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 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/.

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

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

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

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

It is open to the public and free of charge.

Abstract:

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

Bio:

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

 

Re-launch of The Posthumanities Hub at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 28th May 2018!

Meet the Posthumanities Hub programme image

Welcome to the official re-launch of The Posthumanities Hub that takes place on 28th May 2018 at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden!

For a pdf version of the programme, see here.

Meet the Posthumanities Hub! The program of this day represents a smorgasbord of the many projects and activities – and of course some of the collaborating scholars – working together within The Posthumanities Hub.

Programme

Part I. Venue: Salongen, KTHB.

10.15-12.00 “Practicing posthumanities” – introductory lecture with Prof. Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths University of London, UK and, The Posthumanities International Network. Commentary: Renée Valiquette, PhD, Nipissing University, Canada.

Welcome with Cecilia Åsberg, prof of Gender, nature, culture LiU, Founding Director The Posthumanities Hub (PH), and KTH Guest Prof of Science and technology studies of Gender and Environment, and VR-postdoc Marietta Radomska, Co-Director of The PH.

Part II. Venue: Seminar room, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH.

13.15-13.30 Welcome with the Posthumanities Hub, a community of scholars now also at KTH, by Cecilia Åsberg, Prof and Founding Director, and Marietta Radomska, PhD, Co-Director of The PH and VR-postdoc. Welcome words by Sabine Höhler, PhD Head of Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment – host of the PH.
13.30-13.35 “Deep Time and Intragenerational Justice” by Christina Fredengren, PhD, Docent Archeology (SU), Research Director at National Historical Museums.
13.35-13.45 “Prion Stories”, and “Tears for Fish” by Justin Makii and Vera Weetzel, PhD-students.
13.45-13.50 “Flock Frequency” by artist Janna Holmquist, PhD.

13.50-13.55 “A Feminist Feeling for the Forest” by Olga Cielemęcka, PhD, The Seed Box Postdoc.
13.55-14.00 “Popularizing Posthumanities” by Lotten Wiklund, The Posthumanities Hub science journalist.

— Break —

14.15-14.20 “Ecologies of Death” by Marietta Radomska, PhD, VR-postdoc, Co-Director of the Hub.
14.20-14.25 “Death in the Life Sciences” by Tara Mehrabi, PhD.
14.25-14.30 “Feminist Environmental Humanities”, and “Herbaria 3.0” by Lauren LaFauci, PhD.
14.30-14.45 Virtual messages from honorary members.
14.45-15.00 Wrapping up with Cecilia Åsberg and Marietta Radomska.

Part III. Venue: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH.

15.00-16.00 Snacks and “mingle” with the companions of The Posthumanities Hub.

The Posthumanities Hub is a research group, a lively community, and a platform for postdisciplinary humanities and more-than-human humanities, for philosophy, arts, and sciences informed by advanced cultural critique and some seriously humorous feminist creativity. In our research, we specialize in the human and more-than-human condition, and inventive feminist materialist philosophies. This entails work in environmental humanities, human animal studies, cultural studies of science and technology, new media, citizen science/citizen humanities, digital and techno-humanities, medical humanities and environmental health (especially toxic embodiment), the posthuman, a-human, inhuman, nonhuman, and trans-, queer or anti-imperialist theory-practices, feminist science studies, and other inter- and/or postdisciplinary areas of researching a complex and changing world that does not admit to old academic divisions of labour (i.e., that research on “culture” is for the humanities and “nature” for science.) We work to meet up with pressing societal challenges, across the natureculture divide and target specific cases. Curiously, creatively, and critically.

 

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.

QUITE FRANKLY: It’s a Monster Conference University Club of Western Australia 18-19 October 2018 (DEADLINE EXTENDED until 7th April)

2017-08-30-Quite-Frankly-web-banner-900x300Image source: https://www.conferenceonline.com/abstract/alogin/?clear=1&warehouse_id=1423

Quite Frankly: It’s a Monster Conference presented by SymbioticA and
Somatechnics will be held in the University of Western Australia on the
18-19 of October 2018.
2018 marks 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s
Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley’s “Creature” is usually
conceived as a human creation, the stitched-together, tragic victim of
scientific and technological experimentation. We rupture these stitches,
revealing that the Creature is more than the sum of its parts. We invite
papers, panels, and artistic and scientific provocations to explore the
dynamic ecosystems evolving within and from the gaps between the
Creature’s fragments.
Keynote speakers are Karen Barad, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Kira O’Reilly and
Fiona Wood.
For more see:
http://www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au/activities/symposiums/quite-frankly-2018

You can find the call for papers here. The submission deadline has been extended until 7th April 2018.

Quite Frankly conference is part of the Unhallowed Arts Festival which
includes a series of exhibitions (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts,
WA Art Gallery, Cullity Gallery, MOANA, Paper Mountain and Old Customs
House Fremantle), a day-long Film Festival and other performances. For
more information, see the developments of the Unhallowed Arts site:
http://unhallowedarts.org/

 

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 3

Void person_horisontalImage source: Chuck Tingle’s Complete Guide to the Void (2017)

Dear all,

There are only a few 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 also 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 second day we 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! 🙂

Today we have a great pleasure to present our next speaker, Dr. Line Henriksen!

Bio: 

Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen and holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. She 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.

Paper abstract: 

From the Void – Speculative Storytelling and Encounters with Nothingness

The void is a recurring figure within the genre of speculative fiction. Whether in the shape of the emptiness of outer space or the depths of the sea, the void embodies nothingness as well as the limits of human understanding and imagination. This, the void’s associations with emptiness and the ‘beyond-human’, makes it a favoured antagonist within speculative fiction, but also a space of infinite possibilities – a blank page that is never quite as blank as one expects. In this paper, I explore contemporary speculative tales of nothingness as they relate to questions of storytelling and encounters with the (never fully) blank page.

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).