“Lives are by definition precarious: they can be expunged at will or by accident; their persistence is in no sense guaranteed. In some sense, this is a feature of all life, and there is no thinking of life which is not precarious […] Precarity designates the politically induced condition in which certain populations suffer from failing social and economic networks of support and become differentially exposed to injury, violence and death.”
― Judith Butler, Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?
The preponderance of the word ‘precarity’ among descriptions of a variety of economic, political and social issues is a telling feature of the problems which characterise the contemporary landscape. Various modes of existence, community, and economic association have been characterised by the term in the wake of changing conditions instituted by globalisation, austerity and the increasing casualisation of various industries – including that of academia and education. As the quote above highlights, this precarity ought to be considered alongside the various modes of vulnerability that seem inherent to life itself: with the fragile nature of human existence, animal life and the environment.
These questions are tied from the beginning to problems of expression: the voice of the collective, of the individual, and above all the fragile artistic voice. Art and literature give us means to bear witness to other’s vulnerability, as well as our own, but the nature of this expression seems to be itself precarious – in many ways tied to the individual circumstances of its creation, continually risking a loss of signification.
In this one-day workshop, to be held at the University of Warwick on the 4th April 2019, we aim to explore how precarious and vulnerable lives are intertwined, and where attention ought to be paid to bear witness to the fragile nature of individuals, communities, institutions and environments. In association with the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts (CRPLA), the University of Warwick and the University of Royal Holloway, we invite abstracts for talks, panels or artworks from any discipline or medium concerning precarity and related issues. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
* Precarity in academia and the arts
* Economic precarity, automation and the casualisation of labour
* Precarity, disability and mental health
* Animal Ethics
* Ethics and the vulnerability of the other
* The precariousness of community, collective identity, or communal aesthetics
* The precarious nature of knowledge
* Precarity and the environment
* Precarity in art and artistic genre
Please send all submissions and requests for information to firstname.lastname@example.org. With your submission, please let us know the format in which you prefer to present and any additional requirements you may have. We expect most papers to be approximately 25 minutes, with 10 minutes devoted to questions. The deadline for submissions is the 1st of March 2019.
The conference website is here.