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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Main Speakers

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Keynote addresses by some of the world’s leading thinkers in the humanities.



  • Common Ground Conferences


    Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, teaches English and the Politics of Culture. She was educated at the University of Calcutta, and came to Cornell University in 1961 to finish doctoral work. Apart from her own considerable publications, she has translated the French philosopher Jacques Derrida and the Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi. She is active in the International Women's Movement, the struggle for Ecological Justice, and rural literacy. Her influence has been felt in Art and Architecture, Law and Political Science, in curatorial practices here and abroad. Her work has been translated into all the major European and Asian languages. Her focus has remained education in the Humanities. She is currently occupying the Citizens’ Chair in the English Department at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.


  • Common Ground Conferences Tariq Ali, is a writer and film-maker. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics, five novels and plays for stage, TV and screen. His latest book is The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity. He is a longstanding editor of the New Left Review.










  • Common Ground Conferences Nikos Papastergiadis, currently Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Australian Centre, University of Melbourne. He has contributed to many academic and public panels on contemporary art and the impact of migration. Research and writing has focused on cultural theory and artistic practice in relation to place, migration and globalization. Recent work has focused on the transformation of urban environment in post industrial cities. Publications have included three single author books, edited two books and special guest editor of Arena, Chronico, Third Text, Art and Design, Annotations, Photofile. The author of over many essays in various edited books, academic journals and art magazines. Single author books include, Modernity as Exile (1993), Dialogues in the Diaspora (1998), and The Turbulence of Migration (2000). Co-editor of Random Access (1995), Ambient Fears (1996). Editor of Art & Cultural Difference (1995), Mixed Belongings (1996), and What John Berger Saw (2000).


  • Common Ground Conferences Paul James is currently an editor of Arena Journal and Professor of Globalism and Cultural Diversity at RMIT, Melbourne. He is Director of the Globalism Institute (RMIT), President of the Association for the Public University, and on the Council of the Institute of Postcolonial Studies. He has received a number of awards including the Japan-Australia Foundation Fellowship, an Australian Research Council Fellowship, and the Crisp Medal by the Australasian Political Studies Association for the best Australian book in the field of political studies. He has been invited to give addresses in Japan, France, Germany, Portugal, Taiwan, Finland and Scotland, and is author or editor of 7 books including, Nation Formation (1996), Work of the Future: Global Perspectives (1997), and Tour of Duty: Winning Hearts and Minds in East Timor (with photographs by Matthew Sleeth, 2002).


  • Common Ground Conferences Mary Kalantzis, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. She has been a part time Commissioner of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chair of the Queensland Ethnic Affairs Ministerial Advisory Committee and a member of the Australia Council’s Community Cultural Development Board. She is the author or co-author of a number of books, including: A Place in the Sun: Re-Creating the Australian Way of Life, Harper Collins, Sydney, 2000; Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, London, 2000 and Productive Diversity, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1997.


  • Common Ground Conferences Tom Nairn, Professor of Nationalism and Cultural Diversity, Globalism Research Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne. Originally a philosopher from the post-war Logic & Metaphysics school at Edinburgh University, he later studied in France and Italy, where he turned into a Social Scientist. The Break-up of Britain appeared in 1977 (new edition, Common Ground, Melbourne, and Big Thinking, Glasgow, 2003). His study of the British Monarchy, The Enchanted Glass was published in 1988, and he returned to teach the ‘Nationalism Studies’ course at Edinburgh University Graduate School from 1995 to 1999. After the publication of Faces of Nationalism (Verso, 1998), he went to Australia in 2001, first to Monash University, and then to RMIT, in 2002.


  • Common Ground Conferences Giorgos Tsiakalos, Professor, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and President, Nicos Poulantzas Society, Greece, received a Ph.D. (Dr.rer.nat.) from the University of Kiel (Germany) in Biology and Geology/Paleontology, and a Ph.D. (Dr.phil.) from the University of Bremen (Germany) in Pedagogy and Social Sciences. He taught in numerous Universities in Germany before he was appointed as Professor of Pedagogy at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1984. He is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Education. He has done research in the following areas: population genetics; racism and sociobiology; social exclusion and poverty; education of migrants and minorities; educational praxis; educational reforms. His last main publications are the following books: Handbook of Antiracist Education, The Promise of Pedagogy; Human Society (all in Greek). He is an activist in many initiatives in favor of immigrants, minorities and socially excluded people.


  • Common Ground Conferences Juliet Mitchell is Professor Psychoanalysis and Gender Studies and Head of Department in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge. She is a Full Member of the International Psychoanalytic Society. Her books include: Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria and the Effects of Sibling Relations on the Human Condition; Women: the Longest Revolution; Psychoanalysis and Feminism and Women’s Estate. Her latest book, Siblings, will be published by Polity Press in October 2003. Juliet Mitchell is married to anthropologist Jack Goody and has one daughter and five step-children. She lives in Cambridge, U.K.