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Multispecies World Conference at Harvard University


April 25-26, 2013

Featuring talks by Stefan Helmreich (Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology, MIT) and Noam Chomsky (Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, MIT)

Thursday April 25: Room 1550, William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge

Please arrive and register by 14.45

14.45-16.25: Panel I: Theorizing Subjectivity (Chair: Joe Vitti, graduate student, Harvard Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology)

Agnes Malinowska (University of Chicago): The Solipsism of Vulnerability: Questioning the Turn to Embodied Finitude in Interspecies Ethics

Filippo Bertoni (University of Amsterdam): Life Quarries, Life Queries: underground biological activity and the search for (an answer to) life

Andy Hahn (Oregon State University): “Botanical Thinking: Posthuman Possibilities in Goethe’s Plant Morphology and DeLanda’s Assemblage Theory”

Vincent Duhamel (Universite de Montreal): Knowing How to Flee and When to Hide – A Case for NonHuman Knowledge

Novina Goehlsdorf (Humboldt-Universität Berlin, visiting scholar, Harvard): From non-human to more-than-human: transforming concepts of autism

16.25-16.30: Break

16.30-17.30: Stefan Helmreich, Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology, MIT (Chair: Neal Akatsuka, graduate student, Harvard Department of Anthropology)

17.30-18.00: Break

18.00-19.30: Screening of “Project Nim” (Introduction: Caroline DeVane, graduate student, Harvard Divinity School)

Friday April 26: Bell Hall, Belfer Building, Harvard Kennedy School, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge

Please arrive by 8.45

08.45-10.30: Panel II: Navigating Contested Interests (Chair: Michael G. Bennett, Associate Professor, Northeastern School of Law)

Katie Gillespie (University of Washington): The ‘global intimate,’ sexualized violence, and the gendered commodification of the animal body in Pacific Northwest dairy production

Ryan Shapiro (MIT): “The most humane practice known to man”: Contesting animal protection in early Twentieth-Century American Vivisection Controversies

Les Beldo (University of Chicago): Anti-Whaling Activism and the Limits of Cetacean ‘Representation’

Ashley Drake (University of Chicago): Applying Individual-Centered Ethnography to the Study of Human-Animal Interaction in Zoos

10.30-10.45: Break

10.45-12.15: Panel III: Individuals in a Multispecies World (Chair: Joanna Radin, Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine and of History, Yale School of Medicine)

Elan Abrell (CUNY Graduate Center): “The Possibility of Becoming a Dog”: Bringing Companion Animals from Zoë to Bios through Practices of Empathy in the No Kill Movement

Barnaby McLaughlin (University of Rhode Island): I Can Haz an Electric Cheezburger: Animals, Empathy, and the Internet

Maria Metzler (Harvard): Talking Animals on Trial: The Metaphysical Implications of Balaam’s Ass

Jakobina Arch (Harvard): Humanizing Whales: Religion and the Human-Other Boundary in Early Modern Japan

12.15-13.00: Lunch

13.00-14.45: Panel IV: The Politics of Territories (Chair: Allen T. Rutberg, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Tufts)

Marcus Owens (Harvard): Towards a Multi-Species City

Emily Wanderer (MIT): Biologies of Betrayal: The Care of the Pest, Judas Goats, and the Margins of Mexico

Connie Johnston (Clark University/Harvard University): Farm Animals’ Welfare in the US and EU: Translating, Representing, and Creating Legibility

Amy Hanes (Brandeis): Inept Dads and Matriarchal Moms: Adoptive Patrimony and Value in Elephant Conservation in Cameroon

Barbara Canavan (Oregon State University): Migrating Birds: Biological Sentinels for Human Disease

14.45-15.00: Break

15.00-16.00: Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, MIT (Chair: Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School)

16.00-16.30: Summary reflections (Chair: Caroline DeVane, graduate student, Harvard Divinity School)

Panelists: Joe Vitti (Harvard), Irina Meketa (Boston University), Caterina Scaramelli (MIT)

16.30-17.30: Reception


Navigating a Multispecies World: A Graduate Student Conference on the Species Turn
APRIL 25-26, 2013
Co-sponsored by the Harvard Program on Science, Technology, and
Society (STS), the MIT Department of Anthropology, and the Harvard
Political Ecology Working Group (PEWG).

This conference concerns the recent innovations and insights for the study of ontologies and socialities engendered through the “species turn” — that is, the intellectual turn to, and reflection upon, life beyond the human species in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Emerging over the last few decades of the 20th century, the species turn developed (1) from a diverse array of analytical and theoretical formations concerned with aspects of the nonhuman (animate and inanimate), including actor-network theory, affect theory, animal studies, assemblage theory, the new materialism, and systems theory; and (2) in productive tension with a parallel intellectual development — posthumanism — articulated through such innovative theoretical work as Katherine Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman and Cary Wolfe’s What Is Posthumanism? While all approaches hold their own particular aims, objects, and methodologies, they urge us to consider that we, humans, are not alone. That is, we live in a world populated by and constituted through life forms and forms of life beyond the human. And as such, we must critically reconsider who “we” are in terms that challenge the limitations and dangers of anthropocentrism.

We welcome papers from any discipline on topics including, but not limited to:
– Animal rights
– Chimeras
– Human-nonhuman relations
– Interspecies solidarity
– Kinship
– Multispecies biopolitics
– Nonhuman agency
– Nonhuman ethics
– Nonhuman subjectivity
– Nonhuman ontology
– Representations of nonhumans
– Species concept
If you have any questions, please send them to multispeciesworld@gmail.com.