When we began talking about organizing a nearly carbon-neutral (NCN) symposium on how the humanities can be rethought and repurposed in an age of rapidly worsening ecosocial crises, we had no idea that a full-blown global medical emergency was just over the horizon. The past several weeks have brought into further relief the necessity of building academic infrastructures outside of conventional conference formats. Furthermore, COVID-19 is testing our academic institutions and societies in ways that will offer many lessons as the humanities respond to longer-term issues, particularly the climate crisis and the spread of authoritarianism. In order to accommodate both those who have been affected by the pandemic and those who are interested in contributing abstracts focusing on what the “emergency humanities” can bring to the fight against the new coronavirus (and, perhaps, future pandemics), we are extending the deadline for submissions to Humanities on the Brink: Energy, Environment, Emergency. We also welcome abstracts for relevant presentations that were set to be delivered at conferences that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. We will now be accepting submissions until April 8.
Prof. Cecilia Åsberg, founder and director of The Posthumanities Hub is one of the keynote speakers in this conference that explores futures as matters of intense politics, imaginings and debates from feminist and intersectional perspectives.
The range of livable futures is being shaped dramatically, and possibly permanently, by several ongoing developments. Climate change and other environmental crises are undoing the material conditions of human and more-than-human life. The rise of right-wing populist politics and attacks on feminism and gender and sexual minorities are challenging the terms in which equality, difference and justice are debated. The logics of capitalism and the neoliberalization of institutions from universities and education to health care, development and work life are shaping how some futures appear as sensible or inevitable, and others as unattainable and not worth of political struggle.
The conference theme, “reclaiming futures”, suggests that how futures are envisioned, enacted and contested, in the present and in the past, has significant implications for equality and social justice and the very possibilities of a livable and just world. The conference asks what kinds of feminist and intersectional engagements with possible futures have emerged, are emerging, or may be imagined. We hope to investigate collectively the implications of the ongoing social, political and environmental changes for the future of gender studies and feminist politics.
The conference is organized and hosted by Gender Studies at Tampere University together with the Association for Gender Studies in Finland (SUNS).
In the context of the current environmental crises, the degradation of natural resources transforms certain habitats into unliveable spaces, while social and economic inequalities and geopolitical, social and symbolic violence expose differential vulnerabilities of communities and individuals. Both global and local mechanisms of necropolitics (Mbembe 2003) exert their power over the lives and deaths of populations, making some deaths more grievable than others (Butler 2004). Simultaneously, unsustainable living conditions and environments contribute to increased mortality rates and the extinction of species.
While natural sciences emphasise the interdependence of human and the environment, Western cultural imaginaries keep drawing a dividing line between humans and nonhuman others, particularly visible in the context of death. The division is combined with a dual approach to death – human death in particular – namely, Western cultural frameworks tend to present human death either as a step towards a disembodied afterlife (Christian tradition), or as something to be eradicated in favour of survival (secular biomedical perspective).
Arguably, the questions of death have been present in Western philosophy since antiquity. While these perspectives explore both ontological and axiological aspects of death, they are primarily concerned with the death of human individuals, seen from the perspective of the sovereign subject. Furthermore, questions around death, human remnants and the cultural and medical aspects of dying have been studied from anthropological, sociological, historical, and psychological perspectives, next to the biomedical ones. Since its establishment as a research field in the 1970s, Death Studies has drawn attention to the questions of death, dying and mourning as complex and multifaceted phenomena that require interdisciplinary approaches.
Yet, the engagements with death, dying and mourning constitutive of conventional Death Studies’ research, have left many questions open insofar as they have often been governed by the normative notions of: the subject; continuing bonds; family relations and communities; rituals; and experiences of mourning, and bereavement. Individuals who do not fulfil the conditions of the normative idea of the human (usually imagined to be white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied) tend to be ignored in dominant stories on death, loss, grief and mourning. Moreover, the current environmental crisis seems to produce a growing consciousness about living in ecological and social proximities to death, which also gives rise to demands for more diverse, nuanced and inclusive stories of death, dying and mourning.
The emerging field of Queer Death Studies (QDS), which the conference creates an arena for, aims to fill these gaps in traditional Death Studies, by attending to issues of: diverse cultural, socio-political, historical, and economic conditions; entangled relations between human and the environment in the context of the Anthropocene; differential experiences of marginalised communities and individuals excluded from the hegemonic discourses on death, loss, grief and mourning, associated for example with the heteronormative model of family bonds; and, contemporary forms of necropolitics: mechanisms of power that force certain bodies into liminal spaces between life and death.
Against this background, QDS emerges as a transdisciplinary field of research that critically and (self) reflexively investigates and challenges conventional normativities, assumptions, expectations, and regimes of truths that are brought to life and made evident by death, dying and mourning. By bringing together conceptual and analytical tools grounded in feminist materialisms and feminist theorising broadly speaking (e.g. Braidotti 2006; MacCormack 2012), queer theory (e.g. Haritaworn, Kuntsman & Posocco 2014) and decolonial critique (e.g. Fanon 1965; Mignolo 2011), QDS strives to advance methodologies and understandings that critically and creatively attend to the problem of death, dying, and mourning in the current environmental, cultural, and socio-political contexts.
In order to search for broad inspirations for alternative articulations and stories which queer, that is, unpack and question the normativities (Chen 2012; Sandilands & Erickson 2012) that often frame contemporary discourses on death, dying and mourning, The First International Queer Death Studies Conference Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings mobilises a transdisciplinary engagement involving not only academics, but also activists, artists and other practitioners. In the context of the conference, to queer issues of death, dying and mourning means to unhinge certainties, “undo normative entanglements and fashion alternative imaginaries” beyond the exclusive concern with gender and sexuality, often associated with the term “queer” (Giffney & Hird 2008, 6). In particular, the conference calls for papers within the following three overall themes: (1) death matters and materialities, (2) queering mourning, and (3) attuning to transitionings run through both days and all keynote lectures.
Stine Willum Adrian (Aalborg University, DK) – “Stitching Stories of Broken Hearts: Rethinking technologies of Death and Dying at the Beginning of Life”
Kira O’Reilly (independent artist, Helsinki, FI),
“An un’seaming mourning
a year later”
C. Riley Snorton (University of Chicago, USA) – “Mud: Queer Death and Teeming Forms of Wildlife”
CALL FOR PAPERS:
The First International Queer Death Studies Conference: “Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings” aims to create an arena for critical discussion of death, dying and mourning that goes beyond the dual approach to death – human death in particular – that is common within Western cultural frameworks of Christian tradition or secular biomedical perspectives. As such, the conference invites scholars who work with death, dying, mourning and afterlife in relation to: diverse cultural, socio-political, historical, and economic conditions; entangled relations between human and the environment in the context of the Anthropocene; differential experiences of marginalised communities and individuals excluded from the hegemonic discourses on death, loss, grief and mourning, associated for example with the heteronormative model of family bonds; and, contemporary forms of necropolitics: mechanisms of power that force certain bodies into liminal spaces between life and death (for instance, refugees whose lives in detention camps turn into the state of “social death” (Mirzoeff 2019)). Interventions that focus on practices that resist hegemonic norms, as well as queer and decolonialise mourning and remembering are also welcome.
In order to search for broad inspirations for alternative articulations and stories which queer, that is, unpack and question the normativities (Chen 2012; Sandilands & Erickson 2012) that often frame contemporary discourses on death, dying, mourning and afterlife, the conference is based on a transdisciplinary engagement involving not only academics, but also activists, artists and other practitioners. In the context of the conference, to queer issues of death, dying, mourning and afterlife means to unhinge certainties, “undo normative entanglements and fashion alternative imaginaries” beyond the exclusive concern with gender and sexuality, often associated with the term “queer” (Giffney & Hird 2008, 6). In particular, the conference will call for papers within the following three overall themes: (1) death matters and materialities, (2) queering mourning, and (3) attuning to transitionings run through both days and all the keynote lectures.
The conference invites individual papers (length: 20 min) that engage with – but are not necessarily limited to – the following themes:
– Queer methodologies of researching death, dying, mourning and afterlife
– Queering and decolonialising practices of mourning, bereavement and remembrance
– Materiality of death and corpses
– Queering philosophies of death
– Death/life ecologies
– Necropolitics and borders
– Queer and trans necropolitics
– Un/grievable lives and deaths
– Death and biotechnology/biomedicine
– Queering cancer and other life-threatening diseases
-Technologies of life/death
– Queer widowhood
– Decolonialising death
– Illness narratives and death
– Ethico-politics and practices of killability
– Nonhuman death and dying
– Extinction and annihilation
– Death and acts of resistance
– ‘Slow death’
– Queering temporalities of death
– Queer spiritualities
– Death, ghosts and hauntology
Please, send a 300-word long abstract, accompanied by a 100-long bio to: qdsconference[at]gmail.com .
Join the 8th Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): “The Garden – Ecological Paradigms of Space, History, and Community” at the University of Würzburg (Germany) from September 26 -29, 2018.
“Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practice“: Conference in Växjö,
January 23-25, 2019 (from Wednesday 1- pm to Friday 1 pm)
This transdisciplinary conference is hosted by the Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies, Linnæus University, Sweden, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Aesthetics and Ecology, Copenhagen/Berlin.
It is generously funded by the Seed Box. Deadline for abstracts: 15 August 2018.
Quite Frankly: It’s a Monster Conference presented by SymbioticA and Somatechnics will be held in the University of Western Australia on the 18-19 of October 2018.
2018 marks 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley’s “Creature” is usually
conceived as a human creation, the stitched-together, tragic victim of
scientific and technological experimentation. We rupture these stitches,
revealing that the Creature is more than the sum of its parts. We invite
papers, panels, and artistic and scientific provocations to explore the
dynamic ecosystems evolving within and from the gaps between the
Keynote speakers are Karen Barad, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Kira O’Reilly and
For more see: http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/activities/symposiums/quite-frankly-2018
You can find the call for papers here. The submission deadline has been extended until 7th April 2018.
Quite Frankly conference is part of the Unhallowed Arts Festival which
includes a series of exhibitions (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts,
WA Art Gallery, Cullity Gallery, MOANA, Paper Mountain and Old Customs
House Fremantle), a day-long Film Festival and other performances. For
more information, see the developments of the Unhallowed Arts site: http://unhallowedarts.org/