The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg (KTH) on 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg on Coloniality, Media and the Anthropocene in Early Americas.

The seminar takes place in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

When: 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

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Abstract:

This talk will address historiography and layers of time based on a decolonial understanding of modernity and its relation to the Anthropocene. The point of departure for my critical discussion of history is the geological evidence for an Anthropocene golden spike proposed by Lewis & Maslin (2015) known as the ”Orbis hypothesis”, as well as the discourse on futurity built into current policy on climate change. The aim is to develop a critical temporality for the Anthropocene, drawing on work by historians on the contemporary crisis of time (Assmann 2013, Hartog 2016) as well as insights from environmental and media history. I argue that the emergence of global political expansionism and extractionist politics with the Spanish Empire in the latter part of the 16th century marked the beginning of an era which is still affecting policy and politics, particularly in relation to climate change. Particularly, I argue that the systematic use of media and information technology for extractionist purposes is integral to what has been understood as modernity (Latour 2017, Haraway 2017, Moore 2015, Mignolo 2015, Sloterdijk 2015). At the same time, the established way of addressing climate change sustains coloniality and projects the cost of carbon intense living a century into the future, as most models end with 2100. The insights of what might then be termed Anthropocene historiography challenges traditional linear conceptions of time by highlighting how the present eco crisis is an effect of past political actions, just as current inability to properly address these issues will come into effect and cause damage in the future.

Bio: 

Adam Wickberg is a Postdoctoral fellow in media history at the Environmental Humanities Lab and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin (MPWIG I). His current research concerns the Early Modern media history of the Anthropocene, where he traces the global changes of long distance governing of nature brought about by early Spanish colonialism. The project studies the human-nature relationship of Iberian colonial history using the critical aspects of media and anthropogenic altering of natural habitats as a material and discursive practice. The bureaucratic use of paper – documents, files, maps, surveys, orders – as a form of governance of nature over great distances is a focal point of the study and are conceptualized as environing media. Recent publications include Pellucid Paper: Poetry and Bureaucratic Media (Open Humanities Press 2018) and “Plus Ultra: Francisco Hernández and the Mapping of American Natureculture” in Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies (2018:2).

Workshop: Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling

Welcome to the workshop “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling in a More-than-human World” that takes place on 4th June at 13:15 – 16:00, in the big seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

No registration is required.

Workshop: Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling

Speculative storytelling refers to a wide range of narrative fiction, poetic and artistic articulations that employ ’fantastic’, supernatural, spiritual or other non-mimetic elements. In the times of the climate change and environmental crisis, accompanied by futuristic ’technology-will-save-us’ scenarios, on the one hand, and visions of  ‘doom and gloom’, on the other, speculative storytelling has gained momentum as a way to reimagine futures beyond the human-centred narratives of the Anthropocene. This, importantly, includes a reimagining and experimentally re-establishing of new posthuman relationalities, corpo-affectively grounded in a situated caring ethics, as well as a decentring and deconstruction of the sovereign human subject and its claim to an exceptional position of enunciation. In this poetic/artistic-philosophical workshop, we will reflect on theoretical and practical tools to be interpellated to approach the radically different, without gesturing towards anthropomorphisation or domestication. Alongside of the theorising, we will also, through poetic-artistic articulations, explore the processes of decentring the human subject position and preparing for ’alien encounters’ – what in the ethics of Gilles Deleuze is framed as ’making yourself worthy of the event’. We will draw examples from alien encounters with lichen, algae, pollen, and underwater creatures, among others. As part of the workshop, we will invite the audience to try out their own approaches to such encounters through short writing prompts.

Speakers/workshop facilitators:

Katja Aglert, independent artist and researcher, SE

Line Henriksen, University of Copenhagen and IT University of Copenhagen, DK

Nina Lykke, University of Linköping, SE

Camila Marambio, Melbourne University, AUS

Tara Mehrabi, Karlstad University, SE

Marietta Radomska, Linköping University, SE and University of Helsinki, FI

PHOTO - M. RADOMSKA
Photo: Marietta Radomska
Bios:

Katja Aglert is a Stockholm based independent artist and researcher whose practice – situated in feminist, more-than-human imaginaries – is transdisciplinary in nature, and includes both individual and collaborative projects. Currently she examines artistically through hybrid forms of storytelling how we through the experiences of multi-beings-encounters can investigate what it can mean to materialise perspectives beyond the human-centred narratives. She exhibited widely, including venues such as Marabouparken and Biologiska Museet, Stockholm (SE); Solyanka State Gallery, Moscow (RU); Polarmuseet, Tromsø (NO); Fotografisk center, Copenhagen (DK); FLORA ars+natura, Bogota (COL); Museum for Contemporary Art, Santiago (CHL). She is an executive board member of The Seed Box, an international environmental humanities collaboratory headquartered at Linköping University. She teaches regularly at Umeå Art Academy, and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design. katjaaglert.com

Line Henriksen, PhD is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen and IT University Copenhagen, DK. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. Henriksen has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology and digital media in journals such as Women & Performance and Somatechnics, and her fiction has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways and Tales to Terrify, among others. She is a founding member of the Monster Network.

Nina Lykke, PhD, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Queer Death Studies Network, and The International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research. Current research: queering of cancer, death, and mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  Queer Widowhood. Lambda Nordica. 2015:4; Academic Feminisms: Between Disidentification, Messy Everyday Utopianism, and Cruel Optimism. Feminist Encounters.  2017:1(1); When death cuts apart, in: Juvonen & Kohlemainen: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York 2018; Rethinking socialist and Marxist legacies in feminist imaginaries of protest from postsocialist perspectives. Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.  2018:24 (2). Website: https://ninalykke.net

Camila Marambio is curator of Ensayos, and her work with the program has been represented in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; BHQFU, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Melbourne, AU. Currently a PhD Candidate in Curatorial Practice at MADA in Melbourne, Australia, Marambio received an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical Studies at Columbia University and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics at Science Po in Paris; attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam; and was Head Curator at Matucana 100 (Santiago, CL) and Assistant Curator at Exit Art (New York, NY).

Tara Mehrabi, PhD, is a 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. She is a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network and a member of The Posthumanities Hub. Meharbi is the author of the monograph Making Death Matter: A Feminist Technoscience Study of Alzheimer’s Sciences in the Laboratory (2016). She has published in anthologies such as Animal Places. Lively Cartographies of Human Animal Relations, (eds.) by J. Bull, T. Holmberg & C. Åsberg, Routledge (2018), Gendering Drugs: feminist studies of pharmaceuticals, (ed.) by E. Johnson, Palgrave (2017) and journal Gender, Women & Research (2018).  Website: https://taramehrabi.wordpress.com/.

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Department of Thematic Studies (Gender Studies), Linköping University, SE, and 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. Her current research 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. Website: https://mariettaradomska.com/

Meeting with Hester Blum: 16th May

Welcome to the meeting with Hester Bloom about her book The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration (Duke University Press, 2019) she has just published and about her new project on ice and temporality (Seed Box project).

When: 16th May, 13:30 – 15:00

Where: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, EHL Labroom, Teknikringen 74D, Stockholm

Hester Blum is Associate Professor of English at Penn State University in the US. Her scholarship and teaching focus on oceanic and polar studies, nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture, Herman Melville, and the environmental humanities. Her most recent book is The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration (Duke University Press, 2019). In it she examines polar expeditionary newspapers and other forms of knowledge that circulate geophysical and climatic extremity, both in the age of polar exploration and in our current moment of climate change and polar resource extraction. In summer 2019 she will participate in the Northwest Passage Project, an Arctic expedition tracking climate change. She is at work on two new book projects: Ice Ages, about the temporalities of ice in an epoch of anthropogenic climate change; and Castaways, a meditation on female Robinson Crusoes.​

QUEERING THE HAIN – DECOLONIALIZING MOURNING: Creative and reflexive writing workshop with Camila Marambio and Nina Lykke

Creative and reflexive writing workshop with

Camila Marambio, Monash University, Australia

Nina Lykke, Linköping University

QUEERING THE HAIN – DECOLONIALIZING MOURNING

An invitation to gather and ask the unthinkable

May 23, 2019, 10-15

Venue:   Linköping University: Campus Norrköping.

Building: Kopparhammaren, Norra Grytgatan, Entrance 10A, Floor 2, room KO22.

Registration:  Please register with name, address/affiliation and e-mail, at the latest May 20, to nina.lykke@liu.se  (max 20 participants)

Cementerio grupo

WORKSHOP FORMAT:

Through creative writing, listening exercises, and sharing of reflections, the workshop will question the Hain and other similar ceremonies, as they are understood through the anthropological material that represents them.

The workshop will take as a point of departure an introduction to the Hain, as it appears in the anthropological/ethnological literature, then move through stories told by descendants of those performing the last Hain in the early 20th century, and to the implied layers of “lostness” and the task of translation and decolonializing.

WHAT IS THE HAIN?

As described by Austrian ethnologist and Christian priest Martin Gusinde (1886-1969), the Kloketen-Hain is an initiation ceremony of the Selk’nam people of Tierra del Fuego.  It is recorded as having been performed for the last time in 1923. Gusinde’s research was later revised by the anthropologist Anne Chapman (1922-2010) and her Selk’nam research participant Lola Kiepja (died 1966). Since the ceremony is no longer performed, it seems to have been “lost” as a lived spiritual experience. Anthropologists and ethnologists, most coming from colonial Western contexts, who have described ceremonies such as the Hain, often limit their description to the specific event (located in space and time) and from their situatedness in the outlooks of White Western Modernity.

SOME KEY QUESTIONS:

* If and, if yes, how, is it possible to “read/write/perform in-between the lines” of the descriptions, framed from the point of view of a specifically located white Western, colonial gaze?

* What kind of “readings/writings/performings-in-between-the-lines” can and can’t “we” (differently located workshop participants) perform

* Which tools and performative re/worlding practices can and can’t “we” collectively develop?

* What can “we” learn as well as unlearn from such processes of collective “reading/writing/performing in-between-the-lines”?

* Which kinds of ethical reflections does the process of generating new approaches to the Hain require and produce?

BACKGROUND

The workshop builds on Camila Marambio’s longtime fieldwork in Tierra del Fuego, as part of the nomadic research programme Ensayos and her  PhD research in Curatorial Practice at Monash University, Melbourne, and on both authors’ joint work to organize ‘Queering the Hain-workshops’ (Melbourne, Australia, 2018, and Santiago, Chile, 2019), recently in collaboration with Hema’ny Molina Vargas, President of the Selk’nam organization Covadonga Ona (Corporación Selk’nam Chile, Comunidad indigena Covadonga Ona).

BIO-NOTES

Camila Marambio,  is curator of Ensayos (https://ensayostierradelfuego.net/), and her work with the program has been represented in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; BHQFU, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Melbourne, AU. Currently a PhD Candidate in Curatorial Practice at MADA in Melbourne, Australia, Marambio received an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical Studies at Columbia University and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics at Science Po in Paris; attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam; and was Head Curator at Matucana 100 (Santiago, CL) and Assistant Curator at Exit Art (New York, NY).

Nina Lykke, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Queer Death Studies Network, and Network for Ecocritical-Decolonial Research. Current research: queering of  cancer, death, and  mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  When death cuts apart, in: Juvonen & Kohlemainen: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York  2018; Rethinking socialist and Marxist legacies in feminist imaginaries of protest from postsocialist perspectives. Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.  2018:24 (2). Making Live and Letting Die: Cancerous Bodies between Anthropocene Necropolitics and Chthulucene Kinship. Environmental Humanities. 2019: 11 (1): 108-136. Personal website: https://ninalykke.net

ORGANIZERS: The workshop is co-organized by Tema Genus and REMESO, Linköping University. Contact: Professor Nina Lykke (nina.lykke@liu.se), Tema Genus, and PhD student Asher Goldstein (asher.goldstein@liu.se), REMESO.

 

The launch of DISTANCIA: A more than human web series set in Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Welcome to the Screening of

DISTANCIA

A more than human web series set in Tierra del Fuego, Chile

 Imagined and visualized by

Camila Marambio and Carolina Saquel

With participation of Sebastián Arce, Ariel Bustamante, Javiera Carmona, Julio Gastón Contreras, César Díaz, Valentina Espinoza, Alberto Harambour, Matías Illanes,  Ivette Martinez, Michael Taussig and Cecilia Vicuña.

May 22, 2019, at 15-17h

DIS

THE SCREENING WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A DISCUSSION WITH

DISTANCIA’s CO-DIRECTOR CAMILA MARAMBIO.

 

Distancia is a story of environmental proportions, a series of tales that have demanded to be told from beyond the strait of Magellan. Speaking histories of unlawful appropriations, exterminations, and exploitations, each episode sketches the shape of a place known as Tierra Del Fuego. Documenting the drive for justice and kinship between a few unlikely characters Distancia chronicles a wind so relentless it shapes the mind. Distancia reports on remote civilian entanglement with volatile geopolitical agendas. Distancia murmurs a road under construction, and in doing so opens a poethical portal.

DISTANCIA

Venue:  CNEMA, Norrköping (room: Statisten)

Kungsgatan 54, 602 33 Norrköping

Admission: FREE.

Booking 011-15 63 00

Distancia is produced as part of the nomadic research programme ENSAYOS, curated by Camila Marambio, see https://ensayostierradelfuego.net/

The event is co-organized by Tema Genus and REMESO, Linköping University.

Contact: Professor Nina Lykke nina.lykke@liu.se), Tema Genus

and PhD student Asher Goldstein (asher.goldstein@liu.se), REMESO.

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/.