24th Annual Conference, May 11-14, 2023

How can we imagine life at the threshold of humanity? What resources can we harness to generate and implement new images of the future? An answer to these questions might lie in the past: in the very moment the origins of what we now call posthumanism emerged from various disciplines.

Our questions concerning the future of humanity pertain to both the conditions under which humans can survive and the limits of what is human. The cataclysmic effects of climate change, both already palpable and projected, along with the advent of the Anthropocene, have led to countless research projects in the sciences, humanities, and arts. Agents of Artificial Intelligence that paint, write poems, and answer questions in human voices; conceptions such as the cyborg; or theoretical approaches foregrounding non-human actors demonstrate the fact that the human is bordering something else that might surpass it. The end of history might have already been proclaimed, but this definitely is the time of the (theoretical) end of the human.

The goal of the conference is to gather the various strands that have created, roughly a century before its designation, the conditions for contemporary discourse on the posthuman; to investigate their narrative and imaginative potentials; and to reconceptualize our understanding of humans in the world on the basis of these findings. If our contemporary imaginations are bleak, the outlook on the future relies not only on recognition and implementation of scientific progress, but also an encompassing understanding of the human at the threshold of humanity.

Annual Topic 2022/23: Origins of Posthumanism Around 1900

Venue: Harvard University, Barker Center, 12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Sponsored by the FAS Provostial Fund and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History (LBIDH)

Program 

05/10 

06pm Welcome Dinner (The Maharaja) 

05/11

09–03 Barker Center, Thompson Room 

03–08 Barker Center, Plimpton Room 

09.00   Breakfast (Tatte delivery)

09.30   Klaus Müller-Richter, Daniela Schmeiser (Tübingen): »Posthumane Tropen«

10.30   Break

11.00   Tres Lambert (Gettysburg): »Hofmannsthal’s Things«; Elaine Chen, Therese Shire (Harvard): »(Dis-)Embodiment of a Mortal Critter«

12.30   Lunch (Bazaar) 

01.30   Conference Planning, Jahrestagung 2024

03.00   Cara Tovey (UCLA): Teaching Workshop (Plimpton Room)

05.00   Museum Tour

06.30   Dinner (Life Alive delivery) 

05/12

09–08 Barker Center, Thompson Room 

09.00   Breakfast (Flour delivery)

09.30   Julian Klinner, Patrick Sorg (Tübingen): »Hauser – Kapp – Laßwitz«; Bastian Lasse, Christian Struck (Harvard): »Catching Lightning in a Bottle«

11.00   Break 

11.30   Joachim Schätz, Marie-Noelle Yazdanpanah (Wien): »Friede mit der Großstadt«; Ingo Zechner (Wien): »Der posthumane Blick« 

01.00   Lunch (Clover)

02.00   Tatjana Zimbelius-Klem (Chapel Hill): »Der künsterlische Akt als transhumanes Moment«; Gabriel Trop (Chapel Hill): »Restless Being: Thoughts on Schoenberg’s Die glückliche Hand«

03.30   Break 

04.00   Excursion (Boston Your Posthumanism)

07.00   Dinner (Otto’s delivery) 

05/13

09–03 Barker Center, Thompson Room

03–08 Barker Center, Plimpton Room 

09.00   Breakfast (Black Sheep delivery (?)) 

09.30   Kristin Kopp (Missouri): »Race and the Machine« 

11.00   Break 

11.30   Elise Volkmann, Fay Yorwit, Sean Lambert (Berkeley): »Making Environment Visible«

01.00   Lunch (Sweetgreen)

03.00   Discussion Fuhrmann (Plimpton Room)

04.00   Break 

04.30   Final Discussion, Future Plans, etc. (cont’d at dinner)

06.00   Dinner (Homemade meal at Rob McFarland‘s house?) 

05/14

10am   Brunch (place tbc / Barker Center, Thompson Room)

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