Political Materials: Excavation, Transformation, Incorporation
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 16:00 - 17:30Hanson Room, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building
'Powers of the Hoard: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter'
Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins University
How do objects sometimes act as vibrant things, with an effectivity of their own, a degree of independence from the words, images, and feelings they provoke in human bodies? I am interested in the hold that things have over us – an allure that I have called 'thing-power' or that strange ability of everyday items to elide their status as possessions or tools and to manifest traces of independence and vitality. Following the tangled threads linking vibrant materialities, human selves, and the agentic assemblages they form, I examine what hoarders – people preternaturally attuned to things – might have to teach us about the workings of agency, causality, and artistry in a world overflowing with stuff.
About Jane Bennett:
Jane Bennett is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches political theory and American political thought. Her most recent book is Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke, 2010). She is a founding member of the journal theory&event, and is currently working on a project on over-consumption and new materialisms.
The seminar series is co-funded by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester and the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change