Spring 2019:

18th of April 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Stephen Howard: ‘Dominic Cummings: Errant Philosopher of Brexit’

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In the first workshop of Reading the enemies in spring 2019, Stephen Howard examines the thought of Dominic Cummings, one of the chief ideologues of Brexit. According to Howard, Cummings' writings express an eclectic, Nietzschean worldview—beyond the customary divisions of left and right-wing politics. Cummings’ views on social change, technology, education and genetics reveal his hopes for a radically new Britain that could emerge from the political crisis that is Brexit. Respondent: Giovanni Campailla.


3rd of May 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Tijana Stevanović: ‘On Figures of Hospitality in the Notion of Self-management’

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In her workshop Tijana Stevanović discusses the international, voluntary Youth Working Actions (YWA) from 1948 in New Belgrade as foundational for establishing the longest surviving self-management experiment in Yugoslavia. At stake is what she calls the ’figures of hospitality’ set against establishing order through means of hostility. Her take on Derrida’s notion of hospitality thus opens a discussion into concrete forms of political organisation, whereby notions of foreignness, enmity or even the self could be traversed.

17th of May 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Anthony Faramelli: ‘Shining a Light on the Dark Enlightenment: The Twisted Philosophic Roots of the Neo-Reactionary and the Alt-Right’

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In his workshop Anthony Faramelli discusses the philosophic roots of contemporary right-wing movements, tying together the Neo-Reactionaries and the Alt-Right, the recent violent fascist atrocities, the upcoming European elections and the theory of accelerationism. Focusing on Nick Land's philosophy, Faramelli questions whether a Left Accelerationist politics can ever be free of its apparently fascist origins.

31st of May 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Giovanni Campailla: ‘Democracy as the Enemy: A Rancièrian Reading of The Crisis of Democracy (1975)’

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In this workshop Giovanni Campailla presents a reading of ‘The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies’, a report published by the Trilateral Commission. Campailla’s reading highlights the ideological resonances of this report for the politics of today. He argues that instead of dealing with genuinely democratic experiences, the report should be seen as a manifesto of ‘post-democracy’. That is to say, the report attempts to efface democratic practices in the very name of democracy. For his argument Campailla uses Rancière’s analyses, asking what the critical theory of post-democracy could be like

7th of June 2019, 6pm to 8pm

Minna Pöllänen: Female Gaze and Photography: Problematics in Feminist Context’

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In her workshop, Minna Pöllänen explores the concept of the female gaze. Through practical examples from the field of photography, Pöllänen questions the adequacy of this concept from the feminist perspective. The talk is partly based on her experience in teaching photography in higher education, where students often conceptualise their own practice through explicit reference to the concept of the female gaze. However, Pöllänen argues that this concept is problematic for the politics of speech and image within the field of contemporary feminist practices.

Autumn 2018:

9th of October, 6 – 8 p.m.

Chrysi Papaioannou, See it. Say it. Sorted.

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

The 2018 autumn season of Reading the enemies will begin with a workshop by Chrys Papaioannou (PhD). Chrys’ starting point is the security announcement so ubiquitous in the UK public space: 'See it. Say it. Sorted.' The slogan commands vigilance towards the “suspicious” conduct of others. By examining this exhortation to perceive enemies around us, Chrys questions its relation to the practice of reading and the positionalities and antagonisms we are expected to inhabit while engaged in intellectual labour. Respondent: Jaakko Karhunen.

23rd of October, 6 – 8 p.m. 

Aino-Marjatta Mäki: 'Psychotherapy as a Genuine Conversation' – Or, Why to Read Jordan B. Peterson?'

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

Aino-Marjatta Mäki will in her workshop examine the recent rise of self-help psychology, exemplified in the figure of the Canadian psychologist Jordan B. Peterson. In her work as a Lacanian clinician she has paid attention to the medicalisation and physicalisation of subjective phenomena. Peterson’s self-help discourse appears to counterpoise and support this foreclosure of subjectivity. Furthermore, both tendencies contribute to reactionary social movements. By providing a reading of Peterson, Aino-Marjatta investigates this conjunction of psychology and conservatism. Respondent: Robert Kiely.

14th of November, 6 – 8 p.m.

Cooper Francis: 'How Long Our Present Misery Has Been in Preparation?': Reading Cicero as Enemy'

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In this session Cooper Francis will set out to read Cicero's De legibus in order to explore the possibilities of 'enmity' as a specific method of historical hermeneutic. He will situate Cicero's text within the intersections of the Roman civil war on one hand, and the formation of the Western legal tradition on the other. Looking in this way into the making of our present misery, he will try to clarify the fault lines of our time. Respondent: Maria Chehonadskih.

28th of November, 6 – 8 p.m.

Vlad Morariu: 'God's Enemies: Black Metal, Heretic Narratives and Image Excess'

MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH

In this workshop Vlad Morariu (PhD) will present a reading of Black Metal through two cases, a documentary and a vlog post, where this cultural form is confronted from adversarial positions. He will interpret the first one as a depoliticising displacement of the opposition. In the second case, Vlad will show the emergence of a particular kind of politics, which constitutes itself by blurring or destabilising fixed positions between friends and enemies. Respondent: Peter Ely.

Spring 2018:

25th of April, 6 – 8 p.m.

Peter Ely: 'Reading Margaret Thatcher: Neoliberalism and Community'

Middlesex University, Barn 2


The first workshop will be given by Peter Ely, who recently completed his PhD at Kingston University. He will give a reading of a selection of Margaret Thatcher key speeches. By returning to this founding figure of neoliberalism, Ely proposes that the state of current left-wing politics can be better understood. The decline of the notion of community comes to be seen as one of the main feats of neoliberalism, and Ely suggests its re-appropriation as one possibility for the renewal of the left. Respondent: Vlad Morariu.

9th of May, 6 – 8 p.m.,

Maija Timonen: 'Why Love Hurts - the non-dialectics of sex' 

Middlesex University, Barn 2


In her workshop, filmmaker and writer Maija Timonen (PhD) reads Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex (1970) and Eva Ilouz’s Why Love Hurts (2011). She takes after Juliet Mitchell's critique of Firestone, activating it "against" Ilouz. Arguing for the inseparability of social reality and psychic reality, Timonen defends the importance of psychoanalytic thought for contemporary feminism. Her presentation will act as a provocation of sorts and go beyond theory, incorporating visual materials and creative writing in an attempt to give form to some of the fantasies these texts might belie. Respondent: Aino-Marjatta Mäki.

23rd of May, 6 – 8 p.m.

Robert Kiely: 'The Risk of Tolerance'

Middlesex University, Barn 2


The poet and critic Robert Kiely (PhD) investigates in his workshop the practice of writing for the enemies. By reviewing a range of modernist and contemporary poetic sources he aims to bring to light the hospitality inherent in enemy-engagement. Through his reading, the field of poetry is revealed as a conflictual stage conditioned by, and immersed within, the vagaries of national economies, politics, and the capitalist world-system. Respondent: Peter Ely.


6th of June, 6 – 8 p.m.

Maria Chehonadskih: 'Racism and Nationalism'

Middlesex University, College Building C110


In the last workshop of this spring, Maria Chehonadskih (PhD) will focus on the common and deceptively innocent question: where are you from? By a close reading of Étienne Balibar’s classic essays ‘Is There a ‘Neo-Racism?’ and ‘Racism and Nationalism’ (1988), Chehonadskih attempts to reveal the racism inherent in the state policy that ranks people according their nativity. Nationalism and racism appear to be interlinked through the dual practices of state taxonomisation and the mundane discourse on belonging and identity. Respondent: Aino Korvensyrjä.