Tuesday 13 December 2011

Cosmopolitan Animals

Keynote speakers
Donna Haraway / Simon Glendinning
Two-day international conference: October 26-27, 2012, Institute of English Studies, London

Recent scholarship on human-animal relationships has begun to explore our sharing, co-existing, and ‘becoming with’ animals. Such a scholarly focus brings into perspective new possibilities and permutations of cosmopolitanism, calling for a fresh awareness that animals are fellow creatures, that hosting and hospitality are not restricted to relationships between humans, and that worldliness is far from being a human monopoly. In what ways can we conceptualise cosmopolitanisms which are not solely ‘human’, and where and how are such relationships made possible? This conference, under the theme of ‘Cosmopolitan Animals’, seeks to interrogate and decentre humanist metanarratives that have dominated our thinking and ways of living, while looking to the many non-human others who populate the cosmos. Animal cosmopolitanism not only raises the serious issues of our responsibility for, and responsiveness to, animal others (Derrida), or what Isabelle Stengers calls ‘cosmopolitics’, which according to Haraway, includes our ‘bearing the mortal consequences’ for the decisions we make over animal bodies and worlds. Our rapidly inter-linking world also urgently requires coordination between the local and the international in addressing issues that concern humans and non-humans equally, including the detritus of empires and their aftermaths, new intensities of exploitation and commodification, and new pressures of migration, immigration, and circulation that severely test existing ethics of hospitality, hosting, sharing, and co-mingling.
         In the spirit of cosmopolitanism which welcomes free-crossings and surprising encounters, papers are sought widely from all kinds of disciplines from an international community of scholars, activists and artists. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Animal cosmopolitanism
  • human-animal communication
  • terrapolitanism
  • animals and gender
  • animalized humans/ humanized animals
  • ‘the posthuman’
  • performing animals
  • laboratory animals
  • animal ethics and the politics of meat
  • animals in (post)colonial spaces
  • vermin
  • the wilderness and wild animals
  • domestication, breeding and pet keeping
  • ‘companion species’
  • micro-organisms, pathogens and parasites
  • hosting and guesting (with) animals
  • animals, empires, neoimperialisms
  • migration, immigration and animals
  • nomadic animals
  • biopolitics and medical science
  • conservation, ecology and climate change
  • technologies and animals
  • human-animal studies
  • animals in philosophy and literature
  • animals in history, science and medicine
  • music, art and animals
  • imaginary animal
  • the politics of creaturely life
'This conference is supported by the School of English, the School of History, the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, and the Centre for American Studies'

Please send a short abstract (200-300 words) for 20 minute papers to K.Nagai@kent.ac.uk[3] or M.Mattfeld@kent.ac.uk[4] by January 31, 2012. We also welcome proposals for non-paper based presentations (poster, performance or other artistic work).

Conference Committee: Prof. Donna Landry, Prof. Caroline Rooney, Dr. Kaori Nagai and Monica Mattfeld, (School of English), Dr. Karen Jones and Dr. Charlotte Sleigh (School of History), University of Kent, UK

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