A Post-Human World?
Rethinking anthropology and the human condition
13 – 14 June 2013
Woolley Building; Camperdown Campus, University of Sydney
Conveners: Dr. Robbie Peters, Dr. Ryan Schram
Sponsored by: Department of Anthropology, School of Social and Political Sciences, and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Anthropology has historically been based on an idea of the human as a ‘species-being’ defined by its unique capacity to order its own world. In this symposium, we ask how anthropology would change if we gave up this assumption. We take as a starting point Latour’s challenge to ‘open up the question of humanity’ by considering that ‘the non-human is not inhuman’ (1997: 15).
We ask that participants challenge the separation of nature and culture by considering a ‘post-human’ condition as it applies to their own research. How are our research agendas changed when we assume that human and non-human exist in relationship to one another as mediators rather than as ends and means, and with neither subordinate to the other? In recent years, anthropologists have explored the post-human condition through research on topics of surveillance, political ecology, cross-species relationships, disabilities, and virtual worlds, among others. This symposium invites everyone from across the field of anthropology to consider the implications for our discipline of a post-human world in which humans are part of nature and nature is part of the human. Our purpose is to debate the question of what is anthropology, both where it has come from and where it is going.
Some of the questions the sessions will address are:
• How to write an ethnography of animals?
• How to study human ecology in the anthropocene age?
• What theories of consciousness does anthropology need?
• What is agency?
• What tools do people use to acquire and transmit cultural patterns, practices and ideas?
We encourage submissions from every subfield in anthropology. We ask participants to reflect on their research in light of the question of what makes us human and consider how their research appears in light of a post-human perspective.
We invite those interested to submit abstracts for proposed papers of 250 words by 15 March 2013.
To submit abstracts and for further enquiries, contact Ryan Schram at ryan.schram (at) sydney.edu.au.
The keynote speakers for this year’s symposium will be Professor Marianne Elisabeth Lien from the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo and Professor Nikolas Kompridis, Professorial Fellow in the School of Humanities & Communication Arts at the University of Western Sydney.
Latour, Bruno. 1997. “To modernise or to ecologise, that is the question.” Accessed 12 December 2012. http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/189.