Subject to Change

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University of Virginia, Department of English

Subject to Change: Nature, Text, and the Limits of the Human

Conference Date: March 22-24, 2013
Abstract Deadline: November 30, 2012

We invite you to join us as we explore the ontological, environmental, ethical, and aesthetic implications of living in a world in which the primacy of the human has been called into question.

What does it mean to read an object if we, too, are objects? Do inanimate subjects have a claim to the agency that humans have usually taken to be theirs alone? How are artists and scholars supposed to see into the life of things: the animal, the synthetic, the digital, the inert, the abject? How do we read after nature in a world of things?

Keynote Speech by Timothy Morton

A Roundtable Discussion with Timothy Morton and University of Virginia professors Bruce Holsinger and Jennifer Wicke

Subjects (or is it objects?) of interest include, but are not limited to:

-Object-oriented ontology and the "democracy of objects"
-Whither the human?
-The anthropocene and anthropocentrism
-Nature and the unnatural
-Systems and ecosystems, digital and analog, network and wetwork
-Animism and a living world
-Environment and catastrophe
-Dark ecology and black ecology
-Speculative Realism
-Feminist and postcolonial possibilities after nature
-Translation and metaphor
-Textual history; books as physical objects
-Words for things/things for words
-Humanities without the human
-New ecology and community
-Ethics and bioethics in a posthuman world
-The limits of the body
-Conceptual art and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry
-Natural supernaturalism
-Goethean science
-The sublime; Romanticism and its afterlife

This conference is interdisciplinary: We welcome submissions from a variety of fields. Send an abstract (of up to 350 words) for your 15-minute presentation to Include your name and institutional affiliation.

Responses are due by November 30, 2012.

Find more information, updates, and a growing forum on the nonhuman at