In various world mythologies, a chimera is a hybrid creature comprised of body parts from two or more different human or non-human animals. In contemporary biology laboratories, a chimera refers to one entity containing genetically distinct cells from another entity. In both cases, chimeras point to processes by which the distinction between the real and the unreal is distinctly blurred: the fusion of unique elements from disparate entities effectively destabilizes the borders that separate them. The act of chimerization, then, is an ethical, political, and ontological maneuver. Indeed, as Aryn Martin (2010) shows, while biological chimerism is increasingly understood to be a mundane material phenomenon, scientific renderings of self and other continue to betray deep-running fantasies of individualism. Similarly, in the cyborg of Donna Haraway, the ritualized images of Carlo Severi, the symbiotic sensorium of Lynn Margulis, or the sound art of Florian Hecker and Reza Negarestani, the question isn’t so much “How might things be otherwise?” but rather, “How might things be perceived otherwise?”
York University STS and University of Toronto IHPST invite the submission of essays and other less formal scholarship to its fourth annual joint graduate conference, themed this year on the subject of “Chimerizations.” For scholars concerned with science and technology, how do we engineer our objects of study such that they stand out against the ordinary? How do we graft our scholarly voices onto the voices of scholars past, or graft theirs onto our own, while still maintaining the force and intonation of the first-person? How might histories of chimerization enrich contemporary understandings of the same? Where are the nodes by which we may fuse academic speak into wider public discourse, and where if anywhere is the value of a chimeric readership? How do we acknowledge the constitutive roles played by our colleagues, institutions, friend networks and other resources in our intellectual becoming? How do we chimerize the embryos of our research in anticipation of the possible futures of academia and the wider world?
Potential topics include but are not limited to:
- hybrid objects, methodologies, evidences, archives, or field sites
- the commingling of discursive spaces
- the becoming of the individual scholar
- encounters between the physical and the metaphysical
- navigating the scientific and the pseudo-scientific
- bridging the historical and the contemporary
- community involvement and public outreach in academia
- merging the popular and the academic
The possibilities afforded by chimeric thought and action extend throughout the research process, from conceptualizing and nurturing an idea to shaping and sharing that idea with others. As such, we welcome papers that embrace the dynamic potential of hybrid production and reproduction, i.e. scholarship concerned less with finding order in the world than with sensing and embodying it from multiple perspectives at once. Interdisciplinary and transcultural historical research, empirical and experimental philosophy, multispecies ethnography, multimedia scholarship, and the combination of any of the above approaches are especially welcome. Non-traditional and site-specific proposals are encouraged.
We invite graduate students to submit 200-300 word abstracts for a 15-20 minute presentation on the aforementioned theme(s). Proposals for panels will also be accepted (same format). To submit, please send your proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15, 2018.
Beyond HPST/STS, we welcome submissions from graduate students of any level from a wide cross-section of disciplines, fields, and critical approaches, including but not limited to animal studies, communications and culture, critical theory, disability studies, futures studies, gender studies, humanities, sound studies, visual culture, and women’s studies.
The conference will take place May 18-19, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.
Applicants may note that while the Binocular Conference regrettably cannot offer funding to speakers, there remains the possibility of arranging accommodations with graduate students from the host institutions.