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/

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Nina Lykke and Camila Marambio: 4th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Nina Lykke and Camila Marambio on Decolonialising Mourning Through Speculative Wonder and Unthinkable Questions? On the Selk’nam ‘Hain’ and Its Layers of Lostness.

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

When: 4th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Cementerio grupo

Abstract:

This lecture investigates multi-layered meanings of mourning, death and loss in the context of decolonialising endeavours to learn from indigenous cosm-onto-epistemologies.  In focus is the so-called Hain, an initiation ceremony of the Selk’nam people of Tierra del Fuego. As described by Austrian ethnologist and Christian priest Martin Gusinde (1886-1969), it is recorded as having been performed for the last time in 1923. Gusinde’s research was later revised by US anthropologist Anne Chapman (1922-2010) and her Selk’nam research participant Lola Kiepja (died 1966). Since the ceremony is no longer performed, it is ‘lost’ as lived spiritual experience. Accordingly, Gusinde and Chapman embed their accounts in a context of white Western melancholia (cf. reoccurring phrases such as ‘the last Selk’nam’, ‘the last Hain’ etc). The lecture aims at critically analysing these ways of sustaining coloniality through mourning, and exploring other critically-affirmative, decolonialising approaches, and caring ethics. It builds on one author’s (Marambio) longtime fieldwork in Tierra del Fuego, carried out together with Fuegans, and on both authors’ joint work to organise Hain-workshops, using speculative wonder (Stengers 2011) and creative analytical practices to ask unthinkable questions and engage participants in collective endeavours to approach the Hain and mourn its layers of lostness otherwise.

Bio:

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).

Nina Lykke, PhD, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Has participated in the building of Feminist Studies in Scandinavia and Europe more broadly since the 1970s. Co-founder of International Network for Queer Death Studies, and International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research. Current research interests: queering of cancer, death, and mourning in posthuman, queerfeminist, materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  Queer Widowhood. Lambda Nordica. 2015:4; Assisted Reproduction Across Borders (co-ed. Merete Lie, Routledge 2016); Academic Feminisms: Between Disidentification, Messy Everyday Utopianism, and Cruel Optimism. Feminist Encounters.  2017:1(1); When death cuts apart: On affective difference, compassionate companionship and lesbian widowhood. T.Juvonen & M.Kohlemainen (eds): Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. (Routledge 2018). She has served on numerous international editorial boards, among others for European Journal of Women’s Studies; currently she is in the advisory board of Signs. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and co-editor of the book series Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality.

 

 

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 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.

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

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!

 

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ by Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Photo: Cecilia Åsberg

Join us for the EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ – for more info click HERE.

Webinar: ‘Toxic Embodiment’

By Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Sat, Aug 25th, 10:30-12:00 CEST.

REGISTER HERE

Existential concerns around environmental health today involve a much wider set of issues (and a wider set of bodies) as we intra-act with antibiotics, nanoparticles, and untested chemical cocktails through the food we eat, the make-up we wear, the new sofas we sit on, or the environments we dwell in. We are more acutely aware today of how we are in nature, and nature – polluted as it may be – in us. With the recognition of the ecological crisis and its gravity, we have – according to some scientific experts – entered a new geological period: the Anthropocene, in which it is the human who constitutes the biggest threat to the survival of the earth and its human as well as more-than-human inhabitants.

Through the proliferation of plastics and chemical pollution more generally, petrochemicals constitute in effect forms of social, material, and biological writing of toxic embodiment. This makes toxic embodiment an urgent concern for environmental humanities and for environmental literacies at large.

Advancements in genetic engineering, the chemicalization of food production, and the rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry have made human, animal, and plant embodiments simultaneously enhanced and debilitated. They become ‘toxic bodies’, ‘pharmaceutical subjects’, and they leave a toxic footprint in the world.

By approaching the theme of ‘toxic embodiment’ from a broad and transdisciplinary perspective (eco-cultural studies; body and gender studies; medicine and life sciences; posthumanities; science, technology, and society; and, especially, the environmental humanities), this webinar will explore the risks and the opportunities that these changes may bring.

More specifically, the session will engage with the topic of toxic embodiment as our always-already environed technobodies, and how they/we are shaped by health norms and toxic realities that put into question the notions of health and disease, vulnerability and well-being, as well as life/death, and the dis/ability of the ‘natural’ human body. Here, the ‘human’ emerges as a set of toxic embodiments – ones that are radically tethered to, or shaped by, their milieus, including their more-than-human companions (synthetic molecules, microbes, fungi, plants, and animals), and the ways they/we all come together.

 

Inspirational questions:

  1.  How do questions of toxicity and its impact on both human and nonhuman bodies influence environmental discourses? How do they influence the articulation of environmental problems? What kind of imaginaries do they mobilise and what futures do they seek to envision?
  2. What conceptualisations of the body emerge from the present narratives on toxicity? What are the understandings of the subject that are (re)produced through these narratives?
  3. Environmental discourses that engage with the issues of toxicity often put emphasis on the ideas of the natural and the anthropogenic, the normal and the abnormal, as well as health and illness. How are these notions understood in the context of the webinar readings? Are they reworked or abandoned? What does the enquiry of toxic embodiment do to their conventional understandings?
  4. What new approaches, methodologies, and methods does the work on toxic embodiment offer?

Primary literature:

Ah-King, Malin and Eva Hayward. 2013. ‘Toxic Sexes: Perverting Pollution and Queering Hormone Disruption’. O-zone: A journal of object-oriented studies 1: 1-12. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6368781/Toxic_sexes_Perverting_pollution_and_queering_hormone_disruption

Alaimo, Stacy. 2016. ‘Conclusion’ in Exposed. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Available at: https://dearchivecollaboration.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/alaimo-from-exposed.pdf

Chen, Mel Y. 2011. ‘Toxic Animacies. Inanimate Affections’. GLQ 17(2-3): 265-286. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1163400

Davis, Heather. 2015. ‘Toxic Progeny: The Plastisphere and Other Queer Futures.’ philoSOPHIA 5 (2): 231-250. Available at: http://heathermdavis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Philosophia_Davis.pdf

Additional readings:

Zahara, Alexander R.D. and Myra Hird. 2015. ‘Raven, Dog, Human: Inhuman Colonialism and Unsettling Cosmologies’. Environmental Humanities 7: 169-190. Available at: http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol7/7.9.pdf

Giovanna DiChiro (2010) ‘Polluted Politics? Confronting Toxic Discourse, Sex Panic, and Eco-Normativity’ in Queer Ecologies, eds. C. Sandilands & B. Erickson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 199-230.

Haraway, Donna. 2016. ‘Awash in Urine: DES and Premarin in Multispecies Response-ability’ in Staying with the Trouble. Durham: Duke University Press: 104-116.