Can we start 2016 again?

Since I last blogged, UK citizens have made the regrettable decision to leave the EU. The referendum campaign felt like it had lasted for decades and was, especially in last few months, a hugely disagreeable event as far as its rhetoric goes. So I start the new term in Autumn, like many others, dispirited in all sorts of ways by the nature of our public discourse and not entirely impressed by our stock of politicians. Still the summer was, otherwise, quite a productive experience. I managed to write up some blog(gish) comments on various themes (from Brexit to the emerging authoritarianism in various parts), complete and submit two book proposals (one for a book on ‘hegemony’ with Polity, and the other on ‘the psychopolitics of speech’ with Transcript. Both of these (relatively short) projects have got the go-ahead and will preoccupy me for the next couple of years. I also managed to prepare a book chapter on the UK expenses scandal, revise a chapter on Gramsci and Futurism (that I wrote six years ago!), and present a paper on hate speech at a (perhaps paradoxically) very pleasant conference on ‘Fomenting Political Violence’ at Essex university. So – despite my utter despair at the referendum and, God knows, all the other shit going on in the world – my cogs are still spinning and my levers still functional. Here’s hoping the year ends well (in Syria and in the US election).

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