New Materialisms

This SIG on the ‘new materialisms’ (Coole and Frost, 2010: St. Pierre et al, 2016) aims to provide inclusive, exploratory opportunities for both emerging and established scholars. It will provide an interdisciplinary space in which we can engage with each other in addressing the pressing issues of our time (both within and beyond the academy) through and with new materialist, and related, bodies of theory and research. Such scholarship, in Barad’s terms, is ethico-onto-epistmological, and it engages with the space-time-mattering of the world, in which all our actions and utterances matter. Think (for example) Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Deleuze and Guattari, Kathleen Stewart, and many more, each putting concepts to work in new ways, opening up exciting new possibilities for knowing-in-being. 

Rebecca Coleman and colleagues write: 

Until recently, the new materialisms have mainly constituted a conceptual field, viewed as ‘high’ theory. However, contemporary work is beginning to explore and develop a range of research methods and practices that both put new materialist concepts to work, and reflect on them, reshaping what new materialisms means as an approach, what it does, what it can do… [This is an] emerging field of methodological and practice work that has not been fully mapped. (Coleman, Page & Palmer, 2019, np.)

They go on to say our current task is to consider and expand “the making and mattering of feminist new materialisms” (Coleman, Page & Palmer, 2019, np.)

This SIG, therefore, both during its pre-congress day and through the main congress itself, will seek to (continue to) put the new materialisms to work and to explore the possibilities and potentialities of what they do, and what they can do, in this moment. All are invited to: (a) attend the pre-congress event, (b) sign up for Thursday workshops that relate to the new materialisms, and (c) submit papers to and/or attend ICQI Friday/Saturday panel sessions sponsored by the SIG.

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Wednesday pre-congress SIG event

We propose using this day or part-day for us to engage – in various ways (not only, or not even, through ‘papers’, but through practice, art-making, discussion, etc.) – with key current issues. We will plan our activities in conversation with other frameworks (e.g. critical theory, arts-based research, autoethnography, etc.).  The topics we will address may include, for example: 

  1. ‘Method’ and ‘methodology’ in new materialist inquiry 
  2. The new materialisms and social justice
  3. The new materialisms and the climate emergency
  4. The interdiciplinarity of new materialism; crossing old boundaries between social science, humanities, geography, ecology, philosophy, art etc. 
  5. New materialisms and the threats to democracy

There will also be time given to considering the problems new materialism enables us to address in our inquiries: what research questions are participants pursuing where they are calling on the new materialisms? And how might new materialisms enable them to ask their questions differently?

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Thursday Workshops, May 21 May

The Thursday workshops provide in-depth opportunities to engage with scholars whose work is drawn from, and is influential in, new materialist inquiry.  Sign up and pay for workshops as part conference registration. These workshops include:

  • Kerry Freedman and Richard Siegesmund: Visual Inquiry in Qualitative Research: Tacit Knowledge to New Materialisms
  • Pirkko Markula: Foucault and Deleuze’s Methodologies for Qualitative Research on the Material Moving Body
  • Lisa A. Mazzei & Alecia Y. Jackson: Ontological Practices in Qualitative Inquiry
  • Ken Gale and Jonathan Wyatt: Using Deleuze and collaborative writing in troubled times: engaging activism and resistance through collective writing
  • Bronwyn Davies: Working with memory in collaborative research groups 

SIG organizers: 

Bronwyn Davies daviesb@unimelb.edu.au 

Jonathan Wyatt jonathan.wyatt@ed.ac.uk 

References 

Coleman, R., Page, T., & Palmer, H. (2019). Feminist new materialist practice: The mattering of methods (Introduction to special issue: Feminist New Materialist Practice). MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture, 4. https://maifeminism.com/feminist-new-materialisms-the-mattering-of-methods-editors-note/ Retrieved, 20 August 2019. 

Coole, D., & Frost, S. (Eds.). (2010). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

St Pierre, E. A., Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2016). New empiricisms and new materialisms: Conditions for new inquiry. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, 16(2), 99-110.