Calendar of Events

Spring 2014

February 20-22, 2014
Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference 2014
2014 Theme: Animacy
Curtin 175

MIGC Poster 1                    MIGC Poster 2

Papers delivered at the 2014 Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) will all engage with the idea of ANIMACY in culture and theory. Derived from linguistics, “animacy” is the condition of being alive or animate, and serves in grammar as a way to classify or rank words on this basis (OED). Yet the rich and overlapping senses of “animacy”—e.g., animate, animation, animus, and animal—reveal the term to more broadly encompass notions of agency, expressivity, sentience, cognizance, and mobility.

These notions are often categorized hierarchically, and are saturated with social, cultural, and political implications. Animacy is being increasingly invoked in contemporary discourses of posthumanist and nonhumanist theory, critical ethnic studies, affect theory, object-oriented ontology, queer theory, disability studies, animal studies, eco-criticism, etc. Animacy is a way of troubling the binary of animate vs. inanimate, and instead suggests a more complex system of inter-relatedness between things.

As theorist Mel Y. Chen (Gender and Women's Studies, UC-Berkeley) observes in her book, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke, 2012), the “fragile division between animate and inanimate—that is, beyond human and animal—is relentlessly produced and policed.” The MIGC 2014 conference then seeks to expose the complex political, social, even personal consequences of this division. How do issues of race, ability, sex, class, or age further test the boundaries of the human? What happens when the categorizations of human, animal, and object are no longer cleanly distinct from one another? As Chen’s book asks, How does matter that is considered immobile, insensate, or deathly, animate our cultural lives?

Keynote Speaker: Mel Y. Chen
Temporal Politics, Scholarship, and the Protean "Posthuman"
Friday, February 21
3:30 pm Curtin 175

MIGC 2014 Program

MIGC 2014 Poster 1 (PDF)
MIGC 2014 Poster 2 (PDF)

MIGC website

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