Critical Misanthropy

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
University of Amsterdam

Critical Misanthropy Conference

25th, 26th, and 27th January 2023
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Organisers: Eva Meijer and Emelia Quinn

Our world, as many worlds before it, is disappearing. The current climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, rise of populism, and failures of neoliberalism are forcing humans to reinvent themselves and to reconfigure relations with the natural world. In a seemingly inescapable system of violence perpetuated by humanity, we might question whether there is any hope left for the human species. This conference seeks to address the following questions: How do we think ourselves as human whilst grappling with issues of our complicity and culpability in systems of oppression? How can, and how should, humans reinvent themselves and reconfigure relations with the natural world? How do we come to terms with our responsibility for widespread devastation, a responsibility owed to ecosystems and animals as well as to those humans living in precarious environments? What role can and should other animals play in this process, and what does this mean for understandings of ‘animality’? And finally, how have writers, artists, performers, literary scholars, historians, and philosophers approached these questions? Over the course of three days, we will explore misanthropy through an interdisciplinary program of events including academic panels, workshops, and creative performances.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Claire Jean Kim (UC Irvine), Robert McKay (Sheffield), and Andrew Gibson (Royal Holloway).

We invite artists, writers, activists, and scholars together to address the subject of critical misanthropy and conceptions of the human in the age of what others have aptly termed as “the misanthropocene.”

We invite abstracts on the following and related themes:

-       Literary and cultural histories of misanthropy

-       Philosophical insights on misanthropy (e.g. nihilism and pessimism)

-       Environmental debt and reparative environmental history

-       The posthuman and posthumanity

-       Literature and climate change

-       Black critical thought and refashionings of “the human”

-       Veganism and misanthropy

-       Anti-natalist movements

-       Hope and utopianism

-       Interspecies kinships and humanimal communities

-       Eco-terrorism

-       Animal rights and modes of animal activism

-       Ecofeminism and the rehabilitation of love, care, and compassion

To submit a paper, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and a short biography to before November 1st 2022.

We also invite proposals for performances and exhibitions that might include dance, theatre, or performance art. To propose a creative engagement with misanthropy please send a description of the proposed event, a proposed budget, and a list of requirements (e.g. venue and technology needs). We would appreciate submissions for creative performances before the end of September 2022 but will consider all proposals sent before November 1st 2022.