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Multispecies Intra-Actions: A Round Table with Karen Barad
Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 10:45 AM to 12:30 PM (PST)
San Francisco, CA
Special Offsite Event: AAA Annual Meetings
Organizer: Eben Kirksey
Participants: Karen Barad, Charis Thompson, Agustín Fuentes, Karin Bolender, Eben Kirksey, Natasha Myers, and Tamar V Scoggin.
Karen Barad coined the term “intra-action” to get beyond the metaphysics of individualism underpinning conventional understandings of “interactions." Intra-actions involve the mutual constitution of entangled agencies (Barad 1996). Things, or objects, are ontologically inseparable in Barad’s work—they do not precede their interaction, but rather, these agents emerge through particular intra-actions. Donna Haraway recently brought Barad's insights from the realm of physics to the domains of ecology, ethology, and multispecies ethnography. “Responsibility is a relationship crafted in intra-action,” writes Haraway, “through which entities, subjects and objects, come into being.”
This roundtable will bring Barad into conversation with a diverse panel of multispecies ethnographers, primatologists, and artists. Audience members are invited to join the conversation. Our discussions will orbit around texts written by participants (see hyperlinked citations below).
Barad's seminal 1996 essay, where she coined the term "intra-action," will serve as a theoretical charter for our roundtable. “Boundaries do not sit still,” she writes. “It is through specific intra-actions that a differential sense of being is enacted in the ongoing ebb and flow of agency...Agential intra-actions are specific causal material enactments that may or may not involve ‘humans.’ Indeed, it is through such practices that the differential boundaries between “humans” and ‘nonhumans,’ ‘culture’ and ‘nature,’ the ‘social’ and the ‘scientific’ are constituted” (2003: 817).
“Bodies do not simply take their places in the world,” Barad continues in Meeting the Universe Halfway (Duke University Press, 2007). “They are not simply situated in, or located in, particular environments. Rather, ‘environments and ‘bodies’ are intra-actively co-constituted” (2007: 170).
Panelists and audience members are invited to “poach” Barad’s ideas. Rather than stay true to the original texts, please push or poke at Barad—transforming and intensifying the flavors of her work (See: Kirksey et al. 2012 and Matsutake Worlds 2010, for details on the practice of poaching). Members of the roundtable will each give short “provocations” (3-5 minutes), bringing Barad into conversation with empirical matters and concepts from their own assorted texts on the table (see below). Audience members are also invited to become provocateurs. Following these interventions, we will have an unscripted discussion.
We will have seats for 35 people, and standing room for many more. All provocateurs are asked to make a special RSVP (see above). Those who would just like a place to sit, can also RSVP for a “seat ticket.” This special off-site event is free and open to the public. It has been made possible by the curators of Ethnographic Terminalia and will be taking place in an art gallery hosting one of their Audible Observatories. Karin Bolender, with the Rural Alchemy Workshop, will be performing “Gut Sounds Lullaby” in the same space at 2:00 on Saturday, November 17th
Texts on the Table
The original "intra-action" article: Barad, Karen "Meeting the Universe Halfway: Realizm and Social Constructivism Without Contradiction" In Feminism, Science, and the Philosophy of Science, L. H. Nelson and J. Nelson (eds) Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers (1996): 161-194.
Barad, Karen. "Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter." Signs 28, no. 3 (2003): 801-31.
Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.
Bolender, Karin. “R.A.W. Assmilk Soap” In The Multispecies Salon: Gleanings from a Para-Site, edited by Eben Kirksey. Durham: Duke University Press (under review).
Schurr, Mark R., Agustín Fuentes, Ellen Luecke, John Cortes, and Eric Shaw. "Intergroup Variation in Stable Isotope Ratios Reflects Anthropogenic Impact on the Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus) of Gibraltar." Primates 53, no. 1 (2012): 31-40.
Kirksey, Eben. “Living with Parasites in Palo Verde National Park” Environmental Humanities 1 (2012): 23-55.
Myers, Natasha (with Carla Hustak). “Involutionary Momentum: Affective Ecologies and the Sciences of Plant/Insect Encounters” in differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 25, no. 5 (forthcoming 2012): 74-118.
Scoggin, Tamar “ ‘I’m Not Locked Up When I’m Down Here’: Kentucky Inmates and Rescued Horses Intra-Act.” Manuscript in prep.
Thompson, Charis. “When Elephants Stand for Competing Models of Nature.” In Complexities, edited by Annemarie Mol and John Law. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.
Thompson, Charis. Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005.
For copies of the unpublished texts listed above, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
When & Where
MISSION & VISION
The mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures. Founded in 1979, SOMArts embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms.