Netherlands, Utrecht

The Posthuman Glossary

when 22 August 2016 - 26 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 500

Contemporary art, science, and the humanities converge on stressing the need for renewed analysis of the re-constructions of the category of the human. This course is based on the assumption that contemporary contextual concerns such as advanced scientific and technological developments, the neoliberal economics of global capitalism, migration, environmental destruction, perpetual war on terror and extensive security systems have challenged the concept of the human as we had previously known it. The course interrogates the main concepts in present-day scholarly and artistic work. It is constructed around four focal points: Anthropocene, eco-sophies, digital activism and algorithmic cultures and security. A full day is devoted to explore the role of the contemporary arts in these debates.

Day 1: The Anthropocene (Braidotti)
Focus: critical overview of discourses about the Anthropocene, as the geological era where humans are having a lasting negative effect upon the planet. How useful is it scientifically? Does it enhance a collective sense of ecological responsibility and thus build our ethical agency and political consciousness? How credible is to re-create a new sense of pan-human inter-connection based on the fear of extinction? How do a posthuman sensibility turn into a new ethical awareness ?

Day 2: Eco-sophies (Braidotti and Dolphijn)
Focus: the collapse of the century-old divide between nature and culture, due to a combination of scientific advances and the impact of economic globalization. What are the implications of a nature-culture continuum? How can we represent theoretically the shifting inter-connections between humans and non-human factors and agents? Special attention will be given to neo-Spinozist monistic philosophy and to process ontologies.

Day 3: The Arts in Posthuman Times (Hjlavajova)
Focus: the interconnection between posthuman scholarship and artistic-curatorial practice. What kind of research is artistic and curatorial practice? Which are its assumed subjects and presumed object-matters ? In an era that is increasingly defined by the vitality of non-human agency, what new parallels are emerging between theory, science and the arts ? What methodological and political alliances do we need to sustain in order to co-create robust conceptual and experimental terminologies that may be adequate to the complexity of our times?


Day 4: Digital Activism (Braidotti and Dolphijn)
Focus: the extent to which digital mediation has become the new public sphere. What are the social, legal, ethical and political issues that have come to occupy the centre of the public debate in relation to the digital sphere? What is the role of governments, corporations, the military and the global media in setting this agenda? What does it mean to be ?digital citizens? and ?digital activists??


Day 5: Algorithmic Cultures and Security (Braidotti and Demmers)
Focus: the impact of digital technologies upon the techniques of surveillance of the social space, border areas, and war zones. What is the object of study in relation to a culture of security, surveillance, counter-terrorism and the militarization of the social space? As our war weaponry becomes more independent of direct human control, as in the case of drones, what models of resistance can be offered? To what an extent does the emphasis on computational systems enhance posthuman subjectivity as resistance ?

Course leader

Prof. Rosi Braidotti

Target group

This interdisciplinary course is aimed at research-minded advanced master and PhD students with a critical and curious intellectual disposition. A strong background in at least one of the following disciplines is required: critical theory, Continental philosophy, gender studies, media and technology studies, social and political theory, postcolonial and race studies, cultural studies.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to contemporary critical theory in the Continental philosophy tradition through the exploration of debates about contemporary subjectivity, globalization and power, and the politics of affirmation.

Fee info

EUR 500: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 300: Course + course materials

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