New Materialisms, Barcelona, September 25-26

16. October 2014

The theory of new materialism is traversing many disciplines of knowledge: from quantum physics to art theory. This allows a search for a common ground for interdisciplinary studies. In addition, these theoretical approaches are proving themselves as a suitable “ethic-onto-epistemological” framework (Barad, 2007) that permits the examination of social phenomena from multidimensional perspectives, alongside offering new ways to theorize and challenge the divisions between matter and discourse, nature and culture, etc. However, the methodological parameters of these approaches remain underdeveloped and somewhat unclear especially when related to feminist theories and politics. New materialism has been coined as a “third wave feminist epistemology” (van der Tuin, 2009) in the present globalized information society, and it is because of this that a profound reassessment of some of the core research concepts is needed if these ways of theorizing want to configure themselves as an alternative to social constructivist approaches specifically in the context of digital cultures and political engagement. To these methodological concerns, we have included ‘gender’, ‘politics’ and ‘the digital’ because of their centrality in scholarly debates produced in feminist journals and scholarship. The terms also remain key for contemporary feminist practice. Can we still consider gender as a key concept for feminist politics? How is social change conceived of and produced within a new materialist framework? How is digital inter-connectedness affecting/affected by new materialisms, and most importantly different forms of life?