In the recent years an interest in the animal studies has been growing, especially its various impactive contexts for contemporary culture studies. The conference “Animals and their people” answers the needs, that has just been starting in Poland and Central Eastern Europe countries, to analyse these transformations in the broader, non-anthropocentric perspective of culture transitions, focusing on philosophical, literary texts, artworks in their reference to actual animal problems. We have a lot more culture texts that pose the question of the animal and ask about human-animal relations anew; they need to be analysed and interpreted from animals studies perspective. Animal studies approach enables also looking at older cultures, literatures, artworks, philosophy, and social attitudes before animal studies has constituted themselves as interdisciplinary field of research and independent critical theory, finding its path in academic institutions.
At the conference we would like to raise such issues as the status of the animal and relations between human and non-human animals as a part of deeper culture transformations. It is important for us that animals are not only subjects or motifs, rather motives, so in creating a theory or thinking conceptually we would like to remember about real animals, their situation in the world now and in the past. This is one of the reasons why the ethical context is not only difficult to avoid but crucial for animal studies. The conference is interdisciplinary, however, what we find especially missing are analyses, theories, and interpretations in humanities, particularly those referring to art and literature seen from philosophical and social points.
Among plenary speakers to the conference who confirmed their appearance and presentations are:
Prof. Steve Baker (University of Central Lancashire), an art historian, art critic and theoretician of art in animal studies perspective, artist, author of numerous books on animals in contemporary art. He has published recently Artist Animal.
Prof. Monika Bakke (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), a philosopher, theoretician interested in posthumanism and bio-art, the author of many texts about animals from philosophical, ethical and biotechnological perspective. She has published recently Bio-transfiguracje. Sztuka i estetyka posthumanizmu [Biotransfigurations. The art and aesthetics of posthumanism].
Prof. Przemysław Czapliński (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), a literary critic, interested in contemporary literature, one of his book is Polska do wymiany: Późna nowoczesność i nasze wielkie narracje [Poland for exchange: late modernity and our big narrations].
Prof. Izabela Kowalczyk (Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa, Poznań), an art historian, art critic, culture and feminism theoretician, specialised in Polish critical art. She has published recently Podróż do przeszłości. Interpretacje najnowszej historii w polskiej sztuce krytycznej [Journey to the past. The newest history in Polish critical art: interpretations], interested in posthumanism threads in art.
Prof. Dominique Lestel (Ecole normale supérieure, Paris), a philosopher, author of numerous books on human-animal relation, for example, L'Animal est l'avenir de l'homme, guest of Minding Animals 2012 conference.
Dr Robert McKay (University of Sheffield), a literary scholar, his research focuses on the representation of animals and animal ethics, author of many articles. He has recently edited with Susan McHugh a special number of Antennae 24 (2013) - “Literary Animals Look”.
Dr Jessica Ullrich (University of Nürnberg and Kunstpalais in Eralngen, Germany), an art historian, precursor of animal studies in art studies in Germany, an editor of Tierstudien, editor of a book Ich, das Tier. Tiere als Persönlichkeiten in der Kulturgeschichte, representative of Minding Animals Germany.
Conference Academic Advisory Board:
Prof. Grażyna Borkowska (Institute of Literary Research of The Polish Academy of Sciences)
Prof. Andrzej Gniazdowski (Institute of Philosphy and Sociology of The Polish Academy of Sciences)
Prof. Joanna M. Sosnowska (Institute of Art of The Polish Academy of Sciences)
During the conference will be held an optional excursion to the Museum of Contemporary Sculpture in Orońsko
(over 100 km from Warsaw) to visit the contemporary art exhibition "Ecce Animalia" focused on animals' subjectivity and individuality. The exhibition will be attended by artists from Poland and other countries, who create sculptures, paintings, photographs, videos, installations and objects.
12-14 March 2014
Organizer of the conference:
The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Science
The Conference is funded from the grant of:
National Science Centre