Konferenz in Warschau 2014

International conference ANIMALS AND THEIR PEOPLE

This is an invitation for a conference and an art exhibition “Animals and Their People” within a project “The Importance of Animal Studies for Culture Studies in Poland”.

International Academic Conference

Animals and Their People. The Fall of the Anthropocentric Paradigm?

12-14 March 2014
Warsaw (Warszawa), Poland

Organizer of the conference:
The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Science

The Conference is funded from the grant of:
National Science Centre

Conference partners are:
Le Centre de civilisation française et d’études francophones (CCFEF) de l’Université de Varsovie
Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University of Warsaw

Exhibition partner is:
Salon Akademii Gallery, The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

Animals and Society Institute
Institute for Critical Animal Studies

In the recent years an interest in the animal studies has been growing, especially its various impactive contexts for contemporary culture studies. The conference “Animals and their people” answers the needs, that has just been starting in Poland and Central Eastern Europe countries, to analyse these transformations in the broader, non-anthropocentric perspective of culture transitions, focusing on philosophical, literary texts, artworks in their reference to actual animal problems. We have a lot more culture texts that pose the question of the animal and ask about human-animal relations anew; they need to be analysed and interpreted from animals studies perspective. Animal studies approach enables also looking at older cultures, literatures, artworks, philosophy, and social attitudes before animal studies has constituted themselves as interdisciplinary field of research and independent critical theory, finding its path in academic institutions.

At the conference we would like to raise such issues as the status of the animal and relations between human and non-human animals as a part of deeper culture transformations. It is important for us that animals are not only subjects or motifs, rather motives, so in creating a theory or thinking conceptually we would like to remember about real animals, their situation in the world now and in the past. This is one of the reasons why the ethical context is not only difficult to avoid but crucial for animal studies. The conference is interdisciplinary, however, what we find especially missing are analyses, theories, and interpretations in humanities, particularly those referring to art and literature seen from philosophical and social points.

We would like, then, to ponder upon changes that are visible in culture in relation to animals, and simultaneously, reflect on the sole issue of a discipline that animal studies create: its specificity and its perspectives; if and how we can speak of the fall of anthropocentric paradigm.

We propose to reflect on the following issues:

Animal studies in culture studies:

– Posthumanism or non-anthropocentric humanism?

– Animal studies as a new research field and its impact on the literary and art theory and criticism

– Antispeciesism and its meaning for culture critique

– The question of the animal and the rhetoric of animality: functionality of the animal terms in the discourse

– Environmental criticism (ecocriticism, environmental studies) toward culture phenomena and human relations with animals

– Zoography, zoontology, biopoetics, anthroparchy, and other notions or a new research perspective?

– Critical animal studies

The change of animal status:

– Animals as subjects: animal agents, nonhuman actors – animal creation and participation in culture

– Presenting and representing animals; new ways in depicting and perceiving nonhuman creatures

– Bio art in the light of bioethics and biopolitics

– Animal rights, biopolitics, democracy of species – culture and politics

– Animal gaze. Observing animals and changes in the way they present themselves

Human and non-human animal relations:

– Dialectics of experience and text in relating to animals

– The problem of the human-animal border: transgressing duality, overcoming oppositions

– Philosophers and animals: animals in philosophical reflection

– Poets and animals: animals in literature

– Animal rights in art and literature

– A man in the face of animal suffering and death. An animal toward suffering and death

– Interspecies attempts to get closer. A bodily and psychic contact in human and nonhuman animals relation

– Humans‘ animal spaces: zoo, circus, kennel, laboratory, slaughterhouse, farm, house

– Meat in culture, meat and its connotations, meat affirmation and masculinity

– The place of animals in the ecofeminist stands

– The concept of animal holocaust – its understanding and illustrations

We would like to invite representatives from different research fields to discuss initiated issues or find their own approach, especially those that correspond with our project aims. The project on “The importance of animal studies for culture studies in Poland” is aimed at developing animal studies in Poland and in the whole region of Central Eastern Europe, especially in culture studies, but also integrating Polish and foreign academic circles and researchers engaged in animal studies. The conference is focused on introducing Polish academics to works and achievements of scholars from Western Europe where animal studies are far more developed and they function on the academy. We would also like to interest foreign researchers with our work, theories and culture texts, mainly from literature and art.

We express ourselves in language that is especially important for humanities. It is meaningful when we study culture texts: literary and poetic. Animal studies have developed in English-speaking culture, and English is also an international language, although anglocentrism of most events connected with animal studies seem to us limiting the idea to spread it into the world, to such countries as Poland and other CEU countries. Thus, we are planning to have bilingual conference, simultaneously translated. The main conference languages will be English and Polish, but we would also translate French plenary speakers into Polish and English.

Among invited speakers to the conference who confirmed their appearance and presentations are:

Prof. Jerzy Axer (University of Warsaw), a classical scholar, dean of Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University, founder of Interdepartmental Individual Studies in the Humanities and Collegium Artes Liberales, in his field of research are: the role of animals in the history of spectacle, and field experience in documenting guenons and baboons relations with people.

Prof. Steve Baker (University of Central Lancashire), an art historian, art critic and theoretician of art in animal studies perspective, artist, author of numerous books on animals in contemporary art. He has published recently Artist Animal.

Prof. Monika Bakke (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), a philosopher, theoretician interested in posthumanism and bio-art, the author of many texts about animals from philosophical, ethical and biotechnological perspective. She has published recently Bio-transfiguracje. Sztuka i estetyka posthumanizmu [Biotransfigurations. The art and aesthetics of posthumanism].

Prof. Przemysław Czapliński (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), a literary critic, interested in contemporary literature, one of his book is Polska do wymiany: Późna nowoczesność i nasze wielkie narracje [Poland for exchange: late modernity and our big narrations].

Prof. Izabela Kowalczyk (Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa, Poznań), an art historian, art critic, culture and feminism theoretician, specialised in Polish critical art. She has published recently Podróż do przeszłości. Interpretacje najnowszej historii w polskiej sztuce krytycznej [Journey to the past. The newest history in Polish critical art: interpretations], interested in posthumanism threads in art.

Prof. Dominique Lestel (Ecole normale supérieure, Paris), a philosopher, author of numerous books on human-animal relation, for example, L’Animal est l’avenir de l’homme, guest of Minding Animals 2012 conference.

Prof. Katarzyna Marciniak, (University of Warsaw), a classical scholar, Italian philologist, she writes books and poems on animals for children, interested in reception of antiquity nowadays and childhood issues.

Dr Robert McKay (University of Sheffield), a literary scholar, his research focuses on the representation of animals and animal ethics, author of many articles. He has recently edited with Susan McHugh a special number of Antennae 24 (2013) – “Literary Animals Look”.

Dr Jessica Ullrich (University of Nürnberg and Kunstpalais in Eralngen, Germany), an art historian, precursor of animal studies in art studies in Germany, an editor of Tierstudien, editor of a book Ich, das Tier. Tiere als Persönlichkeiten in der Kulturgeschichte, representative of Minding Animals Germany.

During the breaks at the conference there will be coffee with soy milk and vegan snacks served. The conference fee is 150 PLN.

We encourage to apply for the conference by sending us an abstract in Polish or in English (about 1500 signs) of the presentation planned for 20 minutes and a short biographical note (400-700 signs) until 31.10.2013 to animalstudies.pl@gmail.com.

An integral part of the project is accompanying the conference exhibition
Animals and Their People. Creative subjects

Salon Akademii Gallery

The exhibition will be focused on direct appearance of animals in art and their participation in creating process of art. It is planned to be a collective exhibition, gathering both artists from Poland and other countries, curated by Dorota Łagodzka in collaboration with Anna Barcz. More information: http://animalstudies.ibl.waw.pl/uk/about-the-project/exhibition

The result of the conference and exhibition will be a bilingual (Polish-English), book-reviewed conference publication, designed as a combination of articles with the catalog of the exhibition.

Excursion to Orońsko
After the conference (15.03), we are planning to have an optional excursion to the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko (over 100 km from Warsaw) to visit the contemporary art exhibition on animals‘ subjectivity and individuality, which will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture. The exhibition, curated by Dorota Łagodzka in collaboration with Leszek Golec, will be attended by artists from Poland and other countries, who create sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos, installations and objects.

All detailed informations about the conference and exhibitions can be found on the website http://animalstudies.ibl.waw.pl/

Warm regards,
Anna Barcz & Dorota Łagodzka