Found online: Call for Papers for Humanity and Animality conference

I came across this CFP and thought some of our group members might be interested in this conference:

Call for papers:

University College London (UCL)
Joint Faculty Institute of Graduate Studies


15 September, 2014

This interdisciplinary conference takes up an important debate in a field of growing importance in the humanities, where animal studies, post-humanism, and eco-criticism have surged in recent years. The definition of mankind seems necessarily to pass through an understanding of what constitutes the animal. Philosophically, what distinguishes, or indeed brings together humanity and animality has been the subject of debate from Aristotle’s understanding of man as ‘zôon logon echon’ and from Kant’s view of man’s treatment of animals as an insight into the true nature of humankind, Derrida’s seminars on ‘the beast and the sovereign’, up to Agamben’s recent theory of ‘bare life’ as the breakdown of the barrier between man and animal. Artists, authors and filmmakers, such as Kafka, Dalí, Borges, Coetzee, Primo Levi, Margaret Atwood, Karl Appel, Paula Rego, Werner Herzog (‘Grizzly Man’), and Benh Zeitlin (‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’) to name but a few, have also grappled with the significance of the divide or symbiosis of humanity and animality. Donna Haraway, Rosi Braidotti and Andrew Benjamin are also redefining ways in which humanity and animality can be thought together, or apart. The violent upheavals of the 20th century, with its global wars, unprecedented genocides and totalitarian experiments led to a re-evaluation of notions such as humanism and humanity, which has made way for new hopes and anxieties relating to the subhuman and the post-human. By hosting a varied programme of papers and debates chaired by high-profile contributors to this emerging field of inquiry, this conference aims to establish a forum for researchers throughout the UK to discuss this important theoretical issue.

Topics of discussion may include but are not limited to the following questions/topics:

Is it possible, or even desirable to distinguish between animality and humanity?
In which ways does the dialectic of ‘human’ and ‘animal’ shape our identities, culture and morality?
Why is the comparison with animal world so important for our culture?
Shame, pride, sorrow, fear, anxiety, fascination, awe: how do emotions acknowledge the relation between humanity and animality?
How do literature, art, evolutionary theory, philosophy and other disciplines negotiate the changes undergone by the concept of the ‘human’ in the last century?
How have our perceptions of ‘humanity’ and ‘animality’ changed in relation to violent and extreme events such as genocide, widespread atrocity, world war etc.?
Are we really a Darwinian species, or do technology, morality and creativity separate us
from the rest of the natural evolution?
How can we rethink the binary opposition between humanity and inhumanity?
Have we entered into a post-human era?
Evolutionary theory and the human condition, Human-Animal studies
Humanity and Animality in Art, Literature, Science, Philosophy, Cinema, Religion, etc. What does the persistence of the fascination with animals suggest about specific cultural and historical moments?

Deadline for Abstracts:

Please send an abstract (300 words maximum) and a short biography (50 words maximum) to s.bellin.12 AT by August 1st, 2014.


About beingnonhuman

Being Non/Human is an interdisciplinary discussion group aimed at postgraduates and early career researchers. The group was set up and is run by Sophia Wilson and Lydia Zeldenrust. Our group is funded by the English departments of King’s College London and Queen Mary, University of London. View all posts by beingnonhuman

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