Roundtable | Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) TFDC 1.17
Jul 04, 2023 15:45 - 17:15(Europe/London)
20230704T1545 20230704T1715 Europe/London 2.23. Memory studies and the more-than-human

This roundtable aims to examine the ways that nonhuman, posthuman and more-than-human have been mobilised across the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. It asks what it means to approach memory and processes of remembering by decentring the human as subject and detaching agency from human intentionality.Investigations of the agency of objects, distribution of agency in human and nonhuman work and the critique of the anthropocentric perspective, bring memory studies into dialogue with environmental humanities/ digital media studies/ new materialism/ critical autism studies (see Rigney, 2017; Chidgey, 2018; Reading, 2022; Zirra, 2017; Cronshaw, 2017; de Massol de Rebetz, 2020; Liebermann & Neumann 2020; Smit et al., 2018; Smit, 2020; Bond et al. 2017).For example, work on memory of the Anthropocene rethinks objects, subjects and temporality of remembrance with Lucy Bond, Ben De Bruyn and Jessica Rapson (2017) examining how planetary memory is part of contemporary American fiction. It functions as a framework to address the interrelations of human and nonhuman life, historical and geological pasts, presents and futures, and ecological problems. While in digital memory studies, an understanding of nonhuman agency drawing on Latour's actor-network theory is used to ensure the range of mediators within digital ecosystems are brought into the analysis. Rik Smit (2020) showcases how interactions between users, algorithmic logic and platform interface generate possibilities for digital memory work, which have political, social and economic implications. Recently, Anna Reading (2022) has thought of the 'more-than-human' memory in relation to the entanglement of individual human memory within ecologies of living and non-living elements. Her work demonstrates the co-const ...

TFDC 1.17 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
36 attendees saved this session

This roundtable aims to examine the ways that nonhuman, posthuman and more-than-human have been mobilised across the interdisciplinary field of memory studies. It asks what it means to approach memory and processes of remembering by decentring the human as subject and detaching agency from human intentionality.

Investigations of the agency of objects, distribution of agency in human and nonhuman work and the critique of the anthropocentric perspective, bring memory studies into dialogue with environmental humanities/ digital media studies/ new materialism/ critical autism studies (see Rigney, 2017; Chidgey, 2018; Reading, 2022; Zirra, 2017; Cronshaw, 2017; de Massol de Rebetz, 2020; Liebermann & Neumann 2020; Smit et al., 2018; Smit, 2020; Bond et al. 2017).

For example, work on memory of the Anthropocene rethinks objects, subjects and temporality of remembrance with Lucy Bond, Ben De Bruyn and Jessica Rapson (2017) examining how planetary memory is part of contemporary American fiction. It functions as a framework to address the interrelations of human and nonhuman life, historical and geological pasts, presents and futures, and ecological problems. While in digital memory studies, an understanding of nonhuman agency drawing on Latour's actor-network theory is used to ensure the range of mediators within digital ecosystems are brought into the analysis. Rik Smit (2020) showcases how interactions between users, algorithmic logic and platform interface generate possibilities for digital memory work, which have political, social and economic implications. Recently, Anna Reading (2022) has thought of the 'more-than-human' memory in relation to the entanglement of individual human memory within ecologies of living and non-living elements. Her work demonstrates the co-construction of memories with more-than-human in the works of autistic writers and artists. Here the construct of 'more-than-human' functions also as a discursive counter strategy to the positioning of autistic people as less than human.

Thus, extending memory to nonhuman actors always implicates the human subject and agency while being operationalised across different scales of remembering. This nonhuman turn in memory studies significantly builds on some of the longstanding interest in memory studies related to objects, exteriorisation of memories and the role of technologies in recording, storing and accessing the past. There is a risk, however, that research addressing similar issues of agency, subjectivity, responsibility and ethics related to the more-than-human develop only in parallel to one another.

This roundtable explores how the more-than-human provides conceptual grounds for bringing together scholars working across disciplines (particularly in digital memory studies and environmental memory studies) to discuss how concepts of 'nonhuman', 'posthuman' and 'more-than-human' are being theorised and operationalised in research projects.

Participants in the roundtable will respond to the following questions:

What informs your approach to the 'more-than-human'? How is it mobilised in your research?

How do we incorporate the 'more-than-human' as agents of memory?

What implications does the nonhuman/ posthuman / more-than-human have for models of memory and methodologies, approaches and ethics of doing memory research?

Postdoctoral Research Associate
,
Durham University
Assistant Professor
,
University of Groningen
Dr/Lecturer
,
King's College London
Postdoctoral Researcher
,
Department of English, Stockholm University
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions
496 visits