Apr 13 2016

Risking the Future: Vulnerability, Risk, Hope

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An International Conference on the Risk Humanities

Keynote Speakers: 

Michaeline A. Crichlow (Duke University)

Simon During (University of Queensland)

Walter Mignolo (Duke University)

Risking the Future exposes a tension at the heart of contemporary thinking around risk and its effects, and in particular the role of risk in either blocking or facilitating access to possible futures. On the one hand, the phrase is cautionary, a reminder that the future is at risk and that risks have to be calculated and managed to avoid or learn to live within catastrophic circumstances. On the other hand, the phrase is hopeful, a recognition that a certain type of risk is necessary to generate a speculative opening to a future worth living. In this way, although risk manifests in complex historical and contemporary patterns across the economic, legal, ecological, social, cultural, aesthetic and political spheres, it is most urgently felt where the exercise and effects of power are tied to potential loss and gain, and where these losses and gains shape the lives of those least able to resist them.

In this light, rethinking the relation of risk and futurity suggests a tension between the calculation, management and adoption of risk on one hand, and what it actually means to live a life at risk on the other. For those living in fragile circumstances – situations in which race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion and poverty intersect in ways that render existence itself radically vulnerable; situations in which it is increasingly difficult to avoid or resist political instability, conflict, economic precarity, health crises, and ecological catastrophe – the question of risk exists at a very different intensity, and has very different implications than it does for individuals, groups and even whole societies who regard risk principally in terms of its calculation, distribution and management undertaken to guarantee continued flourishing, often in the very systems that place the vulnerable  at risk.

 We seek to bring these two paradigms of risk – of calculation and precarity – into conversation, perhaps necessarily into conflict, in order to challenge existing discourses regarding risk and its relation to the future. We seek to explore the ways in which thought might take risks in order to realign itself with those most at risk. We seek to open new and risky avenues for speculative, interdisciplinary research, reimagining the way in which risk thinking might turn an increasingly threatening vision of the future towards a politics of hope.

 We warmly invite you to submit a title and abstract of 300 words for papers of 20 minutes rethinking risk and its relation to the future from the perspective of the critical humanities and humanistic social sciences. Please include a brief biographical note of up to 200 words outlining your broader research interests.

 The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 18 April 2016 and should be emailed to fragile.futures@gmail.com.

 Suggested topics:

  • Risk and futurity: uncertainty, contingency, irreversibility, possibility
  • Fragility, vulnerability, precarity and the precariat
  • Hope, resistance, commitment
  • Kinopolitics: displacement, migration, perilous crossings, border thinking
  • Spaces of risk: thresholds, boundaries, containment, camps
  • Decolonial aesthetics and politics
  • Aesthetics of risk: representing, mediating and performing the future
  • Freedom and unfreedom: open futures, blocked futures
  • Existential risk: threat, conflict, poverty, disposability
  • Accumulation by dispossession: capitalism and risk, risking capitalism
  • Markets: distribution, flow, asymmetry, crisis
  • Sexualities, genders, queer ecologies, queer futures
  • Systemic edges: peripheries of/at risk, belonging and non-belonging, inclusion and exclusion
  • Ecologies of/at risk: environmental anxiety, slow violence, ruination, catastrophe
  • Histories and futures of risk: opportunity, intervention, invention, reinvention

St John’s College

Durham University

12th-13th July 2016


Jan 1 2016

Laurence Paul Hemming on Us

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A Seminar Series on Subjectivity by Laurence Paul Hemming (Lancaster University)

This seminar series begins with a fragment of an ancient love-poem that speaks of “you and me”, and asks how has “you and me” been thought – before, within, and after the philosophy of subjectivity? Is every relation between “you” and “me” an effect of power? Can “you” ever be equal to “me”? And how is sexuality, how is love, how is sex, to be thought – now and in the future? Does sex, does love, does “you and me” ever assume a public face?

Schedule:

1. ’The Number of Us: Ancient Thoughts, Modern Ideas’. 12th January, 2016.

2. ‘The Power of Us: Against Foucault, Beyond Butler’. 26th January, 2016.

3. ‘The History of Us: Heteronormal Hegel, Equal Marx’. 9th February, 2016.

4. ‘The Subject of Us: Other than Buber, Contrary to Levinas’. 23rd February, 2016.

5. ‘The Politics of Us: Justice for the Errors of the Past’, 8th March, 2016.

All seminars will take place at 6 pm in County Main Seminar Room 4, County College, Lancaster University. 

Laurence Paul Hemming is Professor in the Departments of Politics, Philosophy and Religion and Organization, Work and Technology at Lancaster University, UK. His publications include: Heidegger’s Atheism (Notre Dame University Press, 2002); Postmodernity’s Transcending: Devaluing God  (Notre Dame University Press, 2005) and Heidegger and Marx: A Productive Dialogue over the Language of Humanism (Northwestern University Press, 2013).

 


Jun 8 2015

Futures of the Archive: Theory, Criticism, Crisis

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A new book series from Rowman and Littlefield International in partnership with the Northern Theory School

Edited by Arthur Bradley (Lancaster University) and Simon Swift (University of Geneva)

What will be the future of critical theory’s past? This new series offers a set of radical interdisciplinary interventions which explore how the history of critical theory can contribute to an understanding of the contemporary.

By returning to classic critical debates in philosophy, politics, aesthetics, religion and more, the volumes in this series seek to provide a new insight into the crises of our present moment: capitalism, revolution, biopolitics, human rights, the animal and the anthropocene.

In this way, Futures of the Archive shows that the past – and in particular critical theory’s own past – is not a dead letter, but an archive to which we still belong and which continues to shape our present and future.

International Advisory Board: 

Robert Appelbaum (University of Uppsala)

Howard Caygill (Kingston University)

Terry Eagleton (Lancaster University)

Paul Hamilton (Queen Mary, University of London)

J. Hillis Miller (University of California at Irvine)

Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent)

Lyndsey Stonebridge (University of East Anglia)

Rei Terada (University of California at Irvine)

Samuel Weber (Northwestern University)

In order to discuss or propose a submission, please contact Arthur Bradley and Simon Swift.


Feb 16 2015

Jack Halberstam on Queer Theory

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A Series of Events with Jack Halberstam (USC) at the University of Manchester

Public Lecture

“A Path So Twisted”: Thinking Wildly With and Through Punk Feminisms

Tuesday 10th March 4.30-6 pm (Venue: TBC)

(Sponsored by Manchester Feminist Theory Network and the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology)

Roundtable Discussion

‘Why Be Normal?’

Tuesday 10th March  7.30-9pm at Contact: SICK! Arts Festival

Tickets can be purchased from: http://www.sickfestival.com/programme/manchester/why-be-normal/

CIDRAL Theory Intensive:

On Queer Theory

Speakers: Professor J.Jack Halberstam (University of Southern California); Professor Monica Pearl (University of Manchester); Clara Bradbury-Rance (Phd student, University of Manchester) (‘Putting Feminist Theory into Practice’, co-sponsored by CIDRAL and NWCDTP)

Wednesday, 11th March 10 am-12 pm

This event is free but requires you to register at the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cidral-mftn-theory-intensive-on-queer-theory-with-j-jack-halberstam-registration-14992273293

Reading material: 

J. Jack Halberstam, ‘Introduction: Low Theory’ in The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) J. Jack Halberstam, ‘Gaga Sexualities: The End of Normal’ in Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2013) J. Jack Halberstam, ‘Charming for the Revolution: A Gaga Manifesto’, http://www.e-flux.com/journal/charming-for-the-revolution-a-gaga-manifesto/. Readings available to download at:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/n3z0or816rs0ul8/AAA5BpgstWvWAs1RvLfTpx58a?dl=0 )

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book titled THE WILD on queer anarchy, performance and protest culture, the visual representation of anarchy and the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.


Feb 24 2014

Mieke Bal’s Madame B

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A public screening of her new film Madame B followed by a lecture and Q & A with Mieke Bal.

Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic and video artist. She is Professor Emeritus in Literary Theory at the University of Amsterdam and was also Academy Professor of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science and co-founder of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. This film is part of her project Madame B: Explorations in Emotional Capitalism.

6.00 pm, Wednesday 26th March

The Storey Institute, Lancaster (http://www.thestorey.co.uk/)

This event is hosted by the Department of English & Creative Writing and the Department of English Language & Linguistics at Lancaster University.