Dangerous Crossings: Politics at the Limits of the Human
A Graduate Student Conference in Political Theory at Johns Hopkins University
October 1-2, 2010
In political theory and practice, the category of the human is often used to determine who or what gets included in and excluded from social and political orders. The sometimes contentious and often unconscious character of these determinations has prompted some scholars to seek to expand the notion of the human in order to create more inclusive accounts of political subjectivity. Others have sought to move beyond the category of the human altogether to a post- or anti-humanist politics. In the spirit of these endeavors we invite papers exploring the following or related questions:
- What is it to be human?
- What do humans do that other life does not?
- What are the limits of humanness?
- What “others” emerge outside those limits?
- Who or what is or can be rendered inhuman, how, and to what effect?
- Do rhetorics of humanism retain any political purchase?
- If not, what comes next?
- How does the shape of our politics and ethics change with our answers to these questions?
- Can we think of politics or ethics without an appeal to the human? Can there be nonhuman political life?
- How might these questions suggest new possibilities for thinking nature, animality, and technology?
- How does putting the figure of the human in question trouble or transform our theories of justice, inclusion, power, citizenship, and agency?
- What then becomes of human rights and humanitarianism?
Graduate students interested in presenting a paper should submit an abstract (maximum of 300 words) and contact information, including institutional affiliation, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Both individual and panel submissions are welcome.
The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2010.