Engineered Worlds II: On Resolution and Resolve

Friday, May 12 - Saturday, May 13

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

One of the key challenges of our moment is to locate oneself (physically, psychically, and politically) within the global environment. The shifting nature of earth systems today rides on specific forms of industrial economy, on historic practices of dispossession and war, and enduring colonial-settler violences.  Thus, people are always already inside a set of conditions and aftermaths, but unequally so. This makes the key question of our age one of attunement: How do individuals come to understand both their historical embeddedness in an industrial condition and imagine alternative futures? How do we collectively create a politics that responds to these ongoing aftermaths? This conference interrogates the optics and affects of self-conscious world-making today in light of the mounting effects of industrial toxicity, financial insecurity, and permanent war. In confronting such complex and interlocking problems, we ask: what kinds and degrees of resolution are needed to both identify and locate oneself within conditions that are simultaneously local and planetary? What forms of political resolve can enable the modification of a life that is already altered by the interplay of toxicity, capitalism, and militarism?


MAY 12

9:30 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Panel 1: The Politics of Roots
10:15 Jake Kosek (Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley): "Rootstocks and Scions: Towards Arboreal Histories of Modern Racisms"
10:45 Amy McLachlan (Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago): "Buinaima’s Tobacco and the Guerrillero’s Cigarette: Sensing the War in Uitoto Territory"
11:15 Response Team: Damien Bright and Lauren Sutherland
11:25 Discussion

12:00 p.m. Lunch

Panel 2: Impossible Conditions
1:00 Michelle Murphy (Department of History and Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto): "Undoing and Unknowing Chemical Violence"
1:30 Shannon Cram (Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell): "Nuclear Cleanup and the Politics of Impossibility"
2:00 Response Team: Hannah Burnett and Ella Butler
2:10 Discussion

2:45 Break

Panel 3: Phase Change
3:15 Kathryn Yusoff (School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London): "Indeterminate Subjects, Irreducible Worlds; or, How to Find Your Love in the Dark"
3:45 Jerry Zee (Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz): "Earthly Interphases: China Across Aerosol Thresholds"
4:15 Response Team: Emily Simmonds and Kristin Simmons
4:25 Discussion

5:00 Reception

MAY 13

9:30 a.m. Welcome

Panel 1: Recalibrating Toxicity
10:15 Nerea Calvillo (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick): "Air Infrastructures for the Commons"
10:45 Stefanie Graeter (Department of Science in Human Culture, Northwestern University): "Life with Minerals: Politics without Resolution at Peru’s National Seaport"
11:15 Response Team: Ali FeserSonia Grant, and Cameron Hu
11:25 Discussion

12:00 p.m. Lunch

Panel 2: Drawing Futures
1:00 Tim Choy (Science and Technology Studies and the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis): "Drawing a Lung"
1:30 Kai Wood Mai and Patrick Lynn Rivers (Co-Directors, Afield): "Surviving a Massive Refugee Situation: A Guide for Designers"
2:00 Response Team: Emily Bock, Molly Cunningham, and Hannah Woodroofe
2:10 Discussion

2:45 Break

Panel 3: Blocked Views
3:15 Joe Masco (Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago): "The View from Planet Nine"
3:45 Eric Cazdyn (Department of East Asia Studies and Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto): "The Blindspot Machine"
4:15 Response Team: Kaya Williams and Sophia Rhee
4:25 Discussion

5:00 Concluding Remarks

5:15 Reception

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