PostNatural – SLSA 2013
The 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
October 3-6, 2013
What does it mean to come “after” nature?
Where now is the boundary between human and nonhuman?
The planet’s poles are melting, alpine ice is in retreat, oceans are rising, island nations are disappearing, species vectors are shifting, tropical diseases are moving north, northern natures-cultures are moving into extinction. Acidification of ocean water already threatens food chains both natural and human while dead zones blossom and coral bleaches. Natural states of exception—historic wildfires, droughts, floods, “snowmageddons” and shoreline erosion—are the norm. Reality overshoots computer models of global warming even as CO2 emissions escalate faster than predicted, with no end in sight. Yet none of this has altered our way of living or our way of thinking: as Fredric Jameson noted, we can imagine the collapse of the planet more easily than the fall of capitalism.
What resources can SLSA bring to this planetary emergency? What fundamental reorientations of theory—of posthumanity and animality, of agency, actants, and aporias, of bodies, objects, assemblages and networks, of computing and cognition, of media and bioart—are needed to articulate the simple fact that our most mundane and ordinary lives are, even in the span of our own lifetimes, unsustainable?
If we are now posthuman—if we have never been natural—are we now, finally, ecological?
For more information, please visit the conference website
Sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters; the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values; The Department of English; The Department of Art, Art History & Design; The College of Science; The Center for Social Concerns; and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.