The Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg hosted its third PARSE conference over the last coupe of days (13-15 November 2019) focusing on the theme of ‘Human’.
Politically, culturally and theoretically, it is impossible today to navigate through the dense lattice of emergencies and urgencies without addressing the question of what constitutes the human, and by extension the inhuman, subhuman and non-human, as well as formulating an adequate response to the anthropocenic threat posed by the human against the planet. Organised to be deliberately transdisciplinary, the discussions were divided across six themes or tracks – with keynotes by Barbara Albert, Joan Anim-Addo, Maaike Bleeker, Joanna Bourke and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson – which include:
- the inhuman, the subhuman, the body and inscriptions of the human (the contested universality of the human across the divisions of class, race, gender, trans, queer, ableism, neurodiversity);
- the imperiled non-human (the Anthropocene, nature, ecological catastrophe) and the technological non-human and objecthood (tools, machine, nature, world of objects, OOO, robotics, algorithms etc);
- the posthuman, pedagogy and the institution (anti-humanism, anti-anthropocentrism, critique of the humanities, the human produced by the university, knowledge and distinction, disciplines of the human);
- human mobility and nationhood (transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, migration, human rights, personhood);
- biopolitics, necropolitics and the governance of the category of the human;
- decoloniality, post- and neo-colonialism (slavery, indigeneity, empire, desegregation, white Suprematism, white privilege).
I’ve been told that an upcoming issue of PARSE Journal will be dedicated to the conference, so am looking forward to essays winging their way to me at some stage. In keeping with the transdisciplinary approach PARSE has espoused, there will of course connections to previous issues. Meanwhile the website has had a further revamp (can’t believe I’ve worked on 7 issues already, i.e. from No. 3…)