Making Resources Speak: themes and methods of the New Materialism

Monday 29 June 2015 (10:00-17:00)

Workshop Leader(s): Professor Corey Ross and Dr Frank Uekötter (Department of History)

Resources are receiving growing attention across the humanities. Scholars have penned ambitious calls for a ‘new materialism’ and criticized a free-wheeling cultural history; the recent boom of commodity prices and fears of resource exhaustion (peak oil, peak phosphorus, peak uranium, etc.) have highlighted the dubious neglect of Western societies as to their resource base.

There is also a growing disaffection with traditional, production-centered views of resources. Today’s scholars seek to look into production and consumption, into cultural meanings, labor problems, and environmental repercussions. However, recent publications show a notable disconnect between those who theorize about a “new materialism” and those who actually study specific resources.

This workshop will explore paths towards theoretically informed but empirically grounded studies and provides a platform for reflections on the proper place of the material among the range of social actors. Presentations will combine familiar fields of research with reflections on methodological underpinnings. While resources have received growing attention in recent years, this is the first interdisciplinary conference that specifically seeks to put methods and approaches of the new materialism to the test

To register to attend this workshop please email Sarah Jeffery.

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