CFP: V Annual Conference on the new materialisms, 25-26 September 2014, Barcelona
New Materialist Methodologies: Gender, Politics, the Digital
The theory of new materialism is traversing many disciplines of knowledge: from quantum physics to art theory. This allows a search for a common ground for interdisciplinary studies. In addition, these theoretical approaches are proving themselves as a suitable “ethic-onto-epistemological” framework (Barad, 2007) that permits the examination of social phenomena from multidimensional perspectives, alongside offering new ways to theorize and challenge the divisions between matter and discourse, nature and culture, etc. However, the methodological parameters of these approaches remain underdeveloped and somewhat unclear especially when related to feminist theories and politics. New materialism has been coined as a “third wave feminist epistemology” (van der Tuin, 2009) in the present globalized information society, and it is because of this that a profound reassessment of some of the core research concepts is needed if these ways of theorizing want to configure themselves as an alternative to social constructivist approaches specifically in the context of digital cultures and political engagement. To these methodological concerns, we have included ‘gender’, ‘politics’ and ‘the digital’ because of their current centrality in scholarly debates produced in feminist journals and scholarship. The terms also remain key for contemporary feminist practice. Can we still consider gender as a key concept for feminist politics? How is social change conceived of and produced within a new materialist framework? How is digital inter-connectedness affecting/affected by new materialisms, and most importantly different forms of life?
To encourage theoretical and empirical queries along these lines, the V annual conference on the new materialisms at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya invites scholars and postgraduate students to submit proposals for 20 minute presentations in reference to four concepts: gender, politics, methodologies, and the digital. Even though the conference focuses around four different concepts, the aim is not to offer prescriptive definitions of these terms. Rather, we hope that the concepts will be opened up and reconnected with each other in ways that enable the study of differing processes of reality’s unfolding.
Topics of presentation may include, while not being limited to, the following:
– Revisiting the concept of gender. Can we still speak of gender as a useful analytical category? Is it possible to move beyond essentialist and dichotomous gender positions when reintroducing questions of materiality into analysis so that this does not result in losing the political track? Taking into account that new materialism is based upon affirmation, can we produce affirmative readings of the concept of gender? Why/how is it valuable nowadays? How can gender benefit from new materialist readings?
– The mattering of digitality. How is agency distributed on the continuum between virtual and real? How is subjectivity affected as part of this continuum? Can we speak of space / time as separate concepts? How might new materialist perspectives challenge linear views of these concepts? How beneficial would be a new materialist reading of the digital for feminist theory and politics? What changes, if any, are produced for feminist political activity through new materialist reconsiderations of virtual/real and space/time continua?
– The political/politics of New Materialism. What could a politics of the New Materialism look like? What does it mean to be political in new materialist terms? What kind of methodological strategies can be developed in the context of new materialist politics? What is the connection with the empiricism entailed by social sciences? How can we (re)assess sociological conflicts from the vantage points of a new materialist politics?
Confirmed keynote speakers
– Peta Hinton (Research Fellow at the ICI Berlin 2013/14)
– Felicity Colman (Reader in Screen Media, Manchester Metropolitan University)
– Jussi Parikka (Reader in Media & Design at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton (UK) & Docent in Digital Culture Theory at University of Turku)
– New Materialisms in Practice: Methodological encounters (directed at postgraduate students) led by
Ilona Hongisto, Department of Media Studies, University of Turku / The SenseLab and Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Postdoctoral fellow, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku / The School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (from 30 June 2014 on)
Milla Tiainen, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies, Anglia Ruskin University / Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Helsinki
– Feminist networking: towards the futurities of research (directed at senior researchers) led by the research groups Gender & ICT, (UOC) and the management committee of the COST Action IS 1307
Proposals for individual papers. Abstracts (300-words) should be sent in the following format:
3. Institutional affiliation
Pre-organized panels for consideration should contain an additional summary paragraph along with proposed session title.
Proposals to participate in the methodological workshop (up to 10 participants each).
1. Abstract (300-words) presenting your current research project
2. Motivation letter to participate that includes a desired strategic methodological plan.
Proposals to participate in the networking workshop (up to 10 participants).
1. Abstract (300-words) presenting research performed (individually or through research groups).
2. Motivation letter with possible future projects.
3. Summarized CV (individual or in the case of research groups, from the whole group with main publications).
* Conference organizers are keen on discussing bilingual publication opportunities (Spanish and English) with presenters and panel chairs.