The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci (Linköping University, SE) on “Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture”.

The event takes place on 8th April 2019 at 13:15 – 15:00 in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture

Abstract:

This society [British America before the Revolution] . . . does not afford that variety of tinges and gradations which may be observed in Europe, we have colours peculiar to ourselves. For instance, it is natural to conceive that those who live near the sea must be very different from those who live in the woods; the intermediate space will afford a separate and distinct class.
Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.
. . .Whoever traverses the continent must easily observe those strong differences, which will grow more evident in time. The inhabitants of Canada, Massachusetts, the middle provinces, the southern ones, will be as different as their climates; their only points of unity will be those of religion and language.
—J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letter III, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)

In this passage from Crèvecoeur’s famous essay, “What is an American,” he offers a defining imagination of Americans growing alongside and in harmony with their environments. Importantly, he considers the social, political, cultural, and ecological as all part of the “environment” shaping the individual, and ultimately, the collective in the nation that was then taking shape. While Crèvecoeur himself fled the “New World” upon outbreak of Revolution to return to the Old, his collection of Letters from an American Farmer defined for many Europeans and Americans alike a way of understanding the citizen as an ever-evolving constellation of multivalent forces acting upon the body.

How did early Americans imagine, perceive, and interpret their climate? How did these formulations change over time, between first European contact and the turn of the 20th century? This talk will provide an overview of some of the ideas and assumptions about weather and climate common to early Americans. The place-based ontology Crèvecoeur theorizes here was not in itself a new way of understanding human development, but his formulation opened up the space for an enormous variety of regional and local human peculiarities as varied as the climates (and weathers) associated with them. The resultant environmental determinism became, in the United States at least, the dominant way of theorizing embodiment—including physical and mental disease and health—until the advent of germ theory at the turn of the 20th century.

A second, broader concern of this talk is to discuss the role of historicist environmental humanities work in an age of climate change. Much environmental humanities research is, understandably, presentist: we face a daily barrage of environmental crises, local and global, as well as the longer-term, slower violences of climate change at large. Amidst these imminent crises, the presentist focus is not only understandable; it may also be desirable. But where does such a focus leave those of us who spend our days teaching and researching in pre-Anthropocenic periods? What is the relevance and significance of environmental humanities research before the Anthropocene? What does such work have to contribute to environmental humanities at large? This second focus of my talk will, I hope, generate discussion about the theoretical concepts, empirical materials, and/or historiographical interventions that are significant to EH research today.

Bio:

Lauren LaFauci is assistant professor of environmental humanities in the Unit of Gender Studies, Department of Thematic Studies at Linköping University in Sweden, where she also directs the “Multispecies Stories” research area of the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and serves as an international liaison for ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. She is part of the interdisciplinary team behind the citizen humanities website, Herbaria 3.0 (www.herbaria3.org), which collects stories about the intertwined relationships between plants and people. Her research and teaching are wide-ranging, focusing on histories of racial formation, medicine, and the body; US literature, history, and culture from to 1900; Scandinavian cultural studies; and multispecies story-telling. Lauren’s talk with the PH Hub will form the basis of a short article in preparation for a Cambridge UP volume on Climate in American Literature.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) on “Weird Ecologies – Stories from the Void and the Web”!

The seminar takes place on 12 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 in the room HYPATIA at the Department of History and Philosophy (a corridor opposite to the usual seminar location at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

 

Weird Ecologies – stories from the void and the web

Line Henriksen

Abstract

In the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale, the host of the show – Cecil Palmer – warns his listeners about the night sky: behind the stars there is nothing at all, he says, and who knows what might be staring back at us from this nothingness? Who knows what will arrive from out of the void? “Fear the night sky!” he concludes, for it is unfathomable. Disregarding Cecil’s impossible but otherwise excellent advice to avoid the night sky at all cost, this seminar explores portrayals of the void in contemporary digital storytelling, focusing especially on the speculative sub-genre of ‘the weird’. In digital weird fiction, the nothingness of the void seems to hint at the limits of human thought and imagination, which makes it a favoured antagonist – but perhaps there is also a promise to the void, as it reminds us that the world is always much more complex than we can possibly know, and the ecologies we form part of much weirder than we can ever imagine? In other words, perhaps what is arriving from out of the void of the night sky is not something to fear, but a promise that the impossible (something arriving from out of nothing) is possible, including – maybe – a more just world?

Bio:

Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication, both from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a PhD in Gender Studies from The Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University. She is the author of the monograph In the Company of Ghosts – Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters (2016), and she has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology, creepypasta, speculative fiction and digital storytelling. She is the author of award nominated speculative fiction and a founding member of The Monster Network as well as Queer Death Studies Network.

The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (29 March)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (University of South Florida, USA) on Signing Nature, Memorializing Plantations: Public Memory on the Bartram Trail.

The seminar takes place on 29 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Abstract:

This essay uses the example of the eighteenth-century naturalist William Bartram, who explored the U.S. South in the 1760s and 1770s, and whose book Travels remains a classic in American environmental and travel writing. Often used as the voice, conscience or even “mascot” of a local place in the American South, Bartram raises questions about what we mean when we read an author on site. Do we use the literature to build geographical understanding? Or is there a geography of literature, with its own (half-imagined) coordinates? Or, if both, what keeps general as well as scholarly writers shuttling between the two? This paper situates the questions within recent scholarship in GeoHumanities and Space Studies, fields that have yet to clarify their own genealogies and agendas. A work in progress, this paper will use the figure of William Bartram to sort out a critical road map for reading geographically.

 

Bio:
Thomas Hallock is Professor of English and the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies at the Univ. of South Florida (USA). He coedited the papers of naturalist William Bartram, and is currently working on a book about space and place in early American literature.

Tom will be in Sweden as part of a larger symposium held at Uppsala University from 27-28 March entitled, “Enlightenment, Nation-Building, and the Practices of Natural History: The Bartrams and Linné.” In addition to several interesting talks, at that symposium there will also be time to discuss the possible formation of a network of Sweden-based scholars working on early American matters. Please let me know if you’d like more information on that symposium and I can forward it along as well.

Facebook event

Tom’s  presentation “Signing Nature, Memorializing Plantations: Public Memory on the Bartram Trail” will be of interest to anyone working in environmental history, literary history, and spatial approaches to either.

If you would like access to the paper Tom will be discussing in the seminar, please email Lauren LaFauci at lauren.e.lafauci [at] liu [dot] se. The talk is open to all, even if you don’t have time to read the paper beforehand!

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Marietta Radomska at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (22nd January)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Marietta Radomska on Deterritorialising Death: Queer(ing) Methodology and Contemporary Art, which takes place on 22 January (Tuesday) at 10:15 – 12:00 in the seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment KTH, Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm.

Deterritorialising Death: Queer(ing) Methodology and Contemporary Art

Abstract:

This paper stems from a project that asks what happens when contemporary art – in a dialogue with feminist materialist philosophies – is mobilised in order to challenge conventional (i.e. anchored in the Western tradition of the autonomous (exclusively) human subject) understandings of death, and assess multiple vulnerabilities and power differentials that form part of the materialisations of ecologies of death in the context of the Anthropocene.

In other words, the project examines how contemporary art read through the lens of feminist materialist philosophies (e.g. Colebrook, MacCormack, Grosz) may – and do – queer, that is, unsettle, subvert and exceed binaries, given norms, normativities, and conventions that frame and govern the bodies and processes constitutive of death, extinction and annihilation, especially in the given environmental context.

In order to do so, we need an adequate set of tools. In this paper, I argue for a tripartite methodology that queers the traditional human-exceptionalist concept of death: (1) feminist biophilosophy as an examination that does not search for an ‘essence’ of life, but instead focuses on the processes that take life beyond itself; (2) ‘the non/living’ (Radomska 2016) as a way to conceptualise death/life entanglement; and (3) queer vitalism as a ground for aesthetics (Colebrook 2014). By discussing each of these components and employing them in the analysis of select artworks, I hope to open up a space for discussion on this queer(ing) methodology’s potential for mobilising a novel feminist-materialist understanding of both ontology and ethics of death.

Bio:

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Department of Thematic Studies (Gender Studies), Linköping University, SE, and a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Cultures (Art History), University of Helsinki, FI. She is the co-director of The Posthumanities Hub; founder of The Eco- and Bioart Research Network, co-founder of International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Studies and a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network. Radomska is a feminist philosopher and transdisciplinary gender studies and posthumanities scholar. Her current research project focuses on ecologies of death in the context of contemporary art. She is the author of the monograph Uncontainable Life: A Biophilosophy of Bioart (2016), and has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Somatechnics, and Angelaki, among others.

Dr. Tara Mehrabi’s Talk at KTH Royal Insitute of Technology Stockholm (6th November)

The Posthumanities Hub has a great pleasure to welcome to KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm our guest, Dr. Tara Mehrabi (University of Turku, FI/Karlstad University, SE).

On 6th November Dr. Mehrabi gives a talk on “Queer Ecologies of Death” at KTH.

OBS!!! The event takes place in the seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Insitute of Technology in Stockholm (address: Teknikringen 74 D, 5th floor).

It is open to the public and free of charge.

Queer Ecologies of Death

Abstract:
In this paper I explore the human-fly relation within the context of laboratory sciences. I rely on my ethnographic material collected from one year of participatory observation in an Alzheimer’s laboratory in Sweden in which scientists work with Drosophila Melanogaster, commonly known as fruit flies. Drawing on new materialism, posthuman theories and queer theories I explore queer ecologies of death. In other words, I explore how flies bodies as waste crosses the boundaries of natural/artificial, inside/outside, nature/laboratory, safe/hazardous and life/death. I argue that thinking with queer ecologies of death suggests understanding of nature, agency, non/human, and intimacy in ways that goes beyond the limits of human exceptionalism and hierarchical binary logic.

Bio:
Tara Mehrabi, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Unit of Gender Studies, University of Turku (Finland) and Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University (Sweden). She is a feminist technoscience studies scholar who is interested in the intersection of gender studies, medical humanities and environmental humanities. Her doctoral dissertation, Making Death Matter (2016), is an ethnographic study of Alzheimer’s sciences in a Drosophila lab from a feminist materialism perspective. She is a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network. Website: https://taramehrabi.wordpress.com/.

Bioart Society: SOLU Space Opening

[Repost from Bioart Society]

SOLU_Space_merged_new
source: Bioart Society https://bioartsociety.fi/posts/solu-space-opening

SOLU Space opening

Dear friends and colleagues,

In spring we commemorated together the 10th anniversary of Bioart Society. It is now again time to celebrate big time and with great pleasure, we invite you to the opening of our new SOLU Space. The new SOLU Space is a major component of an ongoing transformation from Bioart Society to SOLU – an artistic laboratory and platform for art, science and society. Please join us on Nov. 9th and 10th at Luotsikatu 13 in Katajanokka to celebrate and reminisce the past successful years and to toast to the coming ones!

Friday 9th of November 15:00h

We start with brief opening speeches by Mari Keski Korsu (Bioart Society), Antti Tenetz (TAIKE), Anna Talasniemi (Kone Foundation), Atte Korhola (HY) and a toast to the new SOLU Space with sparkling. After that we continue with an inaugural speech, a journey through (bio)art history with bioart pioneer Antero Kare, performative interventions by Till BovermannKira O’Reilly and Ava Grayson, and the opening of a photographic retrospective of ten years work of the Bioart Society. We commence with food and a proper party. For the party in the evening we kindly ask you to bring some drinks.

Saturday 10th of November 09:30h – 15:30h

A Conversation in Progress
ambiguous, changeable, erratic, fickle, insecure, irrational, precarious, risky, rocky, sensitive, shaky, slippery, ticklish, tricky, uncertain, unpredictable, unsettled, unsteady, volatile, weak, wobbly, borderline, capricious, dizzy, dubious, fitful, fluctuating, giddy, inconsistent, inconstant, lubricious, mercurial, mobile, movable, moving, mutable, not fixed, rickety, shifty, suspect, teetering, temperamental, untrustworthy, vacillating, variable, wavering, weaving, wiggly

09:30-10:00h Welcome with coffees and pulla

10:00-12:00h What we do in the shadows
– a sneak preview into the upcoming book of the Bioart Society with writers and the editorial team moderated by Kira O’Reilly with

Marietta RadomskaDoing Away with Life: On Biophilosophy, the Non/Living, Toxic Embodiment, and Reimagining Ethics
Erich Berger(Deep) Time Machines – artistic vehicles and the scope of the real
Antti TenetzMachine Wilderness – a field report

Short break

Helena SederhomExamining the Monstrous
Kaspari Mäki ReinikkaCave paintings for the AI – Art in the age of Singularity

12:00-13:00 Pizza, lemonade, coffee, mingling

13:00-14:00 What we do in the lights
– an art and science Petcha Kutcha session with
Leena Valkeapää, Minna Langström, Paula Humberg, Lauri Linna, Björn Kröger, Jose Cano Arias, Maarit Laihonen, Jussi Eronen

Short break

14:15-15:00 Discussion panel moderated by Juha Huuskonen/HIAP with
Taru Elfving/Seili residency, Lucy Davies/Aalto Univ., Paul O’Neill/Publics, Pauliina Leikas/Mustarinda, Piritta Puhto/Bioart Society

For more see: Bioart Society

Prof. Christine Daigle’s talk at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (22 October 2018)

The Posthumanities Hub has a great pleasure to welcome to KTH Royal Institute of Technology our special guest, Prof. Christine Daigle from Brock University, Canada!

On 22nd October at 10:15 – 11:30 Prof. Daigle gives a talk ‘Our Posthuman Vulnerability: a material feminist inquiry’. 

The event takes place in the seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Insitute of Technology in Stockholm (address: Teknikringen 74 D, 5th floor).

It is open to the public and free of charge.

Abstract:

My proposal for understanding the posthuman as ‘transjective’ entails embracing our being as radically entangled and interconnected, a being that emerges from a manifold of affects, tensions, and relations and is constructed by them albeit always in flux, being done and undone by this web of relations and including its own relation to it. Our material entanglement with other humans, non-humans, living or non-living beings, renders us vulnerable. Material feminism offers particularly potent insights into our entanglement and its many consequences, such as vulnerability. I argue that we need to embrace our beings as vulnerable as this is generative of a new type of ethical responsibility, one that may lead to the enhanced flourishing of life in all its instances. Beyond accepting and embracing our entanglement, we must actively work toward affirming it and conceive of our vulnerability in affirmative and generative terms.

Bio:

Christine Daigle is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute and of the Posthumanism Research Network, and Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence at Brock University (St. Catharines, Canada). She has worked and published extensively on Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre and is now researching intensely posthuman theory, material feminism, and affect theory.

 

CHRISTINA RESEARCH SEMINARS at the University of Helsinki

In case you are in/not far from Helsinki, FI, (some of) CHRISTINA RESEARCH SEMINAR talks might be of your interest:

These lectures at University of Helsinki are open to everyone and attendance is free – see the interesting programme of CHRISTINA RESEARCH SEMINAR!

Time: Every other Tuesday at 16-18.
Place: Lecture hall C120, Unioninkatu 38 (Topelia)

CHRISTINA RESEARCH SEMINAR FALL TERM 2018

9.10. Prof. Suvi Keskinen (University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Sciences, The Center for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN)
”’Crisis’ of White hegemony, Neonationalist Femininities and Antiracist Feminism”

23.10 Dr. Marietta Radomska (University of Linköping and visiting researcher in Art History at University of Helsinki )
“On Bioart, the Non/Living and Promises of Monstrous Futures”

6.11. Prof. Swati Parashar (Senior lecturer, Institute of Global studies, University of GothenburgSweden)
“Postcolonial Anxiety and the Crisis of Masculinity: The Rise of Right Wing Hindutva Movement in India”

20.11. Prof. Ben Griffin (University of Cambridge )
(”TBA”)

4.12. Dr. Thomas Strong (Maynooth University, Ireland)
“Errors in Kinship: Witches, Queers”

Christina Research Seminar is an open advanced seminar focused around interdisciplinary gender studies chaired by Professor Tuija Pulkkinen. The seminar is organized by Gender Studies (University of Helsinki) and is currently a part of the doctoral programme of Gender, Culture and Society (SKY).

For more, see here.

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”

The Garden Conference poster

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.

For more info click HERE.

Early bird registration until 31st Augst!