Northern Notes

THE West has claimed ownership of human rights and used them to establish and cement Europe’s superiority over non-Europe. A panel on ‘Decolonising Human Rights’, hosted by the Leeds Human Rights Journal and the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, has proposed alternatives to universalist understandings of human rights. In this post, Johanna...

  In this poem Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli revisits Hannah Arendt’s thesis that the phenomenon of totalitarianism has broken the continuity of Western history, rendering meaningless most of our moral and political categories.    The poem is from Rodanthi’s participation in the Two Sylvias Press December Advent Calendar. To listen to...

In this post, Dr Sarah Marusek situates the issues arising from the recent presidential election in the United States in the historical struggle for rights in that country. She argues that the persistence of Trumpism cannot be viewed in isolation, especially because it is happening at a time when the...

In this post, Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli explores the ethical and aesthetic controversies surrounding the making and evolution of Borat-induced tourism advertising. Art and the new spirit of capitalism Critiques of the ‘new spirit of capitalism’ often focus on the ways art has been transformed into a money-making machine of innovation....

  In this poem, Dr Rodanthi Tzanelli uses poetic language to reflect on the multiple crises humanity faces today, with particular reference to attitudes towards what is “real” and “realistic”.   You are drifting away from what was agreed to be real, past the luminopolitan paradox of the movies we...

In this post, Walaa al Husban explores the contradictions of humanitarian action in a world in which even the suffering of children can be commoditized.   ‘Stop, Think, Give’: these three words set next to a picture of the classic Bvlgari B.zero1 ring  popped up in one of my social...

In this post Professor Scribano explores the colonisation of human sensibilities by technological and biomedical processes. The colonization process of the 21st century has its territory in bodies and its precious metal in sensibilities.  Today’s mines are about sensations and data about their formation.  Ships are digital, machines are cellular...

This is the final post in a three-part series reflecting on questions of racism, violence and identity politics during lockdown. In this post, Dr. Sarah Marusek revisits a popular American television series to decode meanings in the contexts of ethno-racial conflict. Identity politics has become a contentious topic in recent...

In this post, Barnor Hesse and S. Sayyid argue that the latest protests in support of Black Lives Matter illustrate how the racially unfamiliar has recast the racially familiar, creating spaces for an enduring politics of Blackness that expands the decolonial horizon. We have been here before: another killing of...

This is the second post in a three-part series reflecting on questions of racism, violence and identity politics during lockdown. In this post, Dr. Sarah Marusek explores how terrorism discourses and charges of Antisemitism are being used to silence political dissent in face of state sanctioned violence. The recent footage...