…Here’s some interesting academic conferences that may be of interest to some of you…Firstly,
Transforming human skin into fur or scale; combining living tissue with metal; breaking through membrane into disembodied existence. Factual and fictional narratives of bodily metamorphosis are common. But what does it mean to exist in the middle – in the moment between pre- and post-transformation? What does it entail when we speak of change, adaptation and mutation? We are looking for papers and panels which explore this suspension between the non/human and open it up to analyse the borderlands of non/humanity, examining how such borders are defined, transgressed or denied altogether.
This is an interdisciplinary conference and as such we welcome papers and panels from a range of backgrounds. We are looking for examinations of bodily borders within literature and popular culture, the limits of the human in medicine, the impact of technological developments on how we define the borders of the ‘human’, the place of the non/human in ethics, anthropological approaches to how the human body may have changed over time, the concept of liminal embodiment in theology, discussions of the boundary between human and animal, and so forth.
How human is the cyborg’s touch? What does it mean to cross species’ boundaries or create chimeras? What is the experience of shifting beyond an animal body into vegetal or ecological vibrancy – to become cold as ice, turn into stone, be reduced to ash or mud? Is the transformation between the non/human merely physical?
Possible focuses might include:
- Posthuman embodiment
- The hybrid, mutated or mutilated form
- The animalistic or inorganic body
- Subhuman, superhuman or sublime existence
- The lifeless body
- The disembodied
Please send abstracts (250 words) for twenty minute papers or panel proposals to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for abstracts is Monday 2nd February 2015.
The Being Non/Human conference will take place on Wednesday 17th June 2015 at Queen Mary, University of London. It is organised by Sophia Wilson (King’s College London) and Lydia Zeldenrust (Queen Mary, University of London).
Secondly, an acquaintance of mine, Dr Marko Stamenkovic is presenting research that will appeal to the philosophers:
(SELF)EXECUTION OF PHILOSOPHY?
The topic of death has traditionally kept a privileged status in philosophy. However, its position has been altered in the contemporary (“biopolitical”) context and disturbed by the domination of life-centered discourses: capitalism supposedly prefers “life”, not “death”. Given such a domination, philosophy has distanced itself from one of its most significant tasks: contemplating the essence of human condition. In other words, by abandoning the question of death (which is at the very roots of the philosophical discipline itself) or through its deliberate erosion, it risks losing the fundamental bond with what makes its nature specifically philosophical. If we assume that the withdrawal of “death” from Western philosophy is a result of the prevailing “universal rationality” of the so-called developed world, we can also account for the following: a contemporary philosopher has willy-nilly found him/herself alienated from the essence of his/her discipline. What does this mean in the onthological sense? It means that philosophy has self-excluded itself by giving up the central reason of its own existence. Thus, philosophy committed a kind of suicide. As a result, if philosophy has indeed committed “suicide” it has not distanced but rather brought itself, once again, closer to “death”.
Attempting to shed light on some geopolitical implications of this paradox, the lecture in Zagreb aims to repoliticize “death” from a decolonial (necropolitical and thanatological) perspective. Unlike the conceptual question (WHAT is death?), which refers to the meaning and continuos problem with the definition of the term, something else is hereby asumed. The discursive space in the West – to have this question posed at all – has undergone the process of strategic reduction. Among other reasons, this process is steadily motivated by the tacit instrumentalization of human mortality on behalf of the sovereign power for the sake of expanding its worldwide domination. In response to such a “politics of death”, the problem of the place is put forward (WHERE is death?). Hence, what takes center stage in this lecture is the philosophical place of “death”: where is it in the context of global necrocapitalism and what kind of philosophy, instead of Western thanatology, illuminates the dark (depoliticized) side of the road towards this place?
Malin Stahl | Death Waiting (Dusk) | 2013 | performance |55min | photo: Elisabet Rydell-Janson | malinstahl.se