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.


10:00am-12:00pm, Illini Union: Illini Room C

For the pre-congress event we invite Congress participants to a two-hour ‘round table’ discussion of new materialisms. For the first hour we will invite each participant who has been working with new materialist concepts and practices to speak to the concepts they are mobilising in their own thinking/writing/researching and emergent living. Participants just beginning to engage with the new materialisms in their research and writing are most welcome – and will be invited to speak to what they anticipate new materialist concepts will open up. 

For the second hour we will invite each participant to bring some-thing material to the table that is important to them, and to talk about  it—specifically about  the matter and mattering of it. Collectively, we’ll then discuss new materialist concepts that might be drawn on to enliven the matter-concept mix in our thinking. (Given that some of us will be traveling long distances to be there, you may need to think about creative ways of bringing the thing that you want to bring to the table for story-telling and discussion.)

Please contact us if you’re planning to come to this new materialist SIG so we can plan accordingly: 

Bronwyn Davies: [email protected]

Jonathan Wyatt: [email protected]

Fiona Murray: [email protected]

Giulia Carozzi: [email protected]