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Beyond Subject/Object: Posthumanism in Latin America

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Organizer: Dana Khromov

Co-Organizer: Fabián Darío Mosquera

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The humanities have taken a turn in the last quarter century toward the posthuman, a shift founded on a decentering of the Cartesian subject and a concomitant reconsideration of how the human is distinguished from plant and animal life, and how it is situated vis à vis inhuman forces, from the geological to the technological. Emerging from and connecting various fields of study across the humanities and social and natural sciences, this line of thinking is framed by the Anthropocene, or Capitalocene condition, whose socioeconomic and ecological pressures have made a reconsideration of the human subject’s positioning in and interaction with animal, plant and geologic life especially urgent. But as anthropologists like Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and Eduardo Kohn have brought to light, non-anthropocentric cosmovisions have long existed among indigenous communities in Latin America, despite being institutionally devalued as myth, and can without a doubt offer solutions to the social and ecological crises we face today.

In the face of accelerating destruction wrought by globalized capitalism, this seminar looks to Latin America as a privileged site from which to think the posthuman, taking into account not only indigenous cosmovisions as alternatives, supplements or caveats to humanist discourse and their institutional reception, but also how the construct of nature as separate from culture loses coherence in spaces where modernization’s reach has been delayed, fragmented or partial. We will look at contemporary Latin American aesthetic production through recent theoretical matrices such as object oriented ontology, multinatural perspectivism and comparative metaphysics for a rethinking of the human in relation to the other (racial, gender, species, etc.) and the impact such a rethinking has on conceptualizations of subjectivity, temporality (e.g. Kathryn Yusoff’s concept of geological time) and space (the exhaustion of landscape, as theorized by Jens Andermann, for example). Beginning with the question of how we define the human as distinct from the animal and extending to plant life and the geological, we will consider the ontological, epistemological and political implications of disarticulating the subject/object, human/animal and nature/culture dualisms. We welcome proposals that consider how different media, from cinema to literature to visual art, contend with these issues.

Please send abstracts in Spanish or English, not exceeding 400 words, by September 23, 2019.

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