Climate Realism – Aesthetics and Politics of Climate

Climate Realism is an ongoing research project consisting of international colloquiums, conference panels, and both a forthcoming journal issue of Resilience (2020) and book on Routledge (2019). The concept names the challenge of representing and conceptualizing climate in the era of climate change. Climate has traditionally referenced the weather it gathers, the mood it creates, and the settings it casts. In the era of the Anthropocene – the contemporary epoch in which geologic conditions and processes are overwhelmingly shaped by human activity – climate indexes not only atmospheric forces but the whole of human history: the fuels we use, the lifestyles we cultivate, the industrial infrastructures and supply chains we build, and the possible futures we may encounter. In other words, with every weather event, we have become acutely aware that the forces indexed by climate are as much social, cultural, and economic as they are environmental, natural, and physical. By starting with this fundamental insight, this book intervenes in the well-established political and scientific discourses of climate change by catalyzing and consolidating the emerging aesthetic and conceptual project of mediating the various forces embedded in climate.

Climate Realism is an occasion to rethink the aesthetics and politics of climate in its myriad forms; to capture climates capacity to express embedded histories; to map the formal strategies of representation that have turned climate into cultural content; and to index embodied currents of past and future climates.  How is realism – in both the aesthetic history of representation and the philosophical tradition that underwrites it – transformed by contending with our new experience of climate in the Anthropocene? What, if anything, separates first and second nature in an age contoured by climate crisis, and what does this mean for a history of philosophy premised on their difference? In order to temper climate change – to apprehend its complexity, to address its short- and long-term consequences, to mitigate its many sources – Climate Realism boldly claims we must develop new aesthetic theories and projects.

Amanda Boetzkes is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Guelph. Her research and publications focus on the intersection of visual and creative practices with the biological sciences (particularly ecology and neurology). Her first book, The Ethics of Earth Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), considers the development of the earth art movement, focusing on how ecology transitioned from a scientific discourse to a domain of ethical and aesthetic concern. She is co-editor, with Aron Vinegar, of Heidegger and the Work of Art History (Ashgate Press, 2014). She is completing a book entitled Contemporary Art and the Drive to Waste, which examines the interplay between the aesthetics of contemporary art, global systems of energy-use, and the life cycle of garbage. Boetzkes has published in the journals Postmodern CultureArt HistoryReconstruction – Studies in Contemporary CultureRACAR and Antennae – The Journal of Nature and Visual Culture and Eflux. Her upcoming book project, Ecologicity: Vision and Art for A World to Come, analyzes the aesthetic and perceptual dimensions of imagining the ecological condition. She is currently a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany.

Graeme Macdonald is  Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, and teaches on the English and Comparative Literary Studies program. MA (Jt Hons in Literature and Sociology) Aberdeen; PhD (Glasgow); (PGCHE) Warwick. He recently edited a new edition of John McGrath’s play The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (2015) and is currently preparing a monograph, Petrofiction – Oil and World Literature. He is a member of WreC (Warwick Research Collective), whose members work on new ways to think about World Literature/Literature in the World. They have published a co-written monograph on peripheral modernism and world literature: Combined and Uneven Development – Toward a New Theory of World Literature (Liverpool University Press, 2015). He is at present co-investigator on the RSE Research Network, Connecting with a Low Carbon Scotland (2016-18).

Kathryn Yusoff is Reader in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on geophilosophy, political aesthetics and the Anthropocene. She is currently writing a book on geologic life. Her work is centred on dynamic earth events such as abrupt climate change, biodiversity loss and extinction. She is interested in how these “earth revolutions” impact social thought. Broadly, her work has focused on political aesthetics, social theory and abrupt environmental change.

The three speakers all have forthcoming essays in Climate Realism (Routledge 2019). The panel will be followed by a screening of Shezad Dawood’s ongoing film cycle, Leviathan, and a roundtable discussion with Dawood and the panelists on the politics and aesthetics of climate.

Shezad Dawood works across disciplines film, painting, neon, sculpture and more recently virtual reality to deconstruct systems of image, language, site and narrative. Using the editing process as a method to explore both meanings and forms, his practice often involves collaboration and knowledge exchange, mapping across geographic borders and communities. Through a fascination with the esoteric, otherness and science-fiction, Dawood interweaves histories, realities and symbolism to create richly layered artworks.

Goethe-Institut Niederlande i.s.m. de Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis en het Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis.

Challenging the Sites of Knowledge. Medial and pluri-medial configurations and transformations

Call for Applications Summer School 2019 Application deadline: 30 Apri l 2019
When: 3 – 7 September 2019
Where: Hotel Bad Muntelier, Murten, near Berne, Switzerland
Languages: English (main), German
ECTS: 6 | Costs: 400 Swiss francs (travel and accommodation [double room] covered by organizer. Limited availability of single rooms on request and with extra charge). Members of the GSH, GSA and the Bernese Faculty of Humanities and our partner institutions and supporters (f.e. GCSC Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, FDI Université de Lausanne) are free of charge (except
for single room charge).

Challenging the Sites of Knowledge
Medial and pluri-medial configurations and transformations

Due to the impact of globalization and technological development, we are witnessing a growth and diversification of the sites of knowledge generation and the ways in which a variety of actors articulate and circulate knowledge, especially via new media. As a result, the privileged position of ‘scientific’ knowledge is contested, making knowledge the symbolic and material capital
not only of academic ‘experts’ but also of (Western and non-Western) ‘citizen scientists’, activists and artists at the margins of Academia, as well as of journalists, bloggers, or politicians. ‘Knowledge’ has become (or has always been) a matter of public debate, always infected by power modalities.
Moreover, in the course of various ‘turns’ at least since the 1990s, it has been stated that books and archives, textuality and textual literacy have never been the only reservoirs and technologies of knowledge. As hybrid forms of text, image, material things, or even sound have always been the rule, scholars from cultural studies, media studies and linguistics have pointed out for some time already the growing need for a sensory literacy. Yet, in light of more recent participatory information technologies and, especially, a growing distrust of the Humanities expressed mainly by political stakeholders, we need another analytical reset in order to foster engaged inter- and transdisciplinary debate and research for a development of what Mikhael Epstein calls “avenues of conceptual creativity” in academic institutions. This does not mean merely boarding the high-speed train of neoliberal technophilia, but instead to carefully trace present and past medial and pluri-medial dynamics, relations between creation, mediation, translation, perception and performance, image, material, sound and text with its expert and non-expert actors.
The Summer School of 2019 analyzes and discusses present and past angles and sites of knowledge generation especially in regard to medial and pluri-medial configurations and transformations from a historical, sociological, cultural and philosophical perspective. It reflects in particular on the challenges thereof for the Humanities and the Cultural and Social Sciences regarding their role in a (post-post)modern knowledge society. How do we reclaim expertise of, and for, the Humanities – an expertise which is crucial to society, but which seems to have been in question for quite some time already? And how can we manage conversation and translation – inside and outside academia – in light of an increasing pressure to make our research visible, tangible and understandable for non-experts as well? How, for example, do we analyse the (co-)production of representations through audio-visual counter-narratives, in particular in a context of cross-cultural or post-migration settings?

Invited keynote speakers and possible foci of their lectures:
  • Doris Bachmann-Medick (Permanent Senior Research Fellow International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, GCSC, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
    Translation studies, cultural theory, interdisciplinary and transcultural developments in the study of culture, cross-cultural knowledge, travelling concepts, cultural turns
  • Monika Salzbrunn (Full Professor for Religions, Migrations and Diaspora Studies, University of Lausanne) Transnational social spaces, urban spaces, migration, political and religious practices, festive events/carnival/art/music/ theatre, visual anthropology, multisensory ethnography
  • Jens Schröter (Full Professor for Media Culture Studies [Medienkulturwissenschaft], University of Bonn) Theory and history of digital media/digital culture, intermediality, virtual reality, multimedia, auditory culture, visuality, media and capital

Each morning session begins with a lecture given by one of our three keynote speakers, followed by responses and plenary discussions. These sessions prepare the ground for the parallel workshops in the afternoon, which focus on key concepts/problems and core texts that are particularly relevant for the research projects of the participants. Posters visualize the participants’ projects and foster informal exchange throughout the week.

Application Procedures

The Summer School offers doctoral and postdoctoral scholars a unique opportunity to contribute to a broader discussion with their own research and ideas. We encourage applications from researchers from the humanities and the social sciences with a strong interest in theoretical debates in an interdisciplinary setting.

How to apply?

Please provide us with the following application material:
• a letter of motivation, indicating how you expect to benefit from participating in this Summer School and how you can contribute, in turn, to the discussions (mentioning your specific interest in the topic)
• a CV of max. two pages
• an abstract (500 words) of your current research project with some keywords
• one referee we might contact

What do we offer?

The GSH will cover your travel expenses as well as accommodation (double room) and meals at the Hotel Bad Muntelier. There is a limited amount of single rooms (on request and with extra charge). You will receive an e-reader with preparatory material and have the opportunity to present your research on the Summer School homepage and blog ( Most
importantly, you are offered an intellectually stimulating, lively and friendly atmosphere conducive to fruitful exchange with both senior scholars and peers.


Please apply electronically (single PDF) to Vera Jordi who is happy to answer questions regarding the application: For all further questions please contact

The project team

Prof. Dr. Anke von Kügelgen (Director IFN and GSH, Head TransHumanities)
Dr. Michael Toggweiler (Coordinator IFN and GSH, Coordinator TransHumanities)
Vera Jordi MA (Administrative Assistant TransHumanities)

Racial Orders, Racist Borders

Racial Orders, Racist Borders

Call for Papers: Sixth Annual ACGS Conference, 17-18 October 2019, University of Amsterdam.

Around the world, racist discourses, attitudes, and practices have moved from the fringes into the mainstream, putting core democratic values under pressure. Familiar racial orders have resurfaced and reinforced racist borders, both metaphorical and material. The sixth annual conference of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS) invites papers that examine how forms, discourses and practices of racism have materialized in various institutional contexts.

Keynote speakers:

Gargi Bhattacharyya (University of East London, UK) is a Professor of Sociology at the UEL’s Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging and the author, most recently, of Rethinking Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival (2018).

Barnor Hesse (Northwestern University, Evanston, USA) is an Associate Professor of African American Studies, Political Science and Sociology and the co-editor, most recently, of After #Ferguson, After #Baltimore: The Challenge of Black Death and Black Life for Black Political Thought (2017, with Juliet Hooker).

David Lloyd (University of California, Riverside, USA) is Distinguished Professor of English and the author, most recently, of Under Representation: The Racial Regime of Aesthetics (2018).

Organized in cooperation with the collaborative research centre Dynamics of Security at the Universities of Giessen and Marburg, Germany, the conference’s main conceptual focus is on the institutional dimensions of racism. How and by whom has racism been ‘mainstreamed’ in different countries and regions around the globe? What kinds of discourses, techniques, strategies and tactics have been mobilized to mainstream racism? And how does this take shape in diverse institutional settings, including politics, education, international institutions, the media, cultural foundations, the police, and the legal system? In the wake of unrestrained, state-led xenophobia and populist nationalism, the function of race as a building block of culture, education, finance, nationalism and democracy can no longer be dissolved into ethnicity, nationalism and religion. Thus, the function of race cannot be hidden behind modernity, the Enlightenment, multiculturalism or civilization, deferred to the histories of ‘other’ places and ‘other’ peoples, or relegated to a past that was ostensibly erased with the end of the Holocaust and the birth of modern institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations. We need to employ the full range of research tools and approaches to take stock of how race and racism have continued to underscore state histories and institutions, as well as everyday practices, habits, gestures, affects, languages, aesthetics and representations alike.

Avenues of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:

  • Histories of institutional racism
  • Racism and populist governance
  • Intersectional perspectives on race and racism
  • Intersections between different practices of racism
  • Whiteness
  • Racism and #metoo
  • Racism and social media
  • Race, immigration and refugee flows
  • Race (and) wars
  • Borders and bodies
  • Race, racism and the digital
  • Race and technology
  • Legalizing race and racism
  • Teaching race and racism
  • Race, policing and profiling
  • Globalization and neoliberalism
  • Nationalism and the nation-state
  • Race and popular media
  • Fake news and the crisis of journalism
  • Multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism
  • Colonial legacies, decolonization and neo-imperialism
  • Aesthetics of race and racism
  • Race and cultural institutions
  • The politics of colour-blindness

Contributions from across the social and political sciences and the humanities are welcome. Please submit an abstract (max. 250-300 words) and a short bio (max. 100 words) by 15 May 2019 to Submissions for pre-constituted panels with a maximum of four papers are also welcome.

Organisers: Jeroen de Kloet, Amade M’charek, Thomas Poell (University of Amsterdam), Regina Kreide, Huub van Baar (Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany), Anikó Imre (University of Southern California, USA), Dušan Bjelić (University of Southern Maine, USA).

The Political-Aesthetic Economy of Narco-Capitalism

The Political-Aesthetic Economy of Narco-Capitalism

Lecture Andres Saenz de Sicilia, 25 April 16:00-18:00, location to be announced

In what sense can we understand capitalism as violent? There is much discussion of structural and ‘slow’ violence in the modern world, yet for many, Marx included, capitalism replaces the direct violence of previous epochs with an impersonal, abstract and mediated form of social power. On such a view, the persistence of violence in capitalist societies represents something aberrant, a residue of past incivility tied to a lack of political and economic progress. But are violence and capitalist development intrinsically opposed in this manner?

Contemporary Mexico suggests otherwise. Since 2006, collusion and conflicts between rival cartels, government forces and corporate interests have given rise to an entrenched dynamic of violence and impunity which has done little to harm the success of its national economy. Far from being an exotic and irrational deviation from the normal functioning of market societies, Mexican ‘narco-capitalism’ presents us with a perfectly viable configuration of capitalist accumulation – perhaps even a paradigmatic instance of accumulation in its neo-liberal form. This situation has much to tell us about capital per se, its possible modalities and its geopolitical conditions. In this paper I outline the concept of narco-capitalism by tracing the central articulations between organised crime, state and capital in Mexico today. I then go on to explore the integration of violence into the accumulation process, not only as practice and commodity, but also as image. The aesthetic dimension of its violence is crucial to the reproduction of the narco-capitalist order, and points to its irreducibility to a mere political or economic logic. Instead, I suggest that it must be considered as a cultural form.

Andrés Saenz De Sicilia is a teaching fellow in Philosophical Studies at Newcastle University and a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam’s School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). He obtained his PhD from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University in 2016 and has previously been a research fellow at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, as well as teaching at the University of Roehampton, Central Saint Martins and University College London (UCL). He has published in journals such as Language Sciences and Radical Philosophy as well as the Sage Handbook of Critical Theory, and is currently completing a book on the concept of ‘subsumption’ in Kant, Hegel and Marx.


Conference 2019 Human

The 3rd PARSE Biennial Research Conference: Human

13-15 November, 2019, Gothenburg.

Call for contributions: panels, papers, performances, screenings, collaborations and workshops

Deadline for abstracts: 31 March 2019

For submissions go to:


The 3rd Biennial PARSE Research Conference takes its title Human to prompt an interdisciplinary and international debate on key issues of the contemporary global condition. 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, inhuman, subhuman and non-human, as well as formulating an adequate response to the anthropocenic threat posed by the human against the planet.

Historically, the category ‘human’ has been instrumental to the justification and practice of sovereignty and universalism in the Western world, insofar as delimiting and differentiating what ‘human’ means has been central to the project of modernity.

Such delineations have centered on questions of self-consciousness and language, intellectual ability in the form of abstract thought, the possession of a soul, tool-making capabilities, genetic inheritance or private property; however, they have demanded demarcations through the production of prohibition and hierarchization, in processes of inevitable social, political, legal, and economic violence.

Drawing on a broad interdisciplinary network of critical, creative, and pedagogical communities, PARSE seeks to stimulate exchange and dialogue about how to reimagine, remake, expose and expand the human vis-à-vis notions of the nonhuman, inhuman, subhuman, posthuman and inhumane. How can we rethink the conditions for a political imaginary capable of structural transformation and justice for human and nonhuman alike? What is at the heart of current debates on the human? What political imaginaries have enabled the current wave of xenophobic and neo-colonial dehumanization? How can the arts respond to what may be termed a crisis in humanity?

The main theme of the 3rd Biennial PARSE Research Conference 2019, Human, will be organised around 6 streams that will identify clusters for thinking about the human and its discontents. PARSE particularly welcomes proposals for papers on any subject within the traditions of art, design, craft, theatre, music, photography, film, literature, and arts education, including those disciplines from social science and the humanities that are operative within the arts.

PARSE welcomes doctoral student submissions, which will be presented in a session dedicated to ongoing doctoral research projects. When submitting please indicate if your submission should be considered for this session.

We welcome contributions that engage with the following topics:

* 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)

All queries to: