Online Lecture: 2021 UCL Rabindranath Tagore Lecture in Comparative Literature: N. Katherine Hayles (Wednesday, 8 December 2021, 17:00-19:00 UTC)

All welcome. This is a virtual event. Please note that there may be recording at some events. Please follow this FAQ link for more information. All our events are free but you can support the IAS here.

UCL is delighted to welcome N. Katherine Hayles and her lecture: Ecological Reciprocity: Utopian and Dystopian Possibilities

This event is free and open to all.

As the environment plunges deeper into crisis, we urgently need to re-examine the premises that keep contemporary governments, institutions, and publics from taking the necessary actions to slow down, and even reverse, environmental degradations. This talk explores some of those premises embedded in liberal philosophy, which since the Enlightenment has undergirded Western democracies. The talk argues that these premises have become counter-productive and need to be revised and rethought. One aspect of the problem is identified as the “Us versus Them”—the nearly universal human desire to provide for one’s kin, clan and nation before strangers and others. Solutions to this problem are explored through Kim Stanley Robinson’s recent novel, Ministry for the Future. The revised philosophical framework is called Ecological Reciprocity, and the talk argues that it offers our best hope for trajectories that heal the environment and promote justice over greed.

This is a virtual event. Please note that there may be recording at some events. Please follow this FAQ link for more information. All our events are free but you can support the IAS here.

About the Speaker

N. Katherine Hayles is the Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the James B. Duke Professor Emerita from Duke University. Her research focuses on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her twelve print books include “Postprint: Books and Becoming Computational” (Columbia, 2021), “Unthought: The Power of the Cognitive Nonconscious” (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017) and “How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis” (Univ. of Chicago Press 2015), in addition to over 100 peer-reviewed articles. Her books have won several prizes, including The Rene Wellek Award for the Best Book in Literary Theory for “How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Literature, Cybernetics and Informatics”, and the Suzanne Langer Award for “Writing Machines”. She has been recognized by many fellowships and awards, including two NEH Fellowships, a Guggenheim, a Rockefellar Residential Fellowship at Bellagio, and two University of California Presidential Research Fellowships. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is currently at work on “Technosymbiosis: Futures of the Human”.

Established in 2017, the UCL Rabindranath Tagore Lecture in Comparative Lecture provides a space for long-term perspectives that foster creativity in research and education, and that encourage new generations of thinkers in their pursuit of a collaborative, cosmopolitan, critical and creative understanding of our present, its past and the futures it may inspire. Past speakers include Ursula K. Heise (2020), Rita Felski (2019), Peter Boxall (2018), Matthew L. Jockers (2017). 

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