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New Materialisms at the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences

COST WG2 Meeting and Workshop

14.09.2017 – 15.09.2017

Location: Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany

Convenors: Dagmar Lorenz-Meyer (Charles University Prague), Josef Barla (University of Vienna), Veit Braun (Rachel Carson Center)

This two-day workshop engages with new materialist concepts and practices and their potential for bridging the gap between the natural sciences and humanities. What might we learn from new approaches to matter for environmental questions and beyond? The workshop brings together scholars from around the world to exchange perspectives on and experiences with working with feminist new materialisms. Simultaneously, it is also the concluding meeting of working group 2 of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action “New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’”.

New materialism has recently gained popularity among a variety of disciplines from media studies to computer science to philosophy to biology. While the umbrella term “new materialism” obscures the diversity of approaches and ideas gathered under it, they all share a renewed interest in matter and materiality, seeking to rework old dualisms of subject and object or nature and culture. At the same time, new materialist scholars try to connect their insights to political questions that arise from the active and lively nature of matter. Drawing on insights and methods of feminist theory, science and technology studies, and postcolonial studies, the COST Network “New Materialism” seeks an engagement with matters of (in)justice and (im)possibilities of political action, raising attentiveness to responsiveness and responsibility for social and ecological issues in a more-than-human world.

The meeting will feature presentations by COST members and RCC scholars on the possibilities and challenges of engaging with a broad range of questions and issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from their own academic practice. Two interactive, hands-on workshops will introduce participants to new materialisms not just as a theoretical, but also a practical resource. Furthermore, a roundtable with junior and senior academics will provide a forum for intellectual exchange and commentary on working with new materialisms.

The workshop is open to anyone, a preliminary program can be found here. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to Veit Braun (veit.braun@rcc.lmu.de).