Materialism

Call for Papers: Feminism, Science & Materialism conference

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Center for the Study of Women in Society and the Committee on Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the Graduate Center are organizing a conference on Feminism, Science & Materialism, taking place at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, from Feburary 14-15, 2013.

The conference will focus on looking with feminist perspectives on the onto-epistemological questions raised by the materialist turn. Keynote speaker will be Karen Barad.

Papers from varying disciplines are invited, addressing a wide range of issues. Some possible examples to focus on might be:

  • The intellectual and scientific context of the new turn toward materialism
  • The relation of matter — including the biological body — to the social.
  • The relation between new materialism and previous materialisms (such as Marxism and phenomenology) and particularly their feminist elaborations. What are the continuities and discontinuities between feminist materialisms from the 1970s through the current moment?
  • The insights, knowledge and methodologies offered by the new materialist studies of science. What new frontiers have they opened? What can the new sciences offer for feminist theory?

Space for paper presentations is limited. To apply, please send an extended abstract of 1000 words and a short bio to feminism [dot] science [at] gmail [dot] com byNovember 1, 2012.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

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AHM’s State of Play, Dundee

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

AHM‘s final State of Play event takes place in Dundee on Saturday 1 October.

As with previous events it will include a number of ‘One Minute Manifestos’.  One of these has emerged through a collective process of writing initiated by Tim Collins and contributed to by a number of participants in the Values of Environmental Writing programme at Glasgow University.

Tim has asked me to post the manifesto and authorship, and to encourage anyone who broadly supports the manifesto, and is at the State of Play symposium, to come forward and share in the speaking of the manifesto.

“Who are we? Though the origins of this manifesto are the Values of Environmental Research Network conversations, this document is inclusive of all those who feel that the arts and humanities have a vital role in the effort to mitigate and prevent environmental damage.”

The Anthropo-scene Evolution

2011 saw the culmination of avarice that necessitates naming the human impact on all earthly things. In response we wish to reject humanity’s supposed dominion over nature and to take responsibility for wilful and excessive impact. Our intention is to constitute greater empathy between the world’s free-living things. As creative pragmatists committed to producing practical wisdom, we recognise a loss of humility and seek to reengage the aesthetic and the sublime, which provide interface and witness to spirit on earth. Cultural responses to the anthropo-scene realize that there are opportunities embedded in new constraints; but more importantly there is generative force amongst living things that must be engaged anew. We experiment with a new materialism and aim for new metaphysical purpose for the arts and humanities within the public domain.

Background

Draft1 scribed by Tim Collins (TC) with Reiko Goto, 18 June 2011, subsequently edited by Tom Bristow and Chris Maughan, with comments and encouragement from Aaron Franks and Chris Fremantle (CF). The AHM ‘State of Play in Scotland’ submission was initiated by CF. TC offered the first rough draft with proper word editing by Aaron Franks and Rachel Harkness, followed by strategic refinement by Rhian Williams, Kate Foster, Alistair McIntosh and Owain Jones. The full manifesto is a result of discussion that occurred on 17 June, 2011 with Aaron Franks, Owain Jones, Chris Maughan, Mike Robinson and Karen Syse. Tom Bristow and the ‘frog team’ were present in spirit if not in material form. The work was inspired and energized by presentations and dialogue with Alistair McIntosh and Gareth Evans all set within the wider context of the AHRC supported Values of Environmental Writing Network, organized by Hayden Lorimer, Alex Benchimol and Rhian Williams (2011).

 

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

ashdenizen: flowers on stage: the lotus

In the third of our summer series of blogs about flowers on stage, Satinder Chohan, writes about the lotus.

Lotus Beauty is the working title for a play I’m writing about the lives of different generations of Asian women in Britain. The play is set in a ladies beauty salon in suburban London.

Early in the play’s development, while grappling with notions of ‘beauty’, I took a walk around my neighbourhood in Southall, West London. In a small park, in a dilapidated, brown-edged pond, a beautiful white lotus stood elegant and poised, rising above half-submerged carrier bags, cigarette butts, beer cans and smack needles in the murky water. The suburban lotus inspired my ideas for the play.

Like the rose of the West, the lotus of the East is imbued with myriad cultural and spiritual meaning. The lotus is deeply rooted in Eastern mythology and religion, Buddhism and Hinduism in particular. Using the lotus symbol, I wanted to write about a spiritually bankrupt 21st century British-Asian suburbia, increasingly obsessed with external beauty and the physical self, consumed by ego, money and materialism.

I asked my mother about the lotus in rural India. As a child, she used to pop lotus seeds with her friends, eating them like popcorn. Lotuses used to spring up in flooded fields in her village. As frequent drought and new development swallowed up ponds and swamps, few remain. Her lotus-eating anecdote led me to Homer’s Odyssey and Tennyson’s 1832 poem The Lotos-Eaters. In both, the Lotophagi people eat a soporific plant that ‘so overpowered them with languor, they felt no inclination to leave, or anymore a desire to pursue the journey homewards’ (Odyssey). I imagined how people gorge on money, not lotuses, that have risen from the murky swamps of Britain, leading to apathetic lives, disconnected from nature and one’s environment.

For the women in my play, the lotus eventually blooms in trapped lives – the lotus reminding us that untainted beauty can indeed rise from earthly mud.

See also: flowers on stage: the poppy and flowers on stage: the daffodil

Satinder Chohan is a freelance writer and playwright whose first play Zameen (2008) focussed on Indian cotton farmers.