ACSIS symposium 2017 – Mobilising Cultural Studies

In 2017 ACSIS takes the initiative to re-think and re-conceptualize what cultural research means in the digital and global present with a two day international symposium. There will be sessions and keynote speeches in parallel schedules over two days, ending with a conference dinner 20th June.

The smaller format have allowed us a certain detail and focus in the design of the symposium. We think that this will make for an intimate experience for everyone involved. We are very proud to present our three keynote speakers: Elisabetta Costa, Nicholas de Genova and Astrida Niemanis (on link). To facilitate the new format the symposium will be held at the Museum of Work.  

The 21th of June is dedicated to a workshop on the topic of Publishing and Mediatization. Symposium participants are very welcome to take part of this workshop. 

Registration

Symposium programme

Keynotes

Nicholas de Genova

Scholar of migration, borders, citizenship, race, and labor. De Genova's new edited book, The Borders of "Europe": Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering is in press with Duke University Press.

Elisabetta Costa

Anthropologist specialized in the study of media and digital media. She is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Journalism at the University of Groningen. She was Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology at UCL. Elisabetta Costa will present discoveries and insights from the WhyWePost project a global study on the consequences and impact of social media on people’s everyday life around the world. She will then introduce the results of her ethnographic research on the effects of social media in Mardin, a medium-sized town in southeast Turkey. The lecture will describe the social change brought by social media not as a linear and uniform process, but rather as the combination of contrasting transformations.

Dr. Astrida Neimanis

Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney (Australia). As Associate Editor of the journal Environmental Humanities (Duke UP), co-founder and Lead Group Member of The Seed Box, and co-coordinator of the COMPOSTING Research Group at the University of Sydney, she is committed to growing a next-generation field of environmental humanities that integrates its own feminist, queer, critical race, and indigenous roots. She has published, performed and collaborated widely on the themes of bodies, water, weather and other environmental matters. She is co-editor of Thinking with Water (2013), and her first monograph is Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017). Astrida Neimanis will present work currently undertaking under the auspices The Seed Box: A Mistra-FORMAS Environmental Humanities Collaboratory. It is also part of her larger research program into waters as "queer archives of feeling", funded in part by the University of Sydney and the Australian Academy of Humanities. The title of her talk is "Queer Times and Chemical Weapons in the Gotland Deep".

Keynote abstracts

Elisabetta Costa: WhyWePost project

Elisabetta Costa will present discoveries and insights from the WhyWePost project, a global study on the consequences and impact of social media on people’s everyday life around the world. She will then introduce the results of her ethnographic research on the effects of social media in Mardin, a medium-sized town in southeast Turkey. The lecture will describe the social change brought by social media not as a linear and uniform process, but rather as the combination of contrasting transformations.

Elisabetta Costa is an anthropologist specialized in the study of media and digital media. She is now Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Journalism at the University of Groningen. She was Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Anthropology at UCL.

Nicholas De Genova: Mobilizing Critique: Anthropology and Cultural Studies 

Confronting the “Crises” of Human Mobility

There has been an unrelenting proliferation of official discourses of “crisis” and “emergency” over the last several years, including but not at all restricted to the dominant discursive formation that has arisen from the confrontation between the sovereign powers of Europe and migrant and refugee movements across the borders of “Europe.” Since 2015, alarmist reactions to an ostensible “migrant” or “refugee crisis” in Europe have lent an unprecedented prominence to the veritable and undeniable autonomy of (transnational, cross-border) migrant and refugee mobilities, replete with their heterogeneity of insistent, disobedient, and incorrigible practices of appropriating mobility and making claims to space.  Interlaced with such hegemonic formations of “crisis,” countless real crises for the preservation and social reproduction of human life abound.  These human disasters themselves have been rendered apprehensible to varying extents within hegemonic discursive formations as irruptions of “humanitarian crisis.” Such “humanitarian crises” are not uncommonly produced as cynical spectacles of misery for the further authorization of political manipulations and military-securitarian interventions, even as they are derisively deployed to obfuscate other parallel human catastrophes altogether. Yet, even as we retain a critical perspective on the dominant spectacle of “crisis,” it remains necessary nonetheless to take seriously the dire lived circumstances of millions of people who reap the poisoned harvest of the multiple calamities of our global sociopolitical regime. How then should cultural studies, as an interdisciplinary field of inquiry – and more narrowly, the discipline of anthropology – inhabit the actuality of this plurality of crises? Moreover, how might the primacy, autonomy, and subjectivity of human mobility on a global (transnational, intercontinental, cross-border) scale instructively problematize our very sense of what is at stake intellectually and politically in the work of cultural critique? One key area of concern is the largely unexamined methodological sedentarism and the civic (if not identitarian) nativism that commonly plague the study of migration and refugee movements.

Nicholas De Genova has held academic appointments at King’s College London, Goldsmiths, Columbia and Stanford, as well as visiting professorships and research positions at the Universities of Chicago, Amsterdam, Bern, and Warwick.  He has published widely in the areas of migration, borders, race, and citizenship, including a new edited book on The Borders of “Europe”: Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering (August 2017, Duke University Press).

Astrida Neimanis: Queer Times and Chemical Weapons in the Gotland Deep

After World War II, major global powers engaged in massive dumping of several hundreds of thousands of tons of chemical warfare agents (CWA) such as mustard gas, tabun, and Lewisite in the planet’s oceans. One particular site for this dumping was the Gotland Deep, off the east coast of Sweden in the Baltic Sea. While the occasional resurfacing of these chemical agents (in fishers’ nets, on the snouts of seals, on white sandy beaches camouflaged as amber) is understandably distressing, the dominant (environmental, scientific) opinion has been to let these chemicals lie in situ; even if removal were simple or cost-effective (which it is not), any deliberate resurfacing would risk further contamination. In one sense, this approach keeps CWA in a state of suspension—that is, seemingly “out of time.” My argument, however, is quite the opposite. I invite us instead to consider how these CWA are not only time-makers, but operators of relation between different, seemingly incommensurable temporalities: the historical time of the militarisation of the Baltic, the latency of sulphur mustard, the rare if spectacular and urgent accounts of contamination and death, all alongside the slow suffocation of the sea by more insidious anthropogenic incursions. Drawing on feminist and queer theories of toxicity and time, my objective is to grapple with these palimpsestic temporalities, and rise to the challenge they present in attempting to story these matters and this place.

Dr. Astrida Neimanis is a Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney (Australia).  As Associate Editor of the journal Environmental Humanities (Duke UP), co-founder and Lead Group Member of The Seed Box, and co-coordinator of the COMPOSTING Research Group at the University of Sydney, she is committed to growing a next-generation field of environmental humanities that integrates its own feminist, queer, critical race, and indigenous roots. She has published, performed and collaborated widely on the themes of bodies, water, weather and other environmental matters. She is co-editor of Thinking with Water (2013), and her first monograph is Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017).

Astrida Neimanis will present work currently undertaking under the auspices The Seed Box: A Mistra-FORMAS Environmental Humanities Collaboratory. It is also part of my larger research program into waters as “queer archives of feeling,” funded in part by the University of Sydney and the Australian Academy of Humanities.

 

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