Subtitle: Violence, Aesthetics and
Scholarship after the Human
Type: UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate
Institution: Comparative Literature, University of
California Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles, CA (USA)
term inhumanity is most often evoked as a moral condemnation, marking and
redeeming the human. In contemporary global politics, inhumanities are acts of
violence and brutality expelled from humanity's realm, demanding and justifying
And yet, the human/inhuman divide is itself marked
by violence; a history of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, and war have shown
how definitions of the human and of humanism, be they conceptual, juridical or
aesthetic, have underlined and participated in brutal forms of dehumanization.
Today, emergent technologies of necropolitics continue to render entire
In scholarship of the past decades, anti-humanist
deconstruction, manifest for example in Lyotard’s reclamation of the inhuman,
has given way to post-humanist accounts of new forms of creative evolution,
refusing to keep various species of organisms, technologies and matters apart,
constructing new ontologies of ethical thinking beyond or apart from the human,
and provoking the emergence of figures such as the cyborg, the homo sacer, the
negated or affective subject, the planetary creature, ephemeral specters and
vibrant matter, among others. Theory after the human often turns to biological
and technological discourses, taking place conspicuously at the same moment as
an institutional divestment of the Humanities.
At this time of
disciplinary transition, this conference seeks to question the political and
aesthetic currencies of various theories of the inhuman. We wish to reflect on
inhumanities as conceptual, figurative, temporal, geo-political, or juridical
moments in which the human is marked as an absence, suspended or negated, and at
the same time, to consider the human’s persistence and resistance to these
We invite graduate students to submit abstracts of 250-350
words that engage with these and related issues from a broad range of approaches
and theoretical lines of inquiry, through literary analysis, critical theory and
philosophy, film and performance studies, anthropology, history, and others.
Papers may address, but are by no means limited to, the following
- What political, philosophical or aesthetic orders are deemed
inhuman? What happens when they are described as such?
- Is there
aesthetics of inhumanity? How is inhumanity represented in art, literature,
cinema, music, popular culture?
- How is the inhuman commensurate with
the animal, the monster, the barbarian, the bureaucratic institution, or the
- What is the status of humanism today? How do early non-Western
humanist traditions, or the critical, anti-colonial humanisms of the last
century, speak to contemporary debates on humanism and post-humanism?
Is there a relation between violence and the constitution of the human? Could
rethinking the human-inhuman divide point towards a horizon of nonviolent ethics
or a new ontology of the subject?
- What would the post-Humanities look
like institutionally and intellectually? How will they reflect the changes in
the human/inhuman landscape?
Abstracts of 250-350 words and a CV are due
by Friday, November 30, 2012.
Please email submissions to:
Comparative Literature Department
University of California Los
350 Humanities Building
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA