Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sydney workshop approaching

Some time back I received a 4-page Ethology workshop summary from organizer Matthew Chrulew. The workshop, “The History, Philosophy and Future of Ethology”, an International Collaborative Workshop, is to be arranged February 19-21. Abstracts are due January 25th. An edited volume is planned. "Bad dog: An Uexküllian analysis of Norwegian wolf management" is thus after all likelyhood set to materialize not only as a talk, but further in writing.

Excerpts of the summary:
The reflexive and critical reflection of the history and philosophy of ethology bears an obvious relationship to its object, the practice of the science of animal behaviour itself; and the latter relies on such historical and philosophical reflections for its own self-understanding and development. But as Buchanan (2008) and others have shown, Continental philosophy has its own debt to the early ethological work of Jakob von Uexküll (1957) and others that has yet to be fully understood (Deleuze & Guattari 1987, Merleau-Ponty 2003). While phenomenology has traditionally focussed solely on human experience, a critique of such anthropocentrism in favour of immanence and biological continuity opens pathways for distinctive empirical, qualitative descriptions of interspecies forms of life (Abram, 1996; Bussolini 2000; Lawlor 2006). Meanwhile, the field of biosemiotics or zoosemiotics, following the work of Thomas A. Sebeok (1972, 2000), Uexküll and others, has its own set of tools and questions, rarely considered by other science and humanities genres, with which to approach the questions of animal life (Tønnessen, 2010).
Our historical moment is one that combines, on the one hand, the breaking down of barriers between the human and the nonhuman, and on the other, the intensification of our anthropocentric use of animal bodies. It is in this context that what is called “the question of the animal” has become an important question in the humanities. Yet while an insistence on animal subjectivity is foundational for much of this discourse, there is a continuing poverty of truly interdisciplinary work that questions how such subjectivity is imagined and comprehended. This workshop will bring together scholars who work in and among disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, ethology, neurobiology, science studies, literature, biblical studies, Egyptology, film and music. It will allow local researchers the opportunity to participate in a discussion with distinguished international visitors. It will provide a space for interdisciplinary discussion at the cutting edge of the history and philosophy of ethology, and related fields of animal philosophy and ethics. An edited volume arising from these conversations is planned.

Programme. The workshop will be held in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University in Sydney. It will be held over three days, from Saturday-Monday 19th-21st February, 2011. The workshop is funded by the ISL-HCA programme, with additional funding provided by the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion. International speakers are Dominique Lestel (ENS, France), Brett Buchanan (Laurentian, Canada), Gary Steiner (Bucknell, USA), Jeffrey Bussolini (CUNY, USA), Morten Tønnessen (Tartu, Estonia). International guests will speak for 45 minutes, local participants for 25-30 minutes. There will be extended question periods as well as opportunities for group discussion. Please notify of attendance and forward final paper titles and 500 word abstracts by Tuesday 25th January.
As mentioned in the quoted text, the workshop is funded by (ISL-HCA), meaning the International Science Linkages: Humanities and Arts Programme of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. The ethology workshop was one of 13 international colloborative workshops to get funding in 2010.

No comments: