21 September, 2023 | by Rushi P


Inhuman Memory: Race and Ecology across Timescales
– 14 May 2020, King’s College London.

Keynote Speaker:
Dr Kathryn Yusoff

In recent years, environmental humanities and critical race studies have benefited from exponential exposure, and are often identified as posing the most pressing questions of our times. Following this momentum, the one-day conference Inhuman Memory: Race and Ecology across Timescales proposes to look at the intersection of race and ecology to offer alternatives to the systematic and historical exploitation of colonial and capitalist politics. In recognising the multiscalar and multidirectional histories making and remaking the planet,
the conference seeks to interrogate the whiteness and the universality of contemporary environmental discourses.

This reflection emerges from Kathryn Yusoff’s proposition to confront a ‘billion black Anthropocenes’ to ‘the White Geology of the Anthropocene’ (2019). Yusoff challenges assumptions about the neutrality of the so-called Anthropocene, the proposed geological era signalling the disruptive impact of humans on the planet: geology is no longer only the reading of the past, present and future through inhuman matter; it is a praxis of exploitation, dispossession, subjection and othering, closely tied to the slave mode of production. Central to the conference’s exploration of the ‘inhuman’, therefore, is an interrogation of racism and its central role in building industries and societies that perpetrate ecocide today (Qureshi, 2018), to which anti-anthropocentric ecological discourses originating from new materialism, posthumanism and object-oriented ontology are also key.

The conference seeks to recognise the intimately connected histories of colonialism and environmental injustice. It aims to examine the ways in which memory culture(s) intersect with the lack of public/state recognition of these relationships. We welcome abstracts around the following themes, though this should be by no means restrictive:

· (Dis)connections between the politics of remembrance on slavery and colonialism, and contemporary environmental injustice

· Whiteness, activism and climate change

· Climate change policy and anti-imperialism

· Indigenous temporalities and models of social resilience

· Anthropocene ‘neutrality’, posthumanism and the inhuman

· Anthropocenic memory and structural/historical modes of differentiation

Please send a 300 words abstract of your proposal with a brief biography to Clara de Massol and Anna Crisp at [email protected] <mailto:inhumanmemory> by 4 January 2020 along with any audio-visual, technical or other requirements. We look forward to your proposals.

Abstract submission deadline:
4 January 2020

Acceptance letters:
14 January 2020

Registration deadline:
14 March 2020

Conference dates:
14 May 2020

All the best,
Dr Nik Wakefield
Senior Lecturer
School of Art, Design and Performance
University of Portsmouth