[URBANTH-L]ANN: Workshop on Dehumanisation (Durham U)

Angela Jancius jancius3022 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 22 18:00:30 EST 2009

[forwarded from CRIT-GEOG-FORUM at JISCMAIL.AC.UK]

From: Ben Anderson <Ben.Anderson at DURHAM.AC.UK>

Dear all,

Below are details of a workshop being held in March at Durham on the theme 
of 'Dehumanisation'. If you'd like to attend please email me by the 6th of 
February. The workshop is free - but places are limited.
best wishes,

Dr Ben Anderson
Department of Geography
Durham University


One Day Workshop: 6th March 2009 (10.00 - 5.00).

Co-sponsored by:
Institute of Advanced Studies (Durham University) and the Social/Spatial 
Theory Research cluster (Department of Geography, Durham University).

Chris Philo: Unreasonable humans and dehumanising rationalities
Adi Ophir: Economies of Violence OR From abandonment to catastrophization: 
Reflections on the war on Gaza.
Christa Acampora: Ways of being an enemy
Eduardo Mendieta (title tbc)
Iain Wilkinson: Social suffering: From protest to reform
Louisa Cadman: Life and death decisions in posthuman times (title tbc)
Paul Harrison: The absence of testimony

What is the relation between being-human and the myriad processes of 
dehumanisation through which life is damaged, destroyed, and abandoned? And 
how to respond - analytically, methodologically, politically - to processes 
of dehumanisation in an age animated by redefinitions of what it is to be 
human? Within the overall theme of 'de-humanisation', the workshop will 
enable inter and multi disciplinary work across two interlinked 
problematics. First, how to conceptualise processes of dehumanisation, and 
how to distinguish between distinctive forms of dehumanisation? The focus 
here will be on broad questions of the theoretical vocabularies used to 
understand how human life is reduced, abandoned or destroyed, including 
disappearance, suffering, loss, harm, and damage. Second, how are processes 
of de-humanisation countered and protested through types of witnessing. The 
workshop will engage with the practices through which suffering in 
particular is witnessed through visual and other media (including 
photography). These two ethical and political problematics will be addressed 
by drawing into relation substantive work on a range of issues central to 
the contemporary political situation, including militarisation (specifically 
the 'war on terror'), colonialisation, new technologies and urban 

More specifically, the workshop will open up and explore questions 

1: What might 'dehumanisation' mean in the context of the radical decentring 
of the human and the resurgence of questions of what, if anything, is 
distinctive about 'being-human'. Or, put differently, what is the relation 
between conceptualising and witnessing processes of dehumanisation and 
different types of humanism?

2: How to think through the distinctions between the categories that 
underpin any account of dehumanisation, including suffering, damage, loss, 
injustice, wrong, and evil, in the context of contemporary ways in which 
human life is reduced, destroyed and abandoned?

3: What is the relation between conceptualisations of the human - whether 
crouched in terms of capacities for reasoned discourse or a susceptibility 
to being affected that follows from finite embodiment - and processes of 

4: How does the damage and destruction of human bodies coexist in complex 
ways with other forms of destruction -  such as of non-living entities or 
non-humans? How, then, to witness processes of dehumanisation without 
necessarily reproducing an anthropocentric bias that makes the human the 
measure of the world?

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