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Constructions of the Future: Life Beyond Disciplines (Heidelberg, 14-16 July 2011)
full name / name of organization:
Universität Heidelberg, Germany
Constructions of the Future: Life Beyond Disciplines
An International and Interdisciplinary Conference
Keynote Speakers (tbc) Douglas Kellner, Jean-Michel Rabaté, Claire Colebrook, Richard Grusin, Steven Shaviro, Gregory Ulmer, R.L.Rutsky, Timothy Lenoir
‘It’s life, but not as we know it.’
Mr Spock’s cliché acquires fresh resonances with every announcement of biotechnological breakthroughs. As life and the human condition are re-imagined, how are different disciplines in the ‘life sciences’ and the ‘post-humanities’ reacting to what they are themselves reshaping? Faced with life but not as they know it, do they still know themselves? Is the prospect of life beyond disciplines coinciding with ‘postdisciplinary lives’? What is the University to be, after life?
As various constructions of the future transform our assumptions and perspectives on life, new modes of inquiry are emerging that make the future of academic disciplines look radically open. Perhaps it is even questionable whether the subjects of these futures will still be ‘human(s)’. The afterlife of the disciplines, then, is what we are called to speculate on.
Accordingly contributions are invited from ‘critical futurologists’, from cultural, social, political, historical, literary and media theorists, and from philosophers, scholars and researchers working at the limits of their field and/or in cognitive and neuroscience, science fiction, medical and bio-science, information sciences, robotics, artificial intelligence and related areas. The aim is to review current disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practices in the reconstruction of life, and to investigate the pressures on the traditions of the disciplines. Aspects worth exploring may include: innovation and invention; utopia-dystopia-apocalyptism; nature’s cultures and biodiversity; experimentation and bio-/cogno-/info-/nano-technologies of the self; mediascapes and mediafutures, technofutures; evolution and the supersedence of the human; interaction between humans, non-humans and systems; astronomy and cosmology; memory, archive, trauma and prolepsis; new cosmologies; speciesism and future life forms; theories of space, time and infinity; future histories and present futures of the sciences and the humanities.