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.

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 4 (and last)

Radomska - Archives of LichenologyImage: Marietta Radomska, Archives of Lichenology  (2017)

There are only three days left till the Symposium “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling”, co-organised by The Posthumanities Hub and TEMA GENUS Higher Seminar Series at Linköping University, and thus, we continue to provide you with some sneak peeks into what you’ll be able to fully enjoy on 5th April at Tema Genus!

More specifically, every other day we’ve given you a little insight into what our speakers are going to talk about. Or, in other words, every other day you’ve been able to learn a bit more about each presenter and their paper!:)

Today we present our last speaker, Dr. Marietta Radomska!

Bio:

Marietta Radomska is a Postdoc at Linköping University, SE; 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 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).

Paper abstract:

Non/Living Archives of Lichenology: Between Stories of Living and Dying in a More-than-human World

The ‘Postmodern Synthesis’ of evolutionary biology (Koonin 2009) challenges the paradigmatic ideas of evolutionary decent, reproductive transmission of genes, and the notion of the individual (be it an organism, a population, or a species). As biologist Scott F.Gilbert argues, instead of individuals, we should talk about ‘holobionts’: composite organisms becoming through multiple cooperative processes.
This paper, being itself a piece of speculative storytelling, aims to explore what thinking with and through the figuration of the lichen – a primary example of a holobiont – can do to the cultural imaginaries and our understandings of the ontologies (and ecologies) of living and dying in a more-than-human world.

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 2

Nina Lykke Cliffs of Fur built of algae (2017)Image: Nina Lykke, Cliffs of Fur built of algae (2017)

As the Mini-Symposium Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling approaches, we continue the presentation of our speakers (see also: Part 1).

Today it is our great pleasure to introduce you to our second speaker, Prof. Nina Lykke!

 

Bio

Nina Lykke, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Network for Queer Death Studies, and Network for Ecocritical and Decolonial Research. Her current research focuses on queering of cancer, death, and mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives, and on 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: On affective difference, compassionate companionship and lesbian widowhood. T.Juvonen and M.Kohlemainen (eds): Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York, London (2018).

Paper abstract

Becoming with algae. Exploring Speculative Stories of Reimagining the Imperceptible.

Diatomite earth is fossilized remains of diatoms, single-celled aquatic algae. In the paper, I use diatoms as lens to ask, what diatomite earth may tell about a flat life/death ontology, and which possibilities for speculative story-telling it may open. My focus is a diatomite cliff formation on the Danish island of Fur – and my life partner’s ashes, spread in the waters beneath. I reflect on my co-becoming with my partner through a combination of poetic, autophenomenographic, and philosophic-cultural reflections on her becoming imperceptible in a Deleuzean sense, and her transforming into a body of ashes, now mixed with diatomite sand. The paper’s analysis is based on examples from these writings.

 

The symposium takes place on 5th April 2018, 13:15 – 16:30 at Linköping University (room: Faros; Tema building; Campus Valla).

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 1

C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E0_Aglert

Image: Still from ‘Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E  (the first encounter) II’, by Katja Aglert (2017). 

 

Dear all,

As there is only nine days left till the Symposium “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling”, co-organised by The Posthumanities Hub and TEMA GENUS Higher Seminar Series at Linköping University, we’ve decided to provide you with a bit of sneak peek into what you’ll be able to fully enjoy on 5th April 2018 at Tema Genus!

More specifically, every second day (counting from today) we’ll give you a little insight into what our speakers are going to talk about. Or, in other words, every second day you’ll be able to learn a bit more about each presenter and their paper! Stay tuned! 

And of course, we start the presentation series with our very special guest, artist Katja Aglert!

Bio

Katja Aglert is an independent artist and researcher who’s practice is transdisciplinary in nature, and includes both individual and collaborative projects. She exhibited widely in Sweden and internationally including solo exhibitions at Polarmuseet, Tromsø, Norway (2017/2018); Biologiska Museet, Stockholm (2016); FLORA ars+natura, Bogota, Colombia (2015/2016) Museum for Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile (2015/2016); Marabouparken, Stockholm (2014). As artist she teaches regularly at institutions such as Stockholm University, and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design. For more info: katjaaglert.com

 

Paper abstract

< > ‘Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E  (the first encounter)’ > <

This presentation unfolds some of the research related to the artistic project ’Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E  (the first encounter)’. It discusses how speculative forms of storytelling developed through artistic experiments in practice, can become means for new materialisations and worldings beyond the binary views. The project explores possibilities of inter-species communication with alien aquatic beings through sound frequencies in marine environments. Exchange between diverse beings has a rich spectrum and is, amongst other things, related to the preference of speed. In other words, we cannot greet a crab on the same frequency as a clam. Furthermore, will someone reply, and how?

 

Feminist posthumanities is for everybody!

Human nature is not the oxymoron we imagined it to be. In this new planetary age of the Anthropocene, defined by human-induced climatic, biological, and even geological transformations, we humans are fully in nature. And nature is fully in us. This was, of course, always the case, but it is more conspicuously so now than ever before: people are entangled in co-constitutive relationships with nature and the environment, with other animals and organisms, with medicine and technology, with science and epistemic politics. We live and die, play, thrive, and suffer by each other. For example, think of “mad cow” disease, where humans feeding cows with by-products from slaughtered sheep infected with the prionic disorder “scrapie” in turn generates prion disorders in cows that get transmitted to human beef consumers through a series of transcorporeal (Alaimo 2010) gestures across species. We can think, too, of pollen allergies and their increased prevalence as an index of our environed embodiment. Or how hormone-like substances seep from plastics into microorganisms, fish bodies, human infants in increasingly aggressive polymere ecologies. While culture and nature never were in fact separated but for academic divisions of labour, we live in a time when the so called “human mastery”, alterations, and especially the “slow violence (Nixon 2011) of these naturcultural relationships of embodied environments and environed embodiments appear to us more clearly. For such power-imbued yet generative relationships, we need a more-than-human humanities. We also need expertise on human differences; those between men and women; between men and men, or women and women; transgender, and internal to our, after all, not-so-fully rational human (and microbial) Selfhood. More-than-human and human differences (gender, class, race, nationality, age, sexual orientation, specie- or land relationality, etc) interplay in intricate ways, socially. Our work at the Posthumanities Hub, take such differences very seriously as we make our case for diverse feminist forms of the posthumanities (Wolfe 2003). Our starting points are diverse too; a love for science, art and philosophy,  postnatural feminisms, technological empowerment, humanities disciplines like history, literature, philosophy, languages, the cyborg ontology and situated epistemology of Donna Haraway (1991), anti-racist justice movements and anti-colonial environmentalism, veganism, plant theory, and multispecies justice. All of these are critical and creative endevours that provide mind-sets and society’s psyche with new concepts to guide thought and practice.  At The Posthumanities Hub, we embrace a feminist posthumanities that stands able to frame naturecultures unfolding and recalibrate humanities analytics for an Anthropocene of many differences. We aim for alliances and research worthy of our complex times, a humanities for our  “postnatural” condition of human and nonhuman co-constitution of the planetary.