Volume 2, Issue 1: The Animal Turn
- Introduction: Moving Forward, Kicking Back: The Animal Turn
Cary Wolfe, Rice University
- Legible Skins: Animal and the Ethics of Medieval Reading
Sarah Kay, Princeton University
- Aesop’s Symposium of Animal Tongues
Peter W. Travis, Dartmouth College
- ‘A Stede Gode and Lel’: Valuing Arondel in Bevis of Hampton
Gary Lim, The Graduate Center, CUNY
- Chivalry and the Pre / Postmodern
Susan Crane, Columbia University
- Editors’ Epilogue: The Animal Turn
Karl Steel, Brooklyn College, CUNY and Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan
- Book Review Essay: Posthuman Theory and the Premodern Animal Sign
Sarah Stanbury, College of the Holy Cross
The Graduate Center, CUNY
16 September 2011
Co-sponsored by: BABEL Working Group, Petropunk Collective, and the Doctoral Program in English and Medieval Studies Certificate Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY
experiments [conference schedule now available]
Anna Klosowska [Miami University of Ohio], “Aristotelean Aesthetics, East and West”
Allan Mitchell [University of Victoria], “Cosmic Eggs, or, Events Before Everything”
Kellie Robertson [University of Wisconsin-Madison], “Abusing Aristotle, from Phyllis to Graham Harman”
Drew Daniel [Johns Hopkins University + Matmos], Response to Kellie Robertson
Julian Yates [University of Delaware], “Kitchen Shakespeare”
Liza Blake [New York University], Response to Julian Yates
Jeffrey Cohen [George Washington University + In The Middle], “Sublunary”
Ben Woodard [Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, University of Western Ontario + Naught Thought], Response to Jeffrey Cohen
Graham Harman [American University in Cairo + Object-Oriented Philosophy], “Aristotle With a Twist”
Patricia Clough [Queens College, CUNY], Response to Graham Harman
for the precis of the project, plus the program and audiofiles for Speculative Medievalisms I [held at King's College London in Jan. 2011], go HERE
And here are details on the week-plus of “Speculative September NYC” (Speculative Realist- and Object Oriented Ontology-related) events starting on September 8.
punctum books is an open-access and print-on-demand independent publisher dedicated to radically creative modes of intellectual inquiry and writing across a whimsical para-humanities assemblage. We specialize in neo-traditional and non-conventional scholarly work that productively twists and/or ignores academic norms, with an emphasis on books that fall length-wise between the article and the monograph—id est, novellas, in one sense or another. This is a space for the imp-orphans of your thought and pen, an ale-serving church for little vagabonds.
Dark Chaucer: An Assortment, ed. Eileen Joy and Nicola Masciandaro
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects, ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen
On an Ungrounded Earth, by Ben Woodard
Leper Creativity: A Cyclonopedia Symposium, ed. Ed Keller, Nicola Masciandaro, and Eugene Thacker
Queering Speculative Realism, by Michael O’Rourke
Wlite: i englisc boc be missenlicum þingum wrætlicum, Vol. 1, trans. Daniel Remein
Thomas Meyer’s Beowulf, ed. David Hadbawnik
thN Lng folk 2go, by The Confraternity of Neoflagellants
Speculative Medievalisms: A Laboratory-Atelier
14 January 2011
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
King’s College London
Co-Conspirators: BABEL Working Group, Urbanomic, Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies (King’s College London), and the Petropunk Collective (Eileen Joy, Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro, and Michael O’Rourke)
Kathleen Biddick, History, Temple University
Anthony Paul Smith, Theology & Religious Studies, University of Nottingham
Eugene Thacker, New Media, The New School
So the medieval studies I am thrown into is a gravely levitating scholarly being, the lovely becoming light of weight in all senses: metaphoric, literal, and above all in the truest most palpable sense of the phenomenal poetic zones of indistinction between the two. This means, in tune with the Heraclitan oneness of the way up and the way down, not flight from but the very lightening of gravitas itself, the finding or falling into levitas through the triple gravities of the discipline: the weight of the medieval (texts, past), the weight of each other (society, institutions), and the weight of ourselves (body, present). Towards this end I offer no precepts or to-do list, only an indication of the wisdom and necessity of doing so, of practicing our highest pleasures, in unknowing of the division between poetry as knowledge and philosophy as joy, in opposition to the separation between thought and life that best expresses “the omnipresence of the economy,” and in harmony with the volitional imperative of Nietzsche’s “new gravity: the eternal recurrence of the same”: “Do you want this again and innumerable times again?” This Middle Ages? This medievalist?
—Nicola Masciandaro, “Grave Levitation: Being Scholarly”
Speculative Medievalisms is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research project focusing on the theorization and practical development of the speculative dimensions of medieval studies. The term “speculative” is intended to resonate with the full range of its medieval and modern meanings. First, speculative echoes the broad array of specifically medieval senses of speculatio as the essentially reflective and imaginative operations of the intellect. According to this conception, the world, books, and mind itself were all conceived as specula (mirrors) through which the hermeneutic gaze could gain access to what lies beyond them. As Giorgio Agamben explains, “To know is to bend over a mirror where the world is reflected, to descry images reflected from sphere to sphere: the medieval man was always before a mirror, both when he looked around himself and when he surrendered to his own imagination.” Read more
Volume 1, Issue 3:
Critical Exchanges: ‘Bruce Holsinger’s The Premodern Condition’ / ‘The State(s) of Early English Studies’
This issue features two clusters of essays.
Bruce Holsinger’s critically lauded 2005 book The Premodern Condition: Medievalism and the Making of Theory presented an elegant excavation of the medieval influences undergirding the work of some of the most brilliant thinkers of the postwar French intelligentsia, elaborating the ‘medievalisms’ that are so deeply constitutive of modern theory. In the first critical exchange, Louise D’Arcens, Claire Monagle and Stephanie Trigg, three scholars who work, from various angles, in medievalism and medieval cultural studies, discuss The Premodern Condition, with a response from Bruce Holsinger.
‘The State(s) of Early English Studies’ forms a series of dispatches from some of the ‘fronts’ of Old English and Anglo Saxon Studies, asking how we might sketch out some of the futures (with an emphasis on the plural) of an early English studies that is not (and never really was) a realm apart from either later periods within literary-historical studies or from contemporary life and thought. ‘The States(s) of Early English Studies’ is collaboration with The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, and the remaining essays in the cluster can be read free online in that journal.
1st Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group
“after the end: the humanities, medieval studies, and the post-catastrophe”
4-6 November 2010
University of Texas at Austin*
[for information on how to register, where to stay, how to get around, where to eat, etc., go HERE]
Abandoned Mining Town (Kolmanskop, Namibia)
*all images in program are from artificial owl: the most fascinating abandoned man-made creations
Thursday, November 4th
REGISTRATION: 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
AT&T Center @ Amphitheater
* * * * *
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Session 1. Technologies of Narration
Organizer: Scott Garbacz, University of Texas at Austin
Chair: Scott Garbacz
“Technologies bombard human beings with a ceaseless offer of previously unheard-of positions — engagements, suggestions, allowances, interdictions, habits, positions, alienations, prescriptions, calculations, memories. Generalizing the notion of affordance, we could say that the quasi-subjects which we all are become such thanks to the quasi-objects which populate our universe with minor ghostly beings similar to us and whose programmes of action we may or may not adopt.” –Bruno Latour, “Morality and Technology: The End of the Means”
It has long been recognized that reading acts and processes are both culturally produced and culturally productive. Yet as we move further into the 21st Century, “New Media” technologies are changing the array of possibilities for storytelling — and in the process, as Latour points out, violently reshaping the array of (now clearly interdependent and non-rational) subject positions available. Modes ranging from blogs to guerilla marketing to ratings-driven television to massively multiplayer video games are taking on new cultural prominence, challenging the previous dominance of the printed word (the prime constitutive technology of the so-called “modern” period, driving productions ranging from Shakespeare’s sonnets to Joyce’sUlysses). As we consider life and consciousness “after the end” of print culture’s methodologies and verities, it is worthwhile also to consider pre-modern technologies of cognition and visual imagination, whose explicit intertextuality and alien cultural matrix may shed new light on potentialities for the intersection of narrative and consciousness. Read more
1st Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group
after the end: medieval studies, the humanities, and the post-catastrophe
4-6 November 2010
University of Texas at Austin
That a major shift in the role and function of the intellectual is occurring is clear. What it will have come to have meant is an issue upon which those in the University should attempt to have an impact. An attention to this problematic is necessary. How we pay attention to it is not determined. Therein lies the freedom and the enormous responsibility of Thought at the end of the twentieth century, which is also the end of what has been the epoch of the nation-state. (Bill Readings, The University in Ruins)
One thinks in the Humanities the irreducibility of their outside and of their future. One thinks in the Humanities that one cannot and must not let oneself be enclosed within the inside of the Humanities. But for this thinking to be strong and consistent requires the Humanities. (Jacques Derrida, “The University Without Condition”)
This conference will bring together medievalists with scholars and theorists working in later periods in the humanities in order to collectively take up the broad question of what happens “after the end,” by which we mean after the end of the affair, the end of the world, and everything in between. After gender, sex, love, the family, the nation-state, the body, the human, language, truth, feeling, reason, ethics, modernity, politics, religion, God, the nation-state, secularism, liberalism, the humanities, the university, teleology, progress, history, historicism, narrative, meaning, the individual, singularity, theory, practice, what else is there? Here, we mean to hopefully inspire a set of discussions and debates relative to the “post” of the subjects we study within (and beyond) the humanities: can we really ever be “after” anything, and if so, in what (productive and/or perilous) ways, and what next? We are also interested in cultivating some ruminations upon Teresa de Lauretis’s call in 2o03 at the symposium organized by Critical Inquiry, that
now may be a time for the human sciences to reopen the questions of subjectivity, materiality, discusivity, knowledge, to reflect on the post of posthumanity. It is a time to break the piggy bank of saved conceptual schemata and reinstall uncertainty in all theoretical applications, starting with the primacy of the cultural and its many “turns”: linguistic, discursive, performative, therapeutic, ethical, you name it. . . . Perhaps there can be no survival without the gnawing, dull pain of betrayal. Perhaps only betrayal leads to the apprehension of otherness and another cognition of the now. But do not ask me how or what, not yet.
Further, for medievalists especially, but also for modernists, can we really ever be “after history” or “post-historical,” and if so, what would now count as the Real of our studies; if not, in what ways do history and historicism still matter? Read more
Fragments Toward a History of a Vanishing Humanism
Editors: Eileen A. Joy and Myra J. Seaman
. . . as scholars and teachers we believe we are right to call what we do “humanistic” and what we teach “the humanities.” Are these still serviceable phrases, and if so in what way? How then may we view humanism as an activity in light of its past and probable future?
For a long while now, there has been a significant turn both to and beyond “the human” (or, the liberal humanist subject) in aesthetic, historical, philosophical, sociological, and more scientific studies—a turn, moreover, which is also often accompanied by a nod to post-histoire, or the “end of history.” This poses a great challenge to those concerned with the future of humanistic letters and education, especially when, as the philosopher of religion John Caputo has written, “one has lost one’s faith in grand récits,” and “being, presence, ouisa, the transcendental signified, History, Man—the list goes on—have all become dreams.” Read more
Volume 1, Issues 1-2: When Did We Become Post/human?
This issue is designed as a dialogue with Katherine Hayles’s 1999 book How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, and features medieval and early modern approaches to the question of the historicity of the post/human as an intellectual, social, cultural, philosophical, and scientific category of thought as well as a state of material reality. The issue also seeks to demonstrate that contemporary discourses on the post/human raise a host of troubling questions relative to issues of embodiment, subjectivity, cognition, sociality, sexuality, spirituality, self-determination, collectivization, expression, representation, well-being, ethics, governance, technology, and the like for which pre- and early modern history and culture provide important resources for critical reflection. The issue features Katherine Hayles, Andy Mousley, and Kate Soper as Respondents.