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Workshop — ‘Speeches Punctuated with Resounding Slaps’: Law, Expansion, Hierarchy, Resistance


  • Melbourne Law School 185 Pelham Street Carlton, VIC, 3053 Australia (map)
 Villaggio Breviglieri, Tripolitania, 1938. U. di Segni, Ente per la Colonizzazione della Libia.

Villaggio Breviglieri, Tripolitania, 1938. U. di Segni, Ente per la Colonizzazione della Libia.

‘Speeches Punctuated with Resounding Slaps’: Law, Expansion, Hierarchy, Resistance 

‘Fascism and the International’ Project: Workshop No 2

Melbourne, 24-26 May 2018

The Laureate Program in International Law and Kent Law School co-sponsored the second workshop in Dr Rose Parfitt's ‘Fascism and the International’ series, which brought together scholars, artists and activists working in and across the fields of international law, history, history of art, international relations, postcolonial studies, sociology, anthropology, political theory, geography, sound studies, feminist studies, queer theory, critical race theory and beyond. Through a self-conscious and sustained juxtaposition of the normative and the aesthetic - of law against art - the workshop's aim was to develop new ways of getting at the past and present of fascism, and more effective strategies for resisting the violent, discriminatory and totalitarian order that fascism seeks to consolidate.

The first workshop in the series was held in June 2017 at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. The second workshop took this collaboration further by opening the project up to new contributors, and nailing down its implications for critique and resistance. For example, are the ‘speeches’ of our leaders — so quickly congealed into ‘hard’ international law — necessarily ‘punctuated with resounding slaps’*(to borrow a sound-image from the Futurists’ proto-fascist war on ‘passéism’)? If they are, must we meet this violence, meted out by law, with more law or with more violence? Are there other tools at our disposal?

Themes for discussion included:

  • The innovations made by fascist international lawyers and theorists of the international in Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, Croatia, Mexico and elsewhere during the 1920s, 30s and early 40s;

  • The international dimensions of the ‘alt-right’, Golden Dawn and other neo-fascist formations, together with their historical connections to, and disconnections from, interwar fascist movements;

  • The relationship between decolonisation, fascism and anti-colonial theory in Indonesia, Martinique, Ethiopia and elsewhere in the Third World;

  • The political economy of fascism;

  • The historical genealogy of fascism;

  • The influence of fascist ideas and practices on post-War legal and cultural regimes;

  • The fascist and anti-fascist history of everyday concepts such as environmentalism, music, motherhood, freedom, time, space, accumulation etc.

  • The relationship between anti/fascism and art, as conceived by movements such as Futurism, Surrealism, Expressionism, both during the inter-war period and today;

  • Anti-fascist resistance and its internationalism, ‘then’ and ‘now’

  • The politics of method: what was/is ‘genuine’ fascism, who gets to decide and how?

A full list of speakers and the workshop programme can be found on the workshop website.