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Doctoral workshop: "We are compost, not posthuman!" Queer feminist composting of the Anthropocene

Friday, 13 und Saturday, 14 April 2018


Department of Educational and Social Sciences and Institute for Media Culture and Theatre, University of Cologne; Institute for Media and Cultural Studies, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, in collaboration with the Graduate School of the Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Cologne


The Anthropocene describes the current geological epoch in which the human species has had a massive impact on the environment. This includes the enormous consumption of resources, the rising number of natural disasters, the extinction of many animal and plant species through pollution and climate change. According to Dipesh Chakravarty, if nothing is going to be done about this, we will have to start thinking about a future without humans for the first time in the history of mankind. This leads to the question as to who or what needs to take response-aibility in the wake of this “Horror of the Anthropocene” (Donna Haraway 2015). The governments or “guardians” (Isabelle Stengers 2015) of the Global North pretend to be able to avert the catastrophe by deploying those measures that have caused it in the first place: the epistemologies of objectivity and progress, of modernisation and growth. The transition from the Anthropocene to the “Chthulucene”, a term coined by Donna Haraway, which describes the age of the “earthly critters”, marks a shift away from this type of knowledge towards a different, relational ontology – the queer feminist composting of the Anthropocene. In this new ontology there is no human subject as opposed to a world full of objects upon which it acts or for which it is responsible. This new ontology is more about the fundamental relationality of the world itself, of which we all are a part in our own very particular way. For this ontology we need a thinking of a different kind: One that diffractively interlaces every individual with the uncircumventable alterity of the world. Haraway calls this tentacular, non-individual, collective, partial thinking (Haraway 2016).

The workshop focuses on gestures of the diffraction of natural, social and cultural knowledge beyond human exceptionalism and the duality of the individual and the environment. In the context of such a queer feminist opening up of disciplinary knowledge, we would like to discuss the concepts of Astrid Schrader, Martha Kenney and Henriette Gunkel in order to substantiate manners of intra-action (Karen Barad) between (non-)/human players, common becomings or worlding and to multiply opportunities for action.

University of Cologne
Faculty of Human Sciences
Lecture theatre H 112, IBW Building, Herbert-Lewin-Str. 2, D-50931 Cologne and
Room 0.105, Main building of The Faculty of Human Sciences (HF-Hauptgebäude), ground floor, Gronewaldstrasse 2, D-50931 Cologne

Registration for participation is open until 29 March 2018. If you wish to register for the workshop, please send us an e-mail at
Upon confirmation of your registration, you will receive text material that you will need to read in preparation for the workshop.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Welcoming /Introduction (Lecture theatre H 112, IBW building)

2:30-3:30pmLecture Astrid Schrader:
"Caring with Microbes: Bio-hauntings and Abyssal Relations" (Lecture theatre H 112)
3:30-4:00pmShort break
4:00-7:00pmWorkshop Part 1 with Astrid Schrader
(Room 0.105, Main building of the Faculty of Human Sciences, ground floor)
from 8:00pmDinner at one's own expense
Saturday, 14 April 2018
09:30-10:15amLecture Henriette Gunkel:
"The Sea is History, and the Future too: The Capitalocene in the context of the Black Atlantic"
10:15-10:30amShort break
10:30am-1:30pmWorkshop Part 2 with Henriette Gunkel
1:30-2:30Lunch break
2:30-3:15pmLecture Martha Kenney:
"Daphnia and Apollo: An Epigenetic Fable"
3:15-3:30pmShort break
3:30-6:30pmWorkshop Part 3 with Martha Kenney
from 7:00pmDinner at one's own expense

Information about the lecturers

Information about the lecturers and more information about the workshop can be found in the workshop flyer in the right margin.