Materialisms: Reconciliations in the Present-Postponed

Xiaoli Yang's picture
April 9, 2021 to April 10, 2021
Minnesota, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Humanities, Philosophy, Literature, Cultural History / Studies

Materialisms: Reconciliations in the Present

Graduate Student Conference

April 9th-10th, 2021

University of Minnesota

Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature


Keynote Speakers

Samantha Frost

Samantha Frost is professor of political science at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include modern political theory, contemporary political theory, feminist theory, biology, biopolitics. Her work focuses on the ways that our understanding of matter, materiality, or embodiment shapes our concepts of politics. She is the author of Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics (Stanford UP, 2008) and Biocultural Creatures: Toward A New Theory of the Human (Duke UP, 2016), as well as the co-editor of New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke UP, 2010). 


Rocío Zambrana

Rocío Zambrana is associate professor of philosophy at Emory University. Her work  examines conceptions of critique in various philosophical traditions, specifically Hegel, Marx, Frankfurt School Critical Theory; Marxist Feminisms; Decolonial Thought and Decolonial Feminisms; and Latinx, Latin American, and Caribbean Feminisms. She is the author of Hegel’s Theory of Intelligibility (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Colonial Debts: The Case of Puerto Rico (under contract, Duke UP).


Call for Papers

In an era marked by an excess of the human and its possessions, as well as its corollaries – perverse deprivation, subjective erasure, and an erosion of nonhuman life – by what means might we provide adequate analysis and offer paths of reconciliation with the present moment? This excess of the human cannot be spoken without reference to the neoliberal condition which has fomented callous accumulation of capital while relegating so much of humanity to the status of “surplus”. Such acknowledgement hails the historical materialism of Marx, yet, unspoken resides the unseen ‘vibrancies’ of the nonhuman. A new materialism of otherness, a thing-power, must find rupture here. This otherness is that of the human made foreclosed by capital, yes, but additionally that of the nonhuman, the posthuman, the animal, inorganic matter, machines, atmospheres, the dead. How might the encounter between historical and new materialism permit us to communicate with, feel, and imagine the nonhuman while rendering visible the foreclosed human? In short, how might we imagine (things) otherwise?


We welcome submissions across disciplines, theories, methodologies, areas, and topics that address contemporary debates around these questions. We welcome a range of submissions, from theoretical and historical investigations, to close readings and interpretations of relevant media.


We are particularly, but by no means exclusively, interested in pieces that place the CFP in conversation with the current state of global discontent stemming from COVID-19 and the uprisings following the murder of George Floyd. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: 


  • neoliberal capitalism and historical materialism

  • racial capitalism

  • new materialism and object-oriented-ontology

  • human and nonhuman agency

  • materiality and embodiment in posthumanism

  • new materialism and ecology

  • nonhuman agency/vibrancy and politics/biopolitics

  • nonhuman animals, objects, and matter in literature, film, art, music, video games, etc.

  • speculative thought

  • feminism and new materialism

  • materiality of media and media infrastructure 


Submission Details

Please submit your 200-300 word abstracts in PDF or word, or any questions to by January 10th, 2021. Include paper title, name, and affiliation in your abstract.  In addition, you may include an optional 100 words maximum bio. You can expect notification of your proposal acceptance by January 30th.

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