Bath Spa University Research Centre for Environmental Humanities; Free Public Lecture; The Trouble with Posthumanism; Prof Linda Williams; Wed 17 Oct 2018; 6:00 – 8 pm

Bath Spa University Research, Newton Park, Commons Building (CM.G24) 6-8pm

Bath Spa University Research Centre for Environmental Humanities.  The Trouble with Posthumanism: A critical reassessment of the turn to posthumanism in the environmental humanities.

The concept of a post-human condition and the discourse of posthumanism are frequently cited as important turns in ecocritical theory, animal studies and the environmental humanities more broadly. Yet questions are much less frequently raised about whether these much-vaunted critical positions might be informed by shaky presuppositions. In discussing the work of recent theorists, this lecture aims to identify some of the category slippages and critical non-sequiturs in claims for a post-human condition, or the view that post-humanism is based on unimpeachably strong ethics and strategically incisive social critique. After briefly considering other critiques of anthropocentrism, the lecture considers whether in the context of the crisis of the Anthropocene, or the age of humans, there may be a deceptively casual disingenuousness to the notion that what we are really facing is a post-human condition.

Linda Williams is Associate Professor of Cultural & Environmental History at RMIT
University in Melbourne.

Her work lies in the interdisciplinary field of the environmental humanities, especially in cultural and environmental histories of the longue durée shaped by the Annales School. Her research considers how cultural histories and ontologies of the nonhuman world and human-animal relations have interacted with the history of science, climate change and global shifts in biodiversity. She also has a particular interest in 17th century studies. Williams led an international research project entitled Spatial Dialogues (http://spatialdialogues.net/home/ ), funded by the Australian Research Council and major Australian Industry Partnerships, and has curated several major international exhibitions, including The Idea of the Animal (2006); HEAT: Art & Climate Change (2008); 2112: Imagining the Future (2012); Japanese Art after Fukushima (2015), and Ocean Imaginaries (2017).

Author: Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities, and I am Director of the University's Environmental Humanities Research Centre

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