Alterlife Four Campus Seminar

shiptracks_tmo_2008195We are excited for the TRU to be part of the  Alterlife, Conditions, Aftermaths graduate seminar, a collaboration across four universities: University of Toronto, UC Davis, University of Chicago, and UC Berkeley.  The course is inspired by the Engineered Worlds Conference held in October of 2015, and organized by Joseph Masco in collaboration with Tim Choy,  Jake Kosek, and Michelle Murphy.  The seminar is bringing graduate students together from History, Feminist Studies, Anthropology, Geography, and Science and Technology Studies for a semester long experiment in thinking about how to study, historicize, and theorize life forms that have been materially altered by the entangled histories of capitalism, militarism, racism, and colonialism. We will be collaboratively building concepts to wrestle with the ways life forms that have been altered by pesticides, PCBs, and radioactive isotopes, and other manifestations of technoscientific violence, including life forms that are industrially produced, or resistant to antibiotics, or that must breathe in capitalism’s atmospheres in order to live. We gather these forms of life altered under the figure of what Michelle Murphy calls, “alterlife,” posing the following questions: What forms of alterlife now inhabit our planet? How to name and study the conditions of emergence and possibility of post-nature life — from atmospheres to infrastructures. What conditions their formation as such? And how might we theorize and act for futures beginning from positions of living in the (ongoing) aftermath? The aim is to explore together  a set of  concepts, critical theories, and methods that might  grapple with the fallout of radically altered environmental conditions. and to compose critical theoretical itineraries and genealogies that might help to rethink the political, conceptual, and historical frameworks for understanding life and its conditions.  We hope that the seminar will inspire future and ongoing collaborations.