Posthuman Bodies & Embodied Posthumanisms: An Interdisciplinary Conference
Conference venue: University of Warwick, UK and online
Prof. Richard Dyer
Prof. Claire Colebrook
The ongoing ecological crisis, recent technological developments, and the attempt to address in new ways issues concerning race and gender have spurred a surge in important scholarship on the concept of the posthuman, situating in new light questions of what it means to be human and what constitutes the human, nonhuman, and inhuman body. Against this backdrop, we want to provide a space for interrogating how our relation to bodies might have transformed since the emergence of the notion of the posthuman, for investigating the ways in which we might have always-already been entangled with the bodies of nonhuman and inhuman others, and to consider how posthuman bodies can make an impact outside of academia.
Jack Halberstam and Ira Livingston (1995) define posthuman bodies as ‘the causes and effects of postmodern relations of power and pleasure, virtuality and reality, sex and its consequences.’ The posthuman body is ‘a technology, a screen, a projected image,’ ‘a contaminated body, a deadly body, a techno-body;’ it is ‘a queer body’ (Halberstam and Livingston 1995). Transgressing the deep-seated boundary between human and machine, action and inertia, subject and object, culture and nature, the posthuman body is a plural, non-binary or post-dualist notion that defies the perception of the human, or some humans, as superior to other humans and nonhumans. The ‘post’ prefix in posthuman bodies does not mean the end of humanity or a period after which human embodiment has been transcended (Wolfe 2010). It denotes, instead, ‘the end of a certain conception of the human’ (Hayles 1999).
What passes for posthumanism is contested, being adjunct to related fields, such as transhumanism and antihumanism, and bearing different and, in several cases, contradictory and irreconcilable usages. This conference, therefore, focuses on the ever-evolving understanding of posthuman bodies—that is, the various ‘posthuman’ approaches to the body—and its implications for issues of ecology, race, gender, ethics, and socio-politics in the 21st century. It aims to explore critical, creative, performative, experiential, and interdisciplinary perspectives on the posthuman body that ultimately challenge, examine, and elaborate the strengths and weaknesses intrinsic to this notion. We invite contributors to engage with posthuman bodies as a site of critique and an ongoing mode of inquiry to be applied in everyday life. In this sense, the posthuman body is both a theory and a praxis that strives towards and is motivated by gender fluidity and differences, cyborg and animal rights, racial equities, environmental and economic sustainability, and more.
Situated at the transdisciplinary crossroads of (philosophical, cultural, critical, and performative) posthuman studies, film and television studies, media studies, cultural studies, literary studies, and the sciences, this conference welcomes multiple perspectives and approaches to converge on the different questions and aspects of the posthuman body. We interrogate this notion not only from an epistemological point of view but also from an empirical one, so that academic, activist, and artistic performances, workshops, and papers are welcome. The following areas of reflection are only suggestive:
- Racial, social, and sexual identities that challenge historical definitions of the human
- Posthuman approaches to the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene, and other -cenes
- Posthuman approaches to disability studies
- Posthuman monstrosity and monstrous becomings
- Human and nonhuman embodiments
- Posthuman geographies and decolonisation
- Exploration of ethical economies and sustainable technologies that challenge greenwashing
- Biotechnologies and ethical repercussions
- Posthuman bodies in visual media and literature
- AI, cyborgs, and big data
- The overlaps, intersections, and contradictions between transhumanism and posthuman bodies
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- A title of your presentation and your anonymised 300-word abstract for a single contribution or your anonymised 500-word proposal for a panel, as a Word document.
- A 100-word biography written in third person, including your research, institutional affiliation, and pronouns, as a separate Word document to allow for anonymity.
- Your preference for online or in-person participation.
The deadline for submission is 29th April 2022. Presentations should be around 15-20 minutes. We are interested in developing the conference into a book or a special issue – more details will follow on this after the conference.
This conference is organised by Annelise Edwards-Daem (Nottingham Trent University), Camilla Pitton (University of Warwick), Liam Rogers (University of Warwick), and Trang Đặng (Nottingham Trent University).
This conference is made possible by generous funding provided by Midlands4Cities.