Utrecht Summer School: Posthuman Ethics, Pain, and Endurance

August 20, 2018 - August 24, 2018
D13, 004 - Utrecht University
Drift 13, 3512 BR Utrecht, the Netherlands
For all information, please contact Prof. Braidotti’s assistant: Evelien Geerts: gw.braidottiass@uu.nl

Course Summary

The intensive course “Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance” offers an overview of the contemporary debates about the ethical implications of posthumanism and the so-called ‘posthuman turn’ as well as Rosi Braidotti’s brand of critical feminist posthuman theory. The focus of the course this year will be on the relationship between the posthuman and the neo-materialist, vital ethics of affirmation, with special emphasis on how they deal with the complex issues around the lived experiences of pain, resistance, suffering and dying. Deleuze famously describes ethics as the aspiration to live an anti-fascist life. What does this mean for posthuman subjects situated between the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction? In the brutal context of the Anthropocene and climate change, of rising populism, growing poverty and inequality, how does posthuman ethics help us to deal affirmatively with these challenges?

These issues will be outlined, explored and assessed by addressing the following questions: How does a vision of the posthuman subject as a transversal an affirmative process of interaction between human, non-human and inhuman forces, help us cope with the complex and often painful challenges of the contemporary world? How does it affect the feminist quest for social justice, as well as environmental sustainability? How does it intersect with indigenous epistemologies and anti-racist politics? How does the neo-Spinozist notion of endurance foster the project of constructing an affirmative ethics for posthuman subjects? How does the idea of endurance connect to the philosophical tradition of neo-stoicism, and to Foucault’s re-reading of it? How does a posthuman ethics of affirmation help us practically to confront the lived reality of pain, death and dying?

Structure of the Course

Following an established tradition, each day of the course is structured as follows: the mornings are devoted to plenary keynote lectures, by the course leader, invited teachers and special guests.

The afternoons are devoted to parallel seminar sessions. All of the participants will be sub-divided into smaller tutoring groups, led by a team of tutors who follow the same group throughout. Participants will be notified of the group they have been assigned to and receive the name and contact details of their tutor before the summer school starts. Rosi Braidotti will be present every afternoon, will visit all the groups and will participate in all of them in turns. Adjustments and changes to the assigned groups can be made if necessary. At the end of the afternoon all the tutorial groups come together for a closing plenary discussion session, chaired by Braidotti.

The Teaching Staff

Rosi Braidotti (B.A. Hons. Australian National University, 1978; PhD Cum Laude, Université de Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, 1981; Senior Fulbright Scholar, 1994; Honorary Degrees Helsinki, 2007 and Linkoping, 2013; Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA), 2009; Member of the Academia Europaea (MAE), 2014; Knighthood in the order of the Netherlands Lion, 2005). Distinguished University Professor and founding Director of the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University (2007–2016). Her publications include: Patterns of Dissonance, 1991; Metamorphoses, 2002; Transpositions, 2006 La philosophie, lá où on ne l’attend pas, 2009; Nomadic Subjects, 1994 and 2011a; Nomadic Theory, 2011b; The Posthuman, 2013. She co-edited with Paul Gilroy Conflicting Humanities (2016) and with Maria Hlavajova The Posthuman Glossary (2018). See also: www.rosibraidotti.com.

Rick Dolphijn is a teacher/researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University, a Honorary Associate professor at Hong Kong University and member of Critical Studies at the Sandberg Institute. He is interested in continental philosophy, ecology and art. He has recently edited Michel Serres and the Crises of the Contemporary (Bloomsbury 2018, in print); Philosophy After Nature (Rowman & Little field, 2017, with Rosi Braidotti); This Deleuzian Century (RODOPI 2015, with Rosi Braidotti). With Iris van der Tuin he wrote New Materialism Interviews and Cartographies (OHP 2012). He is currently finishing a monograph entitled Cracks of the Contemporary.

Lucas van der Velden (NL) is the director of Sonic Acts in Amsterdam. He studied at the interfaculty for image and sound at The Royal Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He is co-founder of the Rotterdam art collective Telcosystems and co-founder of Baltan Lab in Eindhoven.

Simone Bignall (video lecture) is a Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Strategy and Engagement at Flinders University of South Australia. Her research interests are postcolonial political philosophy, often informed by active participation in various communities of practice and the Continental philosophical lineage from Spinoza to Deleuze with special focus on theories of embodiment and agency, feminism, psychoanalysis and ethics. Her publications include Postcolonial Agency, 2010; Deleuze and the Postcolonial (with P. Patton); Agamben and Colonialism (with M. Svirsky); and Deleuze and Pragmatism (with S. Bowden and P. Patton). She is currently completing a work titled Excolonialism: Ethics after Enjoyment.

Course Requirements

Participants in the course are expected to have read before the start of the intensive course the compulsory texts assigned for the lectures and the tutorials. Attendance to all the sessions is compulsory and the participants are required to sign up formal attendance lists for all the sessions. They are also expected to actively take part in tutorials, prepare questions and discussion points for plenary sessions, both the morning ones following the keynote lectures and the closing plenaries after the afternoon tutorials.

Certificates and Credits

Participants who meet all the requirements, attend all the sessions – or can formally justify their absence-, and show active participation in the discussions will be issued with an official Utrecht University Certificate of attendance on the last day of the school. This intensive course grants participants 2.0 ECTS credits.

Compulsory Reading

The basic textbook for the course is The Posthuman Glossary (Bloomsbury Academic 2018), edited by Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova, which all participants are expected to buy.

Background Reading

Please note that all participants are expected to have read Rosi Braidotti’s book The Posthuman (Polity Press 2013), and for an introduction to brutalism, the special issue of e-flux, co-edited by Rosi Braidotti, Timotheus Vermeulen et alia, which can be found here: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/83/

Registration

Applications are now open online: https://www.utrechtsummerschoo...

Course Schedule

Click here for a full PDF description and schedule of the course.