Session 5: Animals (Tuesday 29th March)

'Breathing the Same Air: Posthuman and Preanimal'

Dr. Steven Morrison
(Independent Scholar)

Tuesday 29th March, 6-8pm, Senate House, Room 102

"There is no scientific evidence whatever to support such a view [that somehow man is the ultimate triumph of evolution] and no reason to suppose that our stay here will be any more permanent than that of the dinosaur. . . . But although denying that we have a special position in the natural world might seem becomingly modest in the eye of eternity, it might also be used as an excuse for evading our responsibilities. The fact is that no species has ever had such wholesale control over everything on earth, living or dead, as we now have" (David Attenborough)

If posthuman and posthistorical man is an animal like any other, need this animal worry about the preposthuman and preposthistorical mess? Steven Morrison, independent scholar and Homo sapiens, will be worrying out loud about the sustainability of distinctions between human and animal with reference to extracts from the following:

Giorgio Agamben, The Open: Man and Animal, trans. Kevin Attell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).

John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (London: Granta Books, 2003).

All are welcome to attend.


Session 4: Speaker: Professor Robert Eaglestone (Monday 14th March)

'Discourses of Biopolitics, the Human and Mass Murder'

Professor Robert Eaglestone
(Royal Holloway)

Monday 14th March, 6-8pm, Senate House, Room G32

Robert Eaglestone is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is Deputy Director (formerly Director) of the Royal Holloway Holocaust Research Centre, and is the series editor of Routledge Critical Thinkers. He works on contemporary literature and literary theory, contemporary philosophy and on Holocaust and Genocide studies. Robert is particularly interested in issues of ethics, aesthetics and the philosophy of history, and has spent some years working through a series of questions about the legacy of the Holocaust and the Second Word War in these fields. His publications include Ethical Criticism: Reading After Levinas (Edinburgh University Press, 1997), Doing English (Routledge, 1999; third edition 2009), and The Holocaust and the Postmodern (Oxford University Press, 2004). He has also recently co-edited, with Simon Glendinning, Legacies of Derrida: Literature and Philosophy (Routledge, 2008) and, with Elleke Boehmer and Katy Iddiols, J.M. Coetzee in Context and Theory (Continuum, 2009). He is currently completing a manuscript on the Holocaust and genocide in contemporary literature and culture, as well as a volume of the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Literary and Cultural Theory (Volume 2: 1966 to Present Day).

All are welcome to attend.