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A Feeling for Things: A Conversation around the work of Jane Bennett

Event Date: 5 October 2013
Room G16
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

The Department of Psychosocial Studies and Birkbeck Institute of Social Research, Birkbeck, University of London present:

A Feeling for Things: A Conversation around the work of Jane Bennett

The work of the political theorist Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore) over the last decade has consistently drawn attention to and had a feeling for things, for the inorganic, and for the agency or quasi-agency of nonhuman actants. Her project of developing a new political ecology and renewed vitalist thought beginning with Thoreau’s Nature: Ethics, Politics and the Wild, Modernity and Political Thought (1994) was further developed in The Enchantment of Modernity: Crossings, Energetics and Ethics (2001)and found its fullest expression in Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (2010) a book which has thoroughly reshaped the way in which we think about landscape, ecology, matter, vitality and the terrain of continental philosophy in a time of critical climate change.

This event makes the writing of Jane Bennett a vibrant matter for discussion across the fields of philosophy, psychosocial studies, political theory, cultural studies, literary theory, visual theory and performance studies among others. In particular, the focus will be on how Bennett’s explorations of vitalism, anthropocentrism, agency, biopolitics and new materialisms contribute to the emerging and fraught conversations between feminist and queer theory, Object Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism.

This workshop will discuss the intersections between Bennett’s political thought, OOO and feminist/queer theory featuring responses from Eileen Joy, João Florêncio, , Nigel Clark, Eszter Timár, Lisa Baraitser and Michael O’Rourke.

Panel 1: Chaired by Lynn Turner

Joao Florencio

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Lisa Baraitser

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accompanying images

Michael O’Rourke

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Panel 1 discussion

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Panel 2:  Chaired by Stuart Elden

Nigel Clark

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Eileen Joy

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Eszter Timár

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Panel 2 discussion

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Round Table Discussion (chaired by Sasha Roseneil) with:
Jane Bennett, Lisa Baraitser, Michael O’Rourke, Joao Florencio,
Eileen Joy, Nigel Clark, Eszter Timár, Stuart Elden.

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