Political Ecologies Workshop

Next Event: November 22, 11-1pm (PCH 7.02): Reading Group on Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies 

Joost de Bloois: j.g.c.debloois@uva.nl

Jeff Diamanti: j.diamanti@uva.nl

This year’s New Political Ecologies Workshop explores emergent practices in the humanities and social sciences that help refigure disciplinary boundaries amidst social and environmental precarity. Political ecology names the interconnectivity of the materials, political forces, and economic forms that animate embodied relations to the earth. Those relations are co-constituted in a recursive fashion. The study of economy, ecology, or politics in isolation becomes a reactionary impediment to any effort to overcome the dominant condition of the present, marked as it is by asymmetrical exposures to capitalism’s exertion of extractive and exhausting violence over the bodies, climates, and energies of the planet. New political ecologies are emerging across the disciplines, cultural spheres, and social movements that help bring the nature of those violence into relief. These include new work on care (Bellacasa 2017), energy and transportation infrastructures (Anend et al., 2018), degrowth (D’Alisa 2014), geopower (Povinelli 2016; Yusoff 2018), petroculture (Szeman 2019), post-sustainability (Stoekl 2007/2019), waste (Boetzkes 2019), and toxic bios (Lengo and Armiero 2017).

This year’s workshop is committed to exploring these new conceptual, artistic, and critical orientations and to putting into practice a form of creative and collaborative research necessary for new forms of knowledge production in warming and exhausted world. The structure of the workshop will include a variety of public talks, reading groups, and collaborative research projects that help bridge the gap between social, physical, and economic ecologies. What is the political ecology of infrastructure space, non-institutional media outlets, unregulated labour markets, and the biomes pulled into the swell of rising seas and heated atmospheres? Who to turn to in order to begin thinking through such new ecologies? How do existing and new artistic practices help create encounters with these entangled environments, and what are the critical traditions most relevant for supporting and elaborating those encounters (from Guattari’s ‘three ecologies’ to Bataille’s ‘general economy’, from autonomism to biopolitics)? And what kinds of conceptual attachments aid us in building out an immersive political ecology not saturated by precarity?

We propose the following activities, as part of the continued workshop ‘New Political Ecologies’. The 2019-2020 workshop can be seen as an ecology of sorts: a series of related and interconnected activities that allow participants to address the questions raised above. The study group ‘New Political Ecologies’ will provide theoretical consistency and continuity, by means of a conceptual milieu for the proposed activities.

Email organizers for more information or to enrol in the workshop for ECs.

Upcoming Events: 

  • November 22, 11-1pm (PCH 7.02): Reading group on Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies
  • November 28/29 (co-sponsored with the Sandberg Institute): Masterclass and Public Lecture by Dr. Oxana Timofeeva
  • February (date TBD): Masterclass and Public Lecture by Dr. Cymene Howe on Ecologics 
  • March (date TBD): Masterclass and Public lecture by Dr. Andreas Malm on the political ecology of fossil fuels
  • April (date TBD): seminar with dr. Marlon Miguel (ICI Berlin) on the work of Fernand Deligny
  • May (date TBD): seminar with dr. Erik Bordeleau (Montreal/ICI Berlin) on communism and cryptocurrencies

On Painting

The second meeting of the Artistic Research Research Group will take place on Friday December 6, 2019 from 14:00-16:30 at Vox-Pop Creative Space for the Humanities (Binnengasthuisstraat 9). During this meeting, we will be participating in a reading group lead by On Painting, a reading group engaging with literature surrounding the practice of painting. *Please note that this session is not a presentation but rather a reading group and your familiarity with the text is essential for participation.*  Contact: Emilija Angelovska <angelovskaart@gmail.com>

ON PAINTING is a reading group engaging with literature on -and surrounding- painting: theory, philosophy, history texts relevant to painting, both in relation to its tradition, and in relation to the post-medium condition. Given this expanded view, the reading group is as much about painting as it is about the art discourse in general.
More, approaching the notion of ‘reading’ in a broadly way, our sessions can take the form of a walk in the dunes, a cooking event and more.
In the context of ARRG we will focus on the text Masters and Servants or Lovers – On Love as a Way to Not Recognize the Other, by Jan Verwoert (text in attachment). In this text Verwoert traces a genealogy of love through Hegel, Lacan, Agamben, Heidegger and Adorno; weaving the positions of these thinkers with references to cinema such as Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Zhang Yimou’s House of the Flying Daggers, songs such as Bonnie Taylor’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, and more. The ARRG session will be a build-up on Verwoert’s coupling of philosophy with imagery. We invite all the participants to select the passages of the text that speak to them the most. During our session we will use these fragments of text to think through imagery (images, youtube videos, quotes, etc.), exploring our personal associations that may surface while reading this text. The idea is to respond to the text and to each other through images, while at the same time defining parallel visual readings to that of Verwoert. We will have access to a large screen, a computer with internet connection and a printer. Any questions please email isabelcordeiro@yahoo.com
ON PAINTING was initiated by visual artist Isabel Cordeiro and Platform BK in 2016 and since then it has taken place in institutions such as Dundee Contemporary Arts in Scotland, the Atlas Initiative in Breda, Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen, Orchid and the Wasp in Amsterdam, among others.
The ARRG iteration is co-organized by Platform BK, Isabel Cordeiro, Bas van den Hurk, Jochem van Laarhoven and Andela Vidic.

Fourth Annual Symposium Unhinging the National Framework: Transnational Life Writing

Friday, 6 December, 2019 Atrium, Medical Faculty Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | Van der Boechorststraat 7 1081 BT Amsterdam

09.30 – 10.00       Welcome with coffee and tea

10.00 – 11.00       Opening Keynote Address + discussion

Prof. dr. Sonja Boon, author of What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (2019), Department of Gender Studies, Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada

Speculative Lives: Haunted Yearnings for Impossible Pasts

10.45 – 11.30       Dr. Esther Captain (KITLV) and Dr. Guno Jones (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Postcolonial Transnational (Family) Histories

11.30 – 12.00      Coffee break

12.00 – 12.30       Dr. Karin Willemse, Department of History, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Re-membering Those Who Left: Abandoned Houses as Archives of (In)Tangible Nubian Heritage

12.30 – 13.00       Interview with Dr. Lizzy van Leeuwen, independent scholar, biographer

13.00 – 13.15       Discussion

13.15 – 14.00      Lunch

14.00 – 14.15       Research pitches Unhinging the National Framework

14.15 – 15.15       Keynote Address + discussion

Prof. dr. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, England, biographer and author of fiction

Unhinging the National Framework through Curricular Change

15.15 – 15.45      Coffee break

15.45 – 16.30       Dik van der Meulen, biographer

King William III. A Boundless Royal

Dr. Monica Soeting, European Journal of Life Writing

Queen Emma, the Sweetest Grandmother of Europe

16.30 – 17.00       Interview with Dr. Frank Dragtenstein, historian and Surinamist

Artistic Research Amsterdam in Valencia

Artistic Research Amsterdam in Valencia

Students of the Master Artistic Research of the University of Amsterdam (2018-2019) bring their work and thoughts – with some work of their peers – to Valencia. The University of Amsterdam occupies a unique position in the Netherlands, It seeks to form a bridge between the arts and scholarly research. Jesse Brinkerhof; Ester Eva Damen in collaboration with Joris Berger; Sabrina Huth in collaboration with Ilana Reynolds; António Mesquita Cartaxo; Marjolijn Rijks in collaboration with; Charlotte Neel Ritto; Christine van Royen; Anouk Hoogendoorn; Sara-Lot van Uum.

ColorElefante | C/ Sevilla 26 bajo izquierdo 46006 | Valencia, Spain | telf. 686 795 077 | https://goo.gl/maps/8oQSgYNNuJUcvq6JA ! | https://www.facebook.com/colorelefante/
November 01 – 10, 2019 | Opening October 31, 8.30pm | Preview: October 29 – 31, 2019

Sponsored by Amsterdams Universiteitsfonds & NICA

Photo by Ester Eva Damen, 2019

Transformations of Trauma in the Age of Climate Change

WORKSHOP with Stef Craps (Ghent University)

Friday 22nd November, 1-4 pm.

Location: Roeterseiland E gebouw E0.22

The increasing visibility of climate change and scientists’ alarming warnings about it are taking a toll on people’s mental well-being. This lecture surveys the culturally resonant repertoire of new coinages that have emerged in recent years to name and communicate environmentally induced distress. It pays particular attention to the concept of pre-traumatic stress disorder, which has become the focus of a small but important body of humanistic scholarship calling for an expanded trauma theory that would be future- as well as past-oriented. Noting trauma theory’s persistent human-centredness, the lecture goes on to consider attempts that are being made to reconceptualize trauma in non-anthropocentric terms and to acknowledge the interconnectedness and entanglement of human and non-human traumas. It ends by predicting that cultural trauma research, which has so far shown relatively little interest in environmental issues in general and climate change in particular, will engage more fully with our dire environmental predicament in the years ahead.

Stef Craps is a professor of English literature at Ghent University, where he directs the Cultural Memory Studies Initiative. His research interests lie in twentieth-century and contemporary literature and culture, memory and trauma studies, postcolonial theory, and ecocriticism and environmental humanities. He is the author of Postcolonial Witnessing: Trauma Out of Bounds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Trauma and Ethics in the Novels of Graham Swift: No Short-Cuts to Salvation (Sussex Academic Press, 2005), and a co-editor of Memory Unbound: Tracing the Dynamics of Memory Studies (Berghahn, 2017). He has also co-edited two special issues of Studies in the Novel, on climate change fiction and postcolonial trauma novels, and one of Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, on transcultural Holocaust memory. He has recently co-authored an introductory guide to the concept of trauma, which is forthcoming in Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series, and is currently guest-editing a special issue of American Imago on ecological grief.

In preparation for the workshop students read three academic chapters/articles (see reading list below); they formulate a question for Stef Craps (around 200 words), which they print and bring to the workshop.

Participation in the workshops earns RMA students 1 EC. Register by sending a mail to nica-fgw@uva.nl. Please mention your affiliation.

Reading list:

  • Craps, Stef. “Climate Change and the Art of Anticipatory Memory.” Parallax 23:4 (2017): 479-492.
  • Cunsolo, Ashlee & Karen Landman, eds. Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017. Introduction.
  • Saint-Amour, Paul. “Waiting for the Bomb to Drop.” The New York Times, 3 August 2015.