News and events

  • Explorations in Empirical Posthumanisms (New Date!)

    This diverse group of speakers apply a posthumanist lens to pressing social and environmental issues. The presentations include discussions of the entanglement of racialization, affect, and the body, and multispeciesrelationships in both Toronto and internationally.

    When: Thursday, December 9, Ontario Time: 3-4:30 PM 

    Where: LifeSize interactive video conferencing: https://stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/12627650/edf0a4e1-a920-44e8-8744-5dacc2c88b7c 

    Chaired by: Mickey Vallee (Canada Research Chair in Community, Identity and Digital Media, Athabasca University) 

    Speakers

    Sarah Elton is a critical food systems researcher, investigating the food-biosphere-health nexus. She is a collaborator with Feeding the City,, external link, opens in new window a multidisciplinary study involving several universities and investigating the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian food systems. She is the primary investigator of the research that tracks the impact of the pandemic on the Ontario Food Terminal, Canada’s largest wholesale market of fresh produce that sources food for Toronto, Ontario, and the Maritimes. This study is funded by a Faculty of Arts research award. Her recent doctoral work examined the relationship between humans and nonhuman nature in a study of urban gardens in Toronto and won the 2019-2020 Joan Eakin Award for Methodological Excellence in a Qualitative Doctoral Dissertation. She also is the author of two best-selling books: Locavore (2010, Harper Collins Canada) and Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet (2013, University of Chicago Press). 
     
    Andrew Brooks is Lecturer in Media Cultures in the School of Arts and Media, UNSW. His research proposes strategies for reading and listening to contemporary media events, systems, and infrastructures. His current research is organised around three main projects: the politics of noise and listening; infrastructural inequalities; and the politics of race and embodiment in media culture. 
     
    Nick Fox is one of the UK’s leading proponents of new materialist and posthuman social theory as applied to sociology, with books including ‘The Body’ (Polity, 2012) and the ground-breaking ‘Sociology and the New Materialism’ (Sage, 2017; with Pam Alldred, Brunel University London).  He has written widely on new materialist theory and sexualities, health, environment and research methods, having published over 70 peer-reviewed papers.  Nick has also been the invited speaker at major conferences including the Hellenic Sociological Association, BSA Medical Sociology conference, University of Melbourne Gender and Research conference and the Korean Society for Social Theory. 

    Abstracts

    Murmur: noise beyond representation 
    Andrew Brooks (University of New South Wales) 
    This talk develops a conceptual and philosophical reading of the sonic figure of the murmur. A murmur draws disparate voices together in a continuous and processual unfolding. Thinking with its multiplicity, the murmur might be better understood as an  expression of foundational noise that precedes and exceeds representation. Here the murmur is developed as a figure of incommensurable difference that is both a precondition for the emergence of the subject and other individuations and mediations of the object, as well as a force of interruption and potentiality. Taken as an expression of a foundational noise, the murmur is theorised as an expression of Blackness itself, which, drawing on the work of Hortense Spillers, Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, and Denise Ferreira da Silva can be understood as an irreducible excess that is both anti- and ante- a regulative order that calls it into being. Such incommensurable difference is unable to be captured and contained either by the figure of the sovereign subject constructed in post-Enlightenment European thought or by the processes of racialisation that produce and uphold supremacy of this figure. Here I argue that noise, in its figuration as a murmur, interrupts the univocity of being that is so central to Western knowledge and suggests a relation of affectability that moves beyond the given grounds of representation. Considering listening as a modality of attuning to noise, we might restage Delueze’s famous statement – we do not yet know what a body can do – via Hortense Spillers’s conception of the Black maternal flesh as that which comes before the body and ask, as Moten and Harney (2021, 82) implore us to: ‘Can we imagine we don’t know what flesh can do?’ This paper suggests that attunement to the sonicity of the murmur allows us to attune to the possibilities of the flesh as a site that both moves us outside the grammar of ‘Man’ and toward new conceptions of solidarity. 
     
    Relational health: Theorizing plants as health-supporting actors 
    Sarah Elton (Ryerson University) 
    The social sciences are beginning to explore how plants are imbricated in sociopolitical processes, including ones that produce health. I theorize people-plant relations and the agency of plants in the production of health, drawing on data from a multispecies ethnography conducted in Toronto’s largest social housing community during the 2018 growing season. In the presentation, I draw on posthumanist theory to explore how food-producing plants can be sociopolitical actors too. 
     
    Climate change, environmental justice and the unusual capacities of posthumans 
    Nick Fox (University of Huddersfield) 
    This paper explores a posthumanist and new materialist approach to sustainable development policy.  I trace a humanist and anthropocentric emphasis in policy discussions of ‘sustainable development’ that reaches back almost 50 years, and still underpins recent United Nations (UN) statements and policies on sustainable development.  This has tied policies to counter environmental challenges such as anthropogenic climate change firmly to sustaining and extending future human prosperity.  The paper will then chart a path beyond humanism and anthropocentrism, to establish a posthuman environmentalism.  This acknowledges human matter as an integral (rather than opposed) element within an all-encompassing ‘environment’.  Posthumanism simultaneously rejects the homogeneity implied by terms such as ‘humanity’ or ‘human species’, as based on a stereotypical ‘human’ that turns out to be white, male and from the global North.  Instead, ‘posthumans’ are heterogeneous, gaining a diverse range of context-specific capacities as they interact with other matter.  Some of these capacities (such as empathy, altruism, conceptual thinking and modelling futures) are highly unusual, and – paradoxically – may be key to addressing the current crises of environmental degradation and anthropogenic climate change. 

     

    Categories: event

  • New play i/O by partner theatre company Post Humains on stage Nov 16 – Dec 4

    Thanks to a SSHRC Partnership Engage grant, the PRI has collaborated with the Montreal theatre company Post Humains for the research-creation that led to the elaboration of their play i/O. The play is presented at the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, salle Michelle-Rossignol, from November 16 to December 4, 2021, in Montreal. For an interview with the playwright and director of the company, Dominique Leclerc, see here.

    Categories: news

  • Save the date: Upcoming talk with Dr Emily Jones on November 17, 2021

    Please join the Posthumanism Research Insititute for a talk by Dr Emily Jones entitled Posthuman International Law and the Rights of Nature which will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, from 10:00-11:30 am EST (via video conferencing).

    Abstract: The rights of nature are beginning to be recognised globally. Seeking to challenge and re-think the anthropocentrism which permeates International Environmental Law, in this lecture, I will discuss the synergies between posthuman theory and the legal recognition of the rights of nature. The lecture will draw on multiple examples of contexts where nature’s rights have been recognised, including in New Zealand, India, Ecuador, the US, and beyond to think through the similarities and differences between these contexts and the lessons to be learned. Calling for the recognition of the rights of nature in international law i.e. globally, I will conclude by reflecting on the ways in which posthuman theory can be applied to help inform this project, seeking to ensure that the rights of nature movement can live up to its transformative posthuman potential.

    Speaker biography: Dr Emily Jones is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law and Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, UK. Emily is a generalist public international lawyer whose interdisciplinary work combines theory and practice. Her work cuts across: posthuman legal theory; gender and international law; international environmental law; the law of the sea; science, technology and international law; gender and conflict; and political economy, imperialism and international law.

    Pre-registration required. To register, email Mitch Goldsmith at mg12vh@brocku.ca

    Categories: event

  • Public talk by Rick Dolphijn – October 7, 2021

    Rick Dolphijn (Utrecht) will give a presentation related to his most recent book on October 7, 2021. The talk takes place 10:00-11:30 (EDT) on Zoom. Please see link below to log on or contact Mitch Goldsmith (mg12vh@brocku.ca).

    “The Wounds that Matter” 

    In my recently published monograph, The Philosophy of Matter; a meditation, one of the key concepts is ‘the wound’. Much inspired by literature and the arts, this talk aims to explore woundedness in different ways; how wounds bring us together? How are we “born to embody” our wounds, as Joë Bousquet would say it? And what is pain teaching us about the non-fascist life?

    Dr. Rick Dolphijn is an Associate Professor at Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, and a Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong (2017-2023). He published widely on new materialism, posthumanism and affect theory. His monograph The Philosophy of Matter: a meditation was published with Bloomsbury Academic in August 2021.

     

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    Categories: event, news

  • 20th Anniversary of Atanarjuat – “Posthumanism: Philosophy Cinema Media” inaugural event

    The first of a series of events in the “Posthumanism: Philosophy Cinema Media” series takes place on October 6, 2021. This event celebrates the 20th anniversary of Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat. Kunuk and team members will take part in the round-table also featured a panel of international scholars. Registration here or by scanning the QR code on the poster.

    Posthumanism: Cinema Philosophy Media: A Roundtable Series

    Announcing the Inaugural Event:

    ‘Running Time’: Atanarjuat 20th Anniversary Roundtable and Celebration

     Oct. 06, 2021, 6:00-9:00 pm EST (via Zoom)

    Twenty years ago this fall saw the release of Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner: “an exciting action thriller set in ancient Igloolik, the film unfolds as a life-threatening struggle of love, jealousy, murder and revenge between powerful natural and supernatural characters” (IsumaTV). The first-ever feature fiction film in Inuktitut, written, directed, produced, and performed by an Inuit cast and crew, Atanarjuat went on to win six Genie awards, including Best Picture and the Camera d’or for best first feature film at the 2001 Cannes International Film Festival, among many other awards. In 2015 it was voted the best Canadian film of all time.

    Well before contemporary debates around identity politics, cultural appropriation, and equity, diversity, and inclusivity, Atanarjuat set the terms of the discussion while laying out a vision for the future of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world—a vision of self-determination, however, that has yet to be fulfilled. The past twenty years has seen Atanarjuat’s significance manifest in several different ways: as a story the film continues to resonate all over the world with Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences alike; as cultural object the film stands as one of the most significant achievements of Indigenous self-representation; as a film Atanarjuat represents a great work of art cinema.

    This roundtable brings together key members of the original team behind the film—writer-director Zacharias Kunuk and Lucy Tulugarjuk (Puja)—with an international panel of scholars: Erich Fox Tree (Associate Professor, Religion and Culture, WLU); Jenny Kerber (Associate Professor, English and Film Studies); Pauline Clague (Associate Professor, Manager of Cultural Resilience Hub, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research, University of Technology, Sydney); Simone Bignall (Senior Researcher in the Jumbunna Research Hub for Indigenous Nations and Collaborative Futures, University of Technology, Sydney).

    For more information contact: Russell Kilbourn > rkilbourn@wlu.ca

    Zoom registration link: https://wilfrid-laurier.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrcOqgpz8jGtazM3ZJ4HbhSV11jvpAf3nc

    The organizers wish to thank SSHRC, the Posthumanism Research Institute, the WLU Student’s Union, the Faculty of Arts, and the Department of English and Film Studies for supporting this event.

    Categories: event, news

  • First issue out! Interconnections. Journal of Posthumanism/Interconnexions. Revue de posthumanisme

    We are proud to announce the publication of the inaugural issue of our journal. You can read it here.

    Categories: news

  • Deleuze and Cosmology Series // Série Deleuze et la Cosmologie | March 31, 2021

    You are cordially invited to the fourth and final presentation/discussion group of the 2021 Deleuze and Cosmology Series. This final installment entitled “Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Chaosmological Thinking” will be presented by Dr. Alain Beaulieu from the Department of Philosophy at Laurentian University. You are welcome to join us and to invite any and all students or colleagues that you think would be interested.

    When: Wednesday March 31, 2021 at 4 p.m. EST

    Zoom linklaurentian.zoom.us/j/91808556392

    See poster for more information or visit our website @ https://www3.laurentian.ca/deleuzecosmo/

  • PRI Roundtable: Posthuman Spirituality | March 8, 2021

     

    The roundtable will be held virtually over Zoom:

    https://brocku-ca.zoom.us/j/85018677066

    The event will be held on Monday, March 8, 2021 from 4-6pm EST.

    Five presenters will discuss some aspect of spirituality, broadly conceived, and how it intersects, or not, with posthumanism, either in theory or practice. Each presenter will speak for approximately 10 minutes. After all the presentations there will be approximately one hour of discussion. These roundtables are largely informal and serve as an opportunity to think and discuss posthuman issues with interested colleagues.

  • Posthumanism and Education Round-table – December 8, 2020

    Please join our panel of speakers to discuss posthumanist perspectives on education on Tuesday December 8, 2020, 2:00 to 3:30 pm (EST).

    To join the meeting, click on the link on the PDF file (downloadable here) or click here.

    Categories: event, news

  • June 1, 2020: Posthuman Energy/ies Online Panel

    We will be hosting a live-streaming of the panel Posthuman Energy/ies on June 1st, 2020, 13:00-17:00 EST.

    The panel is hosted by Christine Daigle (Brock) and Mickey Vallee (Athabasca) with paper presentations by Fiona Blaikie (Brock), David Fancy (Brock), Emile Fromet de Rosnay (Victoria), Suzanne McCullagh (Athabasca), Jill Planche (Brock).

    Attendees will be able to interact with presenters via chat box. There is no fee for this event.

    Details on the afternoon program and login information are pasted below the poster and also available as a PDF document here.

    How to join the livestream:

    Please click on the link below to take part in the panel:

    https://stream.lifesizecloud.com/extension/6198039/4a6bb38b-5ea3-4253-bb84-129a92a85046
    You can ask questions via the chat box. The moderator will ask your questions during the question period following each presentation as well as during the general discussion period at the end of the event.

    Program:

    13:00-13:05        Logistics – Camila Mugan

    13:05-13:15        Mickey Vallee “Introduction: Exhausted by boredom: Reinventing the dynamic of being in an age of global uncertainty”

    13:15-13:35        Emile Fromet de Rosnay “Posthuman Anarchy/ies”

    13:45-14:05        David Fancy “Echealogy, Resonance, Method”

    14:15-14:35        Fiona Blaikie “Posthuman energy/ies: a visual-textual trans-disciplinary assemblage”

    14:35-14:50        Pause

    14:50-15:10    Jill Planche “Minor Theatre’s Dynamic Spaces of Caring Sociability in Neil Coppen’s NewFoundLand

    15:20-15:40        Suzanne McCullagh “Energetic Subject of Posthuman Grace”

    15:50-16:00        Christine Daigle “Concluding remarks: Are we energized yet?”

    16:00-17:00        General discussion

    ABSTRACTS AND BIOS

    Emile Fromet de Rosnay “Posthuman Anarchy/ies”

    I seek to reconsider potentiality in light of posthuman energy/ies via an “axiological anarchy”. Dissolving Will and action helps us to avoid reproducing humanistic and biopolitical assumptions. I propose 6 anarch(ist)ic axioms: 1. there is no destiny or predetermination (no essence). 2. The open life is infinite and indeterminate. 3. Action is not the expression of Will. 4. “Action” is the emergence into presence of exteriority. 5. That Will is (seen as) the expression of essence is a form of violence on the living. 6. Freedom is allowing multiplicity to emerge without presupposition.

    Emile Fromet de Rosnay teaches at the University of Victoria where he is also the director of the UVic interdisciplinary graduate program in Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT). He has a forthcoming experimental book at Punctum Books, Taunting the Useful, that develops a theory of the “virtual useless”.

    David Fancy “Echealogy, Resonance, Method”

    This paper proposes echealogy to be a recurring disposition in philosophy: an interest in concepts, logics, and relationalities of resonance (synichó), as well as notions reverberative of resonance such as vibration or modulation. Echealogy as resonative thought engages reverberatively with a whole range of energetic and vibratory phenomena, modulatory behaviours, and singularities. Echealogy can play an important role in exploring distributed subjectivities beyond the human. The paper elaborates on Simondon’s notion of resonance to explore the ways in which echealogy and ontology are mutually imbricated.

    David Fancy is Professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University. He brings his theoretical and philosophical interests in immanentist thought to the intersection of a range of disciplines including philosophy, theatre studies, performance studies, science and technology studies, and critical disability studies.

    Fiona Blaikie “Posthuman energy/ies: a visual-textual trans-disciplinary assemblage”

    I am drawn to immanent and transcendent energy/ies  inherent in posthumanism’s expanding zoe rising, alongside crises of global capitalism and corrupt authoritarianism, and the transformation of anthropocentrism. Rosi Braidotti’s (2019) explores situated conditions of potential and limitation, re/framed in and through material feminisms as re/un/worlding assemblages. Drawing on Christine Daigle and Christina Landry (2013) work on de Beauvoir, and Rosi Braidotti’s empirical transcendental, I present a textual-visual assemblage, through anthropologist Kathleen Stewart’s (2019) worlding, as a way of thinking multi-modally about relationality, contexts, ecologies of being, living and dying, through worlding words, ideas and images.

    Fiona Blaikie is a professor and former Dean, Faculty of Education, Brock University. She has won numerous awards for teaching and scholarship, most recently the 2020 USSEA and InSEA Ziegfeld award for art education. Currently, she is editing an interdisciplinary collection for Routledge on gender, sexuality, and visual identity constructs.

    Jill Planche “Minor Theatre’s Dynamic Spaces of Caring Sociability in Neil Coppen’s NewFoundLand

    Postapartheid South Africa’s site of ongoing social construction calls for a robust ontological and material practice to understand the “philosophical implication of energies” of self conception – large and small. In its psychological, political and material spaces, Deleuze’s ‘minor’ theatre offers new and generative ways to move beyond identitarian grounding of assumed identities, towards lines and intensities driven by potentiality of self ordering, evoking power dynamics of vibrant bodies and territory moving – enfolding – in construction of subjectivity and mapping of spaces. I explore these concepts through Neil Coppen’s play NewFoundLand; his break from the singular voices of constraining identities to imagine new non-racial, non-gendered, immanent imaginaries.

    Jill Planche PhD is an independent scholar whose work engages literature and theatre in the space of postapartheid South Africa. Current interests include ‘minor’ theatre’s role in the contemporary discourse, exploring decolonizing knowledges, feminist geography, social/cultural policy (particularly social justice) and posthumanism.

    Suzanne McCullagh “Energetic Subject of Posthuman Grace”

    This paper sketches a concept of posthuman grace as a way of thinking through Kathryn Yusoff’s claim that in order to imagine a future without fossil fuels it is necessary to understand their agency and the ways that contemporary geological subjectivity is constituted with them. The concept of grace will be created by amplifying the resonances between Saint Augustine’s notion of grace and Benedict de Spinoza immanent naturalism. Spinoza teaches that becoming active requires understanding a being’s capacity for being affected. Posthuman grace is a conceptual tool for developing an understanding of energetic subjectivity as co-constituted by human collectives and material compositions.

    Suzanne McCullagh is an Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the Centre for Humanities at Athabasca University. She is currently working on a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project titled “Contesting Extinctions” which explores and develops conceptual tools in the Environmental Humanities for conceptualizing and responding to contemporary ecological realities.

    HOSTS

    Christine Daigle is professor of philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University. Her current research explores the concept of posthuman vulnerability and its ethical potential from a posthumanist material feminist point of view. She also works on environmental posthumanities and issues related to the Anthropocene.

    Mickey Vallee holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Community, Identity and Digital Media at Athabasca University. His research explores how events of uncertainty (such as environmental uncertainty, transitional justice, and currently pandemics) presuppose our obligation to rethink foundational concepts belonging to body, community, and communication.

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