The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack, 30th January 2020, 13:15-15:00, KTH

Manifesto

Welcome to the first Posthumanities Hub event in 2020 – the seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) on A Joyful Apocalypse: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene.

When: 30th January, 13:15 – 15:00

Where: the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

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OBS! Please REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT by sending an email to: the.posthumanities.hub[at]gmail.com

Abstract:

To end the anthropocene  is a call to activism at a time where ways of living seem impossible to proscribe and the world’s many urban and natural environments and organisms are increasingly transforming, some becoming more vulnerable while others increase their exertion of power over global systems of information and control. During these ages it can be difficult to imagine new and multiple ways of existing where hopelessness and imagination exist simultaneously. Beyond the Posthuman, but firmly within this world, my concept of the Ahuman acknowledges we aren’t nonhuman, but devalues the term human and its thus far devastating consequences for the world in order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in a world where meaning and reality are tentative but material actuality and lives (of all varieties) are in need of novel modes of intervention and interaction for the liberation and creative freedom of all organisms and the ecology of the Earth as a whole. Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas such as human extinction and vegan abolition this paper navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post – and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is in order to actively think and live with connectivity (actual not virtual), viscerally, with passion and grace, toward a new world. The irony of the apocalypse is that the world continues nonetheless.  How can we live more ethically? How can the end of the human (even the posthuman) mean the end of human privilege as that which assists in opening the world to all life and to the human apocalypse being the birth of the world through deep ecology?

Bio:

Patricia MacCormack is Professor of Continental Philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University. She is the author of Cinesexuality (2008), Posthuman Ethics (2012) and The Ahuman Manifesto (2020), the editor of The Animal Catalyst: Toward Ahuman Theory (2014) and the co-editor of Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Cinema (2008), Deleuze and the Animal (2017) and Ecosophical Aesthetics (2018). She publishes extensively in the posthuman, queer theory, animal studies, horror film, and Continental Philosophy.

The event is organised in collaboration with the Konstfack Research Week 2020 – see the detailed programme here.

 

State of the Art Network: video report and follow-up

You might recall our involvement in the State of the Art Network meeting and seminar, organised last October by The Independent AIR in collaboration with Bioart Society, The Posthumanities Hub and Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology?

Finally, the video recordings from a 3-day long event are posted online and if you didn’t have a chance to participate in that unique event, you can have a bit of taste by checking them out here.

Also, the working group of the network is intensely working on the follow-up project and events, so please, stay tuned!

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

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

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

When: 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

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Abstract:

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

Bio: 

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

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.

 

 

Open Humanities Lab Symposium: New Humanities & the Anthropocene (14-15 May)

Welcome to the Open Humanities Lab Symposium: New Humanities & the Anthropocene, taking place on 14th & 15th May at Openlab, Stockholm.

In order to register for the event, please send an email to: the.posthumanities.hub[at]gmail.com

New Humanities & the Anthropocene (Uncertainty, response-ability and humankind)

Now, the environment is in us, and we humans are fully in the environment: that much is clear in this new planetary era of uncertainty some call the Anthropocene. This new geological period, the environmental ‘Age of Man’, is often defined by unparalleled human disturbance of the Earth’s ecosystems, climate, and biodiversity. Almost half of the wildlife on Earth has been lost in the past forty years. Perhaps we will soon have spawned more transgenic organisms, synthetic biological systems, hybrid creatures or artificial intelligences than we ever asked for. In the age of the Anthropocene, humans have become a ‘force of nature’, making nature – in its classical sense – over.  The old idea of Universal Man  in its classical and imagined sense of a bounded individual, safely zipped up in a white skin of his own, guided by rational thought rather than sociability, preconceptions and desires, along with his anthropocentrism seem dated, if not down-right detrimental to our planetary existence. Conventional divides between nature and culture, sex and gender, body and technology, human and animal, and between science and society, have collapsed.

During the past several decades, emerging research in the humanities has turned its attention to subjects that were previously conceived as ‘not human enough’: women, queers, children, migrants, people of colour, elderly, and other groups. Simultaneously, popular culture, technologies, animal subjects, insects, plants, whole ecosystems, along with all kinds of human and more-than-human infrastructures, call for our attention. After all, values, purpose, existential conditions and sociocultural formations that are historically sustained, or not, on local or larger scales, are the expertise of the humanities (and its sibling social sciences). The human exceptionalism of the humanities is increasingly abandoned in favour of planetary ethics, societal accountability, and a more-than-human humanities of conviviality. We witness now the exciting emergence of new humanities, responding to present societal challenges.

How can the humanities accommodate the transformations associated with advances in science, technology, medicine, with the Anthropocene and the ‘great acceleration’ of planetary damage following suit with ’progress’ and ‘growth’? Is there a solidarity in our precarious diversity as we now all have to learn to live with the wounds of the world, to live on a damaged planet? Can we, like Timothy Morton, re-imagine kindness in its human and more-than-human sense? How can the new humanities, like environmental humanities, feminist bio-philosophy, cyborg studies, architectural philosophy, multispecies studies, eco-art, citizen humanities, gender studies, human-animal studies, plant theory, techno-humanities, media studies and digital humanities, respond to the challenges of the Anthropocene? Such forms of posthumanities – or new humanities – often share a sense of belonging in a world not divided across nature and culture, arts and sciences. For new humanities, postdisciplinary bridge-building and collaborations are crucial. So is responsibility, response-ability, and situated knowledges, as Donna Haraway and decades worth of feminist theorising on what gets to count as human or natural remind us.

Can the new humanities, transformative and integrative in nature, become not just relevant to society but also enact real change? Can we have research that is participatory, communicable, and, as Rosi Braidotti puts it, ‘worthy of our times’?

Come join the conversation on uncertainty, response-ability, and humankind in the age of the Anthropocene, and see if the new humanities’ cultivation of attentiveness, curiosity, care, concern, and critique can do something for you, co-existentially with others.

Warmly welcome to an open dialogue amongst various artists, scholars, educators, citizens, academic activists, and journalists, a symposium where we break bread together in public and forge new brave alliances in the face of the unexpected!

After all, humanities is for everybody.

Speakers:

Katja Aglert, independent artist and researcher, SE

Marco Armiero, KTH, SE

Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, UK

Christine Daigle, Brock University, CA

Hayden Lorimer, University of Glasgow, UK

Christina Fredengren, Stockholm University, SE

Hélène Frichot, KTH, SE

Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths, UK

Myra Hird, Queen’s University, CA

Janna Holmstedt, KTH, SE

Lauren LaFauci, Linköping University, SE

Nina Lykke, Linköping University, SE

Tara Mehrabi, Karlstad University, SE

Norie Neumark, LaTrobe University, AU

mirko nikolić, independent artist, SE/FI

Jesper Olsson, Linköping University, SE

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

Lina Rahm, Linköping University, SE

Margrit Shildrick, Stockholm University, SE

Sverker Sörlin, KTH, SE

Lotten Wiklund, journalist, SE

Cecilia Åsberg, KTH, SE/Linköping University, SE

Full programme in PDF

UPDATE (13.05):

The registration for the event is now CLOSED as we have reached the capacity of the venue. There might be a few spots left in case anyone from the registered participants cancels last minute.

 

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Open call: The Kelp Congress

[DEADLINE: 2 May 2019]

See: The Kelp Congress open call (LIAF 2019 website)

The Kelp Congress at LIAF (Lofoten International Art Festival) 2019 between the 17th and 22nd of September in Svolvær is an event consisting of three parallel workshops that will lead into a weekend public programme. These workshops will harness the recent discourse surrounding seaweed within contexts such as energy, nutrition, agriculture, and medicine, and will shift the focus onto lesser explored artistic and cultural dimensions related to kelp and other macroalgae.

Who can apply? 
Artists, scientists, activists, writers, film-makers, researchers, and those working within arts and culture organisations. The Kelp Congress is grounded within a Nordic context, but the call is open to all nationalities.

Conditions:
Food, accommodation, and local transportation will be provided. Travel to and from Lofoten is not included.

How to Apply:
If you are interested in participating, please submit an Application Form.
We aim to contact all applicants by mid-May.

Deadline: 
Thursday 2 May, 2019

The Kelp Congress is organised as part of LIAF 2019, in collaboration with Mustarinda, The Department of Seaweed, Posthumanities Hub, ArtLab Gnesta, Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, and co-produced with Annette Wolfsberger. LIAF 2019 is curated by Hilde Methi, Neal Cahoon, Karolin Tampere, and Torill Østby Haaland.

Contact & Further Information: info@liaf.no

Open call in a pdf format..

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci (Linköping University, SE) on “Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture”.

The event takes place on 8th April 2019 at 13:15 – 15:00 in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture

Abstract:

This society [British America before the Revolution] . . . does not afford that variety of tinges and gradations which may be observed in Europe, we have colours peculiar to ourselves. For instance, it is natural to conceive that those who live near the sea must be very different from those who live in the woods; the intermediate space will afford a separate and distinct class.
Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.
. . .Whoever traverses the continent must easily observe those strong differences, which will grow more evident in time. The inhabitants of Canada, Massachusetts, the middle provinces, the southern ones, will be as different as their climates; their only points of unity will be those of religion and language.
—J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letter III, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)

In this passage from Crèvecoeur’s famous essay, “What is an American,” he offers a defining imagination of Americans growing alongside and in harmony with their environments. Importantly, he considers the social, political, cultural, and ecological as all part of the “environment” shaping the individual, and ultimately, the collective in the nation that was then taking shape. While Crèvecoeur himself fled the “New World” upon outbreak of Revolution to return to the Old, his collection of Letters from an American Farmer defined for many Europeans and Americans alike a way of understanding the citizen as an ever-evolving constellation of multivalent forces acting upon the body.

How did early Americans imagine, perceive, and interpret their climate? How did these formulations change over time, between first European contact and the turn of the 20th century? This talk will provide an overview of some of the ideas and assumptions about weather and climate common to early Americans. The place-based ontology Crèvecoeur theorizes here was not in itself a new way of understanding human development, but his formulation opened up the space for an enormous variety of regional and local human peculiarities as varied as the climates (and weathers) associated with them. The resultant environmental determinism became, in the United States at least, the dominant way of theorizing embodiment—including physical and mental disease and health—until the advent of germ theory at the turn of the 20th century.

A second, broader concern of this talk is to discuss the role of historicist environmental humanities work in an age of climate change. Much environmental humanities research is, understandably, presentist: we face a daily barrage of environmental crises, local and global, as well as the longer-term, slower violences of climate change at large. Amidst these imminent crises, the presentist focus is not only understandable; it may also be desirable. But where does such a focus leave those of us who spend our days teaching and researching in pre-Anthropocenic periods? What is the relevance and significance of environmental humanities research before the Anthropocene? What does such work have to contribute to environmental humanities at large? This second focus of my talk will, I hope, generate discussion about the theoretical concepts, empirical materials, and/or historiographical interventions that are significant to EH research today.

Bio:

Lauren LaFauci is assistant professor of environmental humanities in the Unit of Gender Studies, Department of Thematic Studies at Linköping University in Sweden, where she also directs the “Multispecies Stories” research area of the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and serves as an international liaison for ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. She is part of the interdisciplinary team behind the citizen humanities website, Herbaria 3.0 (www.herbaria3.org), which collects stories about the intertwined relationships between plants and people. Her research and teaching are wide-ranging, focusing on histories of racial formation, medicine, and the body; US literature, history, and culture from to 1900; Scandinavian cultural studies; and multispecies story-telling. Lauren’s talk with the PH Hub will form the basis of a short article in preparation for a Cambridge UP volume on Climate in American Literature.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) on “Weird Ecologies – Stories from the Void and the Web”!

The seminar takes place on 12 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 in the room HYPATIA at the Department of History and Philosophy (a corridor opposite to the usual seminar location at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

 

Weird Ecologies – stories from the void and the web

Line Henriksen

Abstract

In the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale, the host of the show – Cecil Palmer – warns his listeners about the night sky: behind the stars there is nothing at all, he says, and who knows what might be staring back at us from this nothingness? Who knows what will arrive from out of the void? “Fear the night sky!” he concludes, for it is unfathomable. Disregarding Cecil’s impossible but otherwise excellent advice to avoid the night sky at all cost, this seminar explores portrayals of the void in contemporary digital storytelling, focusing especially on the speculative sub-genre of ‘the weird’. In digital weird fiction, the nothingness of the void seems to hint at the limits of human thought and imagination, which makes it a favoured antagonist – but perhaps there is also a promise to the void, as it reminds us that the world is always much more complex than we can possibly know, and the ecologies we form part of much weirder than we can ever imagine? In other words, perhaps what is arriving from out of the void of the night sky is not something to fear, but a promise that the impossible (something arriving from out of nothing) is possible, including – maybe – a more just world?

Bio:

Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication, both from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a PhD in Gender Studies from The Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University. She is the author of the monograph In the Company of Ghosts – Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters (2016), and she has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology, creepypasta, speculative fiction and digital storytelling. She is the author of award nominated speculative fiction and a founding member of The Monster Network as well as Queer Death Studies Network.

The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (29 March)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (University of South Florida, USA) on Signing Nature, Memorializing Plantations: Public Memory on the Bartram Trail.

The seminar takes place on 29 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Abstract:

This essay uses the example of the eighteenth-century naturalist William Bartram, who explored the U.S. South in the 1760s and 1770s, and whose book Travels remains a classic in American environmental and travel writing. Often used as the voice, conscience or even “mascot” of a local place in the American South, Bartram raises questions about what we mean when we read an author on site. Do we use the literature to build geographical understanding? Or is there a geography of literature, with its own (half-imagined) coordinates? Or, if both, what keeps general as well as scholarly writers shuttling between the two? This paper situates the questions within recent scholarship in GeoHumanities and Space Studies, fields that have yet to clarify their own genealogies and agendas. A work in progress, this paper will use the figure of William Bartram to sort out a critical road map for reading geographically.

 

Bio:
Thomas Hallock is Professor of English and the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies at the Univ. of South Florida (USA). He coedited the papers of naturalist William Bartram, and is currently working on a book about space and place in early American literature.

Tom will be in Sweden as part of a larger symposium held at Uppsala University from 27-28 March entitled, “Enlightenment, Nation-Building, and the Practices of Natural History: The Bartrams and Linné.” In addition to several interesting talks, at that symposium there will also be time to discuss the possible formation of a network of Sweden-based scholars working on early American matters. Please let me know if you’d like more information on that symposium and I can forward it along as well.

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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!