Embodying Contagion Coming April 2021 in Open Access

Back in May I wrote that I was working on the final manuscript for an edited collection called Embodying Contagion, co-edited with Sandra Becker and Sara Polak. Now, I am excited to announce that the collection is available for preorder with University of Wales Press, and will be coming to a bookstore or library near you in April 2021. The book will be released in paperback (retailing at £45), but most importantly it will also be coming out in Open Access, thanks to a generous grant from the Dutch NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities.

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Beyond Borders: Virtual Realities and the Future of Conferencing

Image from the 2020 LSFRC conference programme, © Sinjin Li

I’ve been involved in so many online activities since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020 that I’ve lost count. There have been supervisions and meetings and hangouts, trainings and gaming sessions and seminars. Screenings, symposia, and workshops. And of course teaching.

There have also been conferences, continuing unabated across a huge variety of formats and platforms. Tomorrow I’ll be logging into Blackboard Collaborate to attend the 2nd International e-Conference on Translation, which has a focus on linguistic minorities and will have both live and prerecorded presentations. Last week I took part in the CHEP Learning and Teaching Festival (of a similar format) and the Intermedial Eighteenth Century conference, which was mostly asynchronous on forums and Vimeo. Before that came the Pratchett Project and the London Science Fiction Research Community, all synchronous on Blackboard Collaborate (but with some sessions recorded for posterity). And way back in June I presented at the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies, where all talks were prerecorded, and delegates got together on the day for discussion and questions via Zoom.

I’m also a (guilty?) contributor to this surfeit of stuff online, organising a Mobilities symposium on MS Teams over the summer. This November I’m hoping to coordinate a series of online events for the UK’s annual Being Human festival.

Online conferences were already a hot topic of conversation in academia. We’ve begun to seriously consider the environmental impact of international conferences, not to mention the fact that such events are increasingly a privilege reserved for those with a stable income and institutional travel budgets. But COVID-19 has shifted these conversations into high gear. I guess the question on most people’s minds is whether the virtual realm is the future of conferencing. And if so, what works best?

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Transnationalism in the Long Nineteenth Century (CfP)

The following is a call for presenters at the Romance, Revolution and Reform journal’s Virtual Conference, 13th January 2021. Please do consider submitting an abstract! You can visit their website for more information. 

The Long Nineteenth Century saw immense changes in transport, travel, infrastructure, technology, exploration, journalism, and politics that dramatically transformed the ways in which places and people around the world were connected. Steam trains and telegraph cables, photography and newspapers made the world a smaller, more connected place for some, and alienated others. Yet these technological advancements, and the transnational networks they facilitated, are often viewed from a Euro-centric perspective.

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Lockdown Larder

Designed by Winchester School of Art PhD researchers Lesia Tkacz and Noriko Suzuki-Bosco, the Lockdown Larder began as ‘a fun, casual, and collective project for us all to share and document a snapshot of our lives during lockdown’. Contributors were invited ‘to respond or comment to the new situation we find ourselves in through the food that we eat, repeat, long for, make do with, find comfort in, speculate about, or have come to loathe’.

Now, over a dozen recipes have been assembled into a PDF cookbook, available here.

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Black Lives Matter: Race, Imperialism, and Victorian Studies (BAVS Annual Symposium)

Sara Forbes Bonetta. Brighton, 1862. Photograph: Paul Frecker collection/Library of 19th-Century Photography

This event has been reposted from The Victorianist (the official blog of BAVS PGs). Follow them for the latest news, grants, and events in Victorian Studies.

BAVS Annual Symposium, Tuesday 21 July 2020, 2-6pm (14:00-18:00 BST)

Organised by members of the BAVS executive committee, this online symposium aims to respond to recent Black Lives Matter events, Victorian studies, and questions of race and colonialism in nineteenth-century studies. We aim to utilise this symposium to launch BAVS initiatives that are in process in light of discussions relating to BLM, and in acknowledgement of the problematic role played by Victorian history, art history, and literature in contemporary discourses of race.

This is a free event. Please register here: https://bavsblm.eventbrite.com

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Posthumanism in Practice (CfP)

Readers of this blog are warmly encouraged to consider submitting an abstract to this edited collection, which is seeking chapters by artists and makers, as well as scholars of all backgrounds. I have worked with both the collection editors (Matthew Hayler and Christine Daigle) and the series editors (Matthew Hayler and Danielle Sands) in relation to my work with the Critical Posthumanism Network, and highly recommend the experience!

“It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas.” This claim by Marilyn Strathem is quoted and given many variations in Donna Haraway’s Staying With the Trouble (2016). Ideas are assemblages that emerge from the various entanglements in which we exist and that constantly shape what we are and can be. Ideas spring from the dynamic material engagments humans have with one another and with the other beings and objects in our worlds. Therefore, our manner of engaging, the very practices we adopt to think, feel, experience, and theorise our entanglements, matter a great deal. As Karen Barad famously posited, “knowing does not come from standing at a distance and representing but rather from a direct material engagement with the world” (2007, 49): the ways in which we engage determine our knowing.

Critical posthumanism seeks to challenge contemporary anthropocentric and Humanist worldviews, and to establish new ways to conceive of ourselves and the environments and relationships in which we arc enmeshed. It has become clear that new thoughts and actions are needed as posthumanism demonstrates its usefulness. For this to be possible, we need to engage in thinking differently, shaking off old habits, embracing new methodologies, and rediscovering, or listening for the first time, to what has come before, or is going on right now, in other disciplines, cultures, and the actions of humans and non-humans. Putting posthumanism into practice, in short, demands exploratory, attentive, and speculative ventures that may, as yet, be unconventional in an academic setting, but generate new ideas and ways of acting. Posthumanism in practice also seeks to create ways and objects of knowing co-produced across the arts, humanities, and sciences, across sectors, disciplines, practitioners, and species. It asks: how is your practice, whatever your field of activity, transformed when enlivened by posthumanist ideas?

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Mobilities: MA in Global Media Management Annual Symposium

Today marks the sixth annual GMM symposium, an attempt to foster critical exchange between students, staff and external speakers and attendants at Winchester School of Art. This year’s symposium is taking place entirely online, through a series of Microsoft Teams webcasts and breakout groups. Fittingly our theme is ‘Mobilities’, looking at the ways technology, location, embodiment, and … Read more

(CfP) We are all Monsters/We are all Saints: Haunted Migrations and LatIndigenous Ghost Story

You still have two weeks to send in an abstract for this fantastic-looking edited collection, under contract with the new University Press of Mississippi’s Horror and Monstrosity Studies Series. The collection is edited by Dr Shantel Martinez.

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Artist Talk with David Blandy (16 June 2020)

How to Fly (2020)

On Tuesday, 16 June 2020 I’ll be talking with British artist David Blandy about his newest work, two specially commissioned videos (How to Fly and How to Live). This online event is hosted by Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery, and I’ll be joined by Jussi Parikka, who is leading and moderating the discussion.

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Testimonials from Online Teaching

Over the next few weeks the teaching team for the MA in Global Media Management will be sharing short testimonials on our blog, with some loose impressions and images of what it’s been like to teach online during the COVID-19 lockdown. These will appear every Wednesday and Friday—you can find mine below: “The last few … Read more