Zoontotechnics (Animality / Technicity) conference, Cardiff University, 12-14 May 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, Cardiff University
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Plenary Speakers:

Bernard Stiegler, Director of the Department of Cultural Development at the Centre Georges-Pompidou and Director of the Institut de Recherche et d'Innovation (IRI)

David Wills (University at Albany-SUNY)

Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

Since the founding of the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory in 1989, when the prevalent currents were postmodernism, poststructuralism and postcolonialism, new developments have helped reshape the theoretical landscape. Key among them have been cyberculture, the digital revolution in technology, globalization, and the search for critical modes beyond the human. More recently philosophical-ethical revaluations of the 'animal' and renewed reflections on various aspects of technology and technics, both within and beyond the emerging framework of posthumanism, have provided two of the most stimulating developments in critical and cultural theory that might offer new departures. While there have been numerous conferences and symposia on each perspective, none has been organized with a view to encouraging a critical dialogue between researchers in these two usually separate fields. If Aristotle's definition of 'man' was that he is a zoon logon ekhon (animal having speech) and a zoon politikon (political animal), in what ways has he become a zoon tekhnikon? Is this ultimately necessary to ensure the survival of the species or is it conducive to its transformation? With an increasingly globalized 'humanity' installed in the post-9/11 age of a technology-led terrorism and the credit crunch, the conference will consider these overarching questions, as well as others outlined briefly below.

In planning our 20th anniversary conference, we decided to address the future, rather than look back nostalgically on past achievements. This seems a more invigorating way of convening a truly celebratory event. With this focus on futurity in mind, we plan to include a round-table on the Futures of Technology and Culture that will feature the activities interfacing new technologies and culture that are part of the remit of Beaubourg's Institute for Research and Innovation led by Professor Stiegler. Other conference events will feature performance art at the crossroads of the animal and the technical. We very much hope that the conference will prove to be an intellectual landmark.

Possible themes for individual papers or panels might include:

• The relation of animality and/or technicity to posthumanism

• The critical interface between posthumanism and transhumanism, 'life sciences', biotechnology and bioethics, artificiality and hybridization

• Futures of life, animality and technicity and of 'humanity'

• The relation to technics and technology after Heidegger's 'The Question Concerning Technology'

• The relation to animality after Derrida's The Animal That Therefore I Am

• Extensions of technology to redefining art and humanities, not just extending the human (cf. Technology, Environment, Design)

• Work addressing concepts such as the prosthetic, the inhuman, the digital, the virtual, etc.

• Animality, technicity and gender

We are particularly interested in proposals for papers and panels that engage with the interface between the two main strands of the conference theme, including from a historical perspective. Papers are also invited on thinkers who have addressed both aspects, (e.g. the becoming-animal and the machinic in Deleuze).

Abstracts for papers (no more than 300 words) and proposals for panels should be sent to zoonto@cardiff.ac.uk by 31 December 2009.