threat to securing employment, invariably in non-unionized, low-paid sectors.
We ask, how is it that a privately educated, ex-commodities broker – ordinarily an object of class-based resentment – has managed to pass himself off as a ‘man of the (common) people’, capable of stemming the influx of this Other and rectifying the policy errors of an out-of-touch, Westminster-fixated political establishment? Is a Russell Brand-inspired revolution the only answer?
This Club Critical Theory event will address these questions by engaging with the work of two prominent UK-based writers with familial histories in Eastern Europe and therefore critically placed to theorize the English at work and play. Agata Pyzik and Sophia Deboick will discuss their published work – including examinations of the ‘exotic’ appeal Eastern Europe held for Bowie in the mid-70s and the quasi-religious fervour with which fans of Depeche Mode support their idols – and in doing so will invite us to explore both the roots and the routes by which the Other is marked and fixed in the public imagination as both a source of fear and fascination.In order to provide some theoretical context for this event, we invite you to read Edward Said’s 2003 preface to his seminal 1977 book, Orientalism. A version is available here:


Agata Pyzik

Agata Pyzik is a Polish journalist and author whose work has appeared in publications such as The Wire, The Guardian, New Statesman, New Humanist, Afterall and Frieze. She studied philosophy, art history, English and American studies in Warsaw and has interviewed some of the foremost contemporary leftist thinkers and art theoreticians, which provides context for her interest in contemporary forms of resistance and political aesthetics. Agata is the author of the highly acclaimed, Poor But Sexy: Culture Clashes in Europe East and West (Zero Books).

Sophia Deboick

Sophia Deboick is a historian of religion and popular culture and a freelance writer. Her doctoral thesis looked at the role of images in the cult of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux in early twentieth-century France. Her broader interests include popular religion and sainthood, particularly in modern France and Poland. Sophia also has an interest in fan cults and pilgrimage, in both the sacred and secular contexts of Catholicism and popular music. She writes on history, religion and culture at The Guardian, The Quietus and elsewhere.


Introduction: Giles Tofield

Chair: Andrew Branch

Guest DJ: Beardy Al

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