STREAMS is an international conference for the Environmental Humanities (EH) that gathers researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines as well as artists, activists and practitioners. It takes place on 3-5 August 2021 in Stockholm.
Yet, as you may know from our previous post, already this year you could join a virtual event (ahead of the next year’s conference on location): Streaming STREAMS, which was held last week (5-7 Aug).
To whet your appetite for the many affordances of feminist posthumanities and multispecies futures and the more-than-human arts – collected under of the streams of this conference in 2021 – this trailer will take you on a journey via Art Lab Gnesta. Here you will get to know some of the people and projects of The Posthumanities Hub. You get to meet artists, archaeologist, feminist philosophers and environmental humanities people like Signe Johannessen, Christina Fredengren, Janna Holmstedt, Marietta Radomska and Cecilia Åsberg.
Prepare to submerge, and visit exposures that catalyse and cultivate a range of stories on thinking, eating and socializing for multispecies futures together with The Posthumanities Hub, and …
“As far as the posthuman debate is concerned, there are no grounds for plunging into melancholy metaphysical ruminations about the end of the world. We need energizing projects that express generative narratives and do not wallow in the rhetoric of crisis. Especially when the crisis in question is to a certain extent the lament of white European cultures feeling vulnerable after they have become aware of how anthropogenic global risks are likely to affect them. They need to develop some decolonial perspective.” Rosi Braidotti (2019: 69) on the role of the humanities and its crisis in Posthuman Knowledge (Polity Press)
At the height of the COVID-19 crisis in the Swedish medical system, it might appear hard-hearted to urge us all to not wallow in the melancholia of crisis. However, the energizing projects Braidotti refers to, and we add, the societal collaborations presently exercised in the most surprising places, is exactly what is needed now in society at large. Take the environmental humanities, medical humanities, technohumanities, bioart, collaborative natural sciences and their convergences internationally: many of us have persistently called for radical socioeconomic change, and now we are faced with just that. At a large scale. It is just that it happened in a way that we are not in a position to easily absorb just yet. Theory can wait, slow as it is at its best.
Clearly the impact of COVID-19 is a significant challenge – especially in relation to the vastness of what we do not know, and the humbleness called for by that insight. Yet also, the impact of COVID-19 also takes us to the threshold of societal re-assessments, reimaginings and new beginnings. And we are swiftly learning new things about ourselves, about how we can “stay together apart (in the trouble)” with social distancing and solidarity. (If we can play with the conceptual work of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad). Let us all continue with care, concern and curiosity with one-another. In this there is hope. Call someone you have not talked to for a while, check in with your students, PhD students, or old supervisors, volunteer at the hospital, do shopping for the elderly or other vulnerable members of society, tend to your garden, and focus the force on the piles of books you have always wanted to read.
The world is changing, again, but it is not coming to an end.
Stay safe and well in there!!
Cecilia, Janna and Marietta for The Posthumanities Hub
KTH advertises for a Ragnar Holm postdoc position within a KTH research group.
Are you into STS, history of technology, or techno-humanities, electrics and contact-making (and contact unmakings, such as corrosion, fritting or friction) – and would want do work with us at The Posthumanities Hub of the Department of Philosophy and History? If so please contact Cecilia Åsberg urgently, cecilia.asberg[at]abe.kth.se to discuss this possibility.
NB deadline is extended to March 13, 2020.
Postdoc scholarship from Fysikern fil dr Ragnar Holms stiftelse i Kungliga Tekniska högskolan (The Physicist Dr. Ragnar Holm’s Foundation). Registration number VT-2020-0015
Application period March 2-13 2020
KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.
KTH invites applications for a postdoctoral scholarship in honor of the physicist Ragnar Holm (1879-1970), regarded as the scientific founder of electric contacts and their use, and author of the book “Electric Contacts: Theory and Applications”, Hugo Gerbers Förlag 1946.
A successful candidate should have a PhD-degree, be of any nationality, and is expected to join an existing research group at KTH in a relatively broad field, encompassing Engineering Physics and related subjects, or the History of Science and Technology. Preference is given to areas close to Ragnar Holm’s scientific activities or the history thereof, such as the theory of electric contacts, novel applications of electric phenomena in current constrictions as well as friction, wear, fritting, corrosion and tarnish phenomena on electric contacts and related devices, such electromechanical components including MEMS and NEMS, switching contacts, and micro- or nanoelectronic components. Preference is also given to tunneling effects including the more recent physics of single electronics, and carbon contacts including developments on fullerenes and graphene. Finally, preference is given to historical perspectives on relations between industrial and public research as well as engineering and scientific practices.
The duration of the stay is a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years, starting as soon as possible. Postdoctoral studies must be commenced within six months of the date of the decision. The fellowship amounts to 27 500 SEK per month (travel grants included). The scholarship is tax-free. The recipient will also receive the Ragnar Holm plaque in silver. The candidate must obtain an agreement with a senior contact person at KTH expressing that he/she is welcome as postdoc in the research group.
Candidates must have their PhD degree from outside KTH. The period of post-doctoral fellowship at KTH must be started within five years of graduation.
You are the main responsible to ensure that your application is complete according to the ad. Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than 2020-03-13.
The application must include the following documents:
Curriculum vitae (max 2 pages)
A list of the ten most relevant publications
A description of the research the candidate will take part in at KTH (max 2 pages)
Three letters of recommendations, including one from the contact person at KTH
The candidate should also give the full address, including telephone and e-mail, at which he/she can be reached.About the position
Period: minimum of one year and a maximum of two years
Amount of scholarship: 27 500 SEK per month (travel expenses included)
Start date: According to the agreement
Professor Mats Göthelid (Applicants within Engineering Physics)
Telefon: +46 8 790 41 54
Professor Nina Wormbs (Applicants within History of Science and Technology)
Telefon: +46 8 790 85 83
Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar “Toxic/Trans/Bodies” with speakers Andria Nyberg Forshage (writer, poet and theorist based in Stockholm, SE) and dr Wibke Straube (Karlstad University, SE)!
When: Feb 2021
t4t4t4t4t: Fourfold Sex and Trans-Individuation at the End of the World
by Andria Nyberg Forshage
At present, 20th-century notions of bodily immune systems modelled as repressive-productive sovereign border controls — and vice versa — are at once being superseded, obsolesced, reinforced and reinvigorated as perhaps never before. At the same time, 21st-century notions of desiring-productive, flexible, molecular immuno-security, already dated as hyper-modern, are being folded into and onto any imaginable kind of body, society, or network. In terms of data, flesh, sex, nation, sense-making, resource extraction, ecological disaster, and ongoing resistance, it is at once a situation of planetary global or civil war, armed peace, state of emergency, and stasis.
Departing from a scenario of societal collapse following transgender bioterrorism on a hormonal and molecular scale as imagined in Torrey Peters’ sci-fi novella Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones (2016), this talk explores the drift of t4t desiring-machines in and through the bodies, farms, fields and factories of contemporary and imagined pharmacopornographic capitalism. Where t4t designates trans for trans desire, in the trans woman commune the logograph becomes self-replicating as desire and senseless noise, burnt and embedded through fleshy, tranimal metabolism.
Connecting the fourfold of subjectivation as theorised by Gilles Deleuze in Foucault (1988) with the t4t fourfold complexes of infectious human-animal-societal undoings, as developed through a reading of Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, how might t4t4t4t4t be understood as an operation-operator of what Gilbert Simondon has termed the transindividual?
Andria Nyberg Forshage is a writer, theorist and poet, part of the editorial team for the Paletten Art Journal and currently working with the Knowledge Hub at Public Art Agency Sweden. She has previously presented research at conferences including the First International Trans*Studies Conference at the University of Arizona and The First International Queer Death Studies Conference at Karlstad University. They have a room of their own in Stockholm and a Scorpio rising.
Chemicals, endocrine disruptors and unruly bodies in trans and queer art
by Wibke Straube
In 2018, the post of a vegan group on facebook went viral which argued, that trans and queer bodies are the “damaged” outcome of environmental pollution and endocrine disruption by POP. The post argued further that to lobby for trans and gay rights would mean to support a capitalist, exploitative system of ecological destruction. In response other vegans and this group in particular, dismissed this (cishetero)econormative position and argued this is merely one individual’s opinion. In my talk, I would like to firstly address this “singular” opinion and unpack the idea of the trans and intersex bodies as a result of endocrine disrupting chemical. I will to do this by considering the trans and intersex body as bodily entangled with environmental pollution and toxic contamination (Ah-King/Hayward 2014; DiChiro 2010; Pollock 2016). Secondly, and most centrally, I explore how endocrine disrupting toxins emerge in trans and queer art, intoxicate art practices and artistic bodies, and foster creative pollution that subverts the gender binary norms of EDC discourses and reclaims the toxic body as a monstrous, alien becoming through and within Otherness.
Wibke Straube, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University, SE. Their work focuses on intersectional analysis of trans, non-binary and queer embodiment, affective methodologies and the affinities of different socially marginalised bodies, their forms of survival and possibilities to create zones of liveability. They have published in Environmental Humanities and NORMA International Journal for Masculinity Studies, among others. E-mail: wibke.straube[at]kau.se
In the pilot project “Popularizing environmental humanities: Film and media resources for young adults pondering the stakes for the future”* (Formas communication grant), the challenge of “popularizing” was approached through integrative learning and co-storytelling in the classroom. Instead of creating media resources for the students to digest, they were asked to critically engage with environmental issues through creative storytelling and film making. In this Roundtable session, the project will be introduced and some key questions concerning teaching and communicating EH addressed. Another approach to teaching and communicating has been practiced by Marco Armiero in his open-air classes during Fridays for Future climate strikes, and through this Roundtable we wish to share and compare experiences from these two approaches.
Participants: Marco Armiero, Janna Holmstedts, Jesse Petersen, Lotten Wiklund and Cecilia Åsberg. Chair: Roberta Biasillo.
*”Popularizing environmental humanities”, a collaboration between Professor Cecilia Åsberg (pi), the Posthumanities Hub, KTH, and Lotten Wiklund (co-pi), science journalist at Kajman Media, was implemented mainly during spring 2019 together with researchers affiliated with the Posthumanities Hub, and a group of third grade students attending Samhällsvetenskapsprogrammet at Bromma gymnasium in Stockholm. Janna Holmstedt, PhD, acted as facilitator for the workshops. Participating researchers were Christina Fredengren, Jesse Petersen, Vera Weetzel, Janna Holmstedt and Cecila Åsberg.
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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/.
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 eventtakes 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.
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.
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.