Master Class and Workshop with Bruno Latour

Cutting Edge Workshops in the Humanities

October 30-November 4, 2017   ~   University of Illinois at Chicago

This event is funded by the Humanities Without Walls Consortium Grant,  Institute for the Humanities Cutting Edge Workshops in the Humanities Grant (now Humanities Frontiers), Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, Office of the Dean of the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts, the School of Art and Art History, the Department of Englishthe Department of Anthropology, Department of Political Science and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at UIC.

Bruno-Latour-1In response to a joint invitation from The Working Group on Political Ecologies and the School of Art and Art History, leading figure in Science and Technology Studies and Professor at Sciences Po (Paris), Bruno Latour has agreed to offer a four-day long advanced seminar (a “master class”) to a limited group of graduate students and faculty at UIC, who are engaged with questions of the politics of the environment, the Anthropocene, and climate change. In this master class, Latour will focus on his recent work entitled Facing Gaia (emerging from Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh lecture series and his upcoming book with the same title), where he addresses the complex relationship between nature and religion in the age of the Anthropocene. The workshop will take place at the tail end of his advanced seminar, and is meant to complement the conversations and the collaborative work that will take shape in the seminar.

Designed in conjunction with a Humanities Without Walls application entitled “Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene,” this workshop will investigate the reciprocal relationship and the disjunction between the metropolitan theories of the Anthropocene, climate change, and the global environmental crisis on the one side; and the experience of local ecological conflicts in various micro-regions around the world, on the other. The central research question to be collectively addressed will be whether the current vibrant theories of the academic/metropolitan center derive from or get inspired by the multiplicity of regional ecological conflicts experienced today. Conversely we ask, in what particular ways, these theories impact various human communities in their relationship to their land, its resources, biodiversity, and heritage. The workshop invited participants to discuss global theories of the Anthropocene and its new ontologies of time and materiality, while investigating their links to regional practices and discourses. The workshop includes presentations by UIC faculty and graduate students who will present comparative studies of place-based politics of the environment in regional contexts, delivering the results from their fieldwork in diverse landscapes. These fieldwork initiatives are developed from existing projects of graduate students and faculty at UIC and the collaborating institution(s).


Master Class with Bruno Latour

“Facing Gaia:  An Enquiry on the New Climatic Regime, or Brecht: The Life of Galileo redux”

October 30- November 2, 2017  Monday-Thursday

Location: The Great Space (5th Floor), UIC Art & Exhibition Hall (400 S. Peoria St.  Chicago, IL)

Attendance by 25 registered participants (Restricted to UIC graduate students and faculty members).  Prof Latour requests full dedication of the participants for the duration of the week, day and night.

Daily program:

  • Morning seminar meeting 9 am-12 pm.
  • Lunch 12 – 1 pm
  • Afternoon workshop: 3 – 6 pm

 Master Class is full and no new applications are accepted. These are the participants of the master class. 


“Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene”

November 3-4, 2017, Friday and Saturday

Location: Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Dining Hall

Please RSVP here if you would like to attend the workshop/conference and the field trip on Saturday.

Friday November 3rd Morning:

9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Mark Canuel, Director (UIC, Institute for the Humanities) – Welcome Remarks
  • Ömür Harmanşah (UIC, Department of Art History) – Introduction: Political Ecology as Practice: A Regional Approach to the Anthropocene (10 minutes)

9:15 Plenary Session:  Three Analytical Frameworks for the Anthropocene

  • Molly Doane (UIC, Anthropology) Chair and moderator- The Anthropocene in anthropology: Political ecology from a sociocultural anthropology perspective (25 minutes)
  • David Wise (UIC, Biological Sciences and Institute for Environmental Science and Policy) Perspectives of Space and Place in the Anthropocene: A Case Study from Socio-Ecological Research   [Abstract] (25 minutes)
  • Beate Geissler (UIC, Art) – Hopium Economy (25 minutes)
  • Ralph Cintron (UIC, English and Latin American and Latino Studies) – Mine-Yours-Ours-Theirs: A Preliminary Inquiry into Property Relations in the Anthropocene  [Abstract] (25 minutes)

11: 15 Panel discussion (45 minutes) moderated by Molly Doane

12:00-1:30 Lunch

Friday November 3rd Afternoon

1:30 Reporting from the Field I: Agriculture, Land, and Climate Change

  • Tannya Islas (UIC, Latin American and Latino Studies) – Working in and through Climate Change: Agricultural Landscapes in Coamiles, Nayarit, Mexico.  [Abstract] (10 minutes)
  • Charles Corwin (UIC, Urban Planning and Policy) Knowledge Production and Practice in Industrial Row Crop Farming, Northern Illinois (10 minutes)
  • Katy Dye (UIC, Department of Anthropology) Climate Change as State Discourse: Conjuring Climate in Bolivia’s Water Crisis. (10 minutes)
  • Molly Doane (UIC, Anthropology) – Cultivating Chicago: Gardens as Ecological Infrastructures. (10 minutes)

2:20 Discussant: Christopher Boyer (UIC, History and Latin American and Latino Studies) (20 minutes)

2:40 Panel discussion moderated by Christopher Boyer (40 minutes)

3:20 Coffee Break

3:45 Intervention I: Challenges of the Anthropocene

  • Tracey Heatherington (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Anthropology) – Assisted Abundance: Viable Ontologies for a Climate Resilient Agriculture (30 minutes)
  • Max Berkelhammer (UIC, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) The challenges of detecting global change: Examples from the land, sea and air [Abstract]  (30 minutes)

4:45 Panel discussion (30 minutes)

5:30 Reception at Gallery 400: Opening of the Exhibition “Traduttore, Traditore” at Gallery 400. This show is curated by Karen Greenwalt and Katia Rivera.

Saturday November 4th Morning

Location: Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

9:00 Reporting from the Field II: Disposable Landscapes

  • Javairia Shahid (UIC, Art History) – Place, Heritage and Resistance in the Wakhan Corridor, Pakistan (10 minutes)
  • Ian Baird (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Geography), Kanokwan Manorom (Ubon Ratchathani University), Aurore Phenow (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Sirasak Gaja-Svasti(Ubon Ratchathani University), What about the Tributaries of the Tributaries? Fish Migrations, Fisheries, Dams and Local Knowledge along the Sebok River in Northeastern Thailand. [Abstract] (10 minutes)
  • Alize Arıcan (UIC, Anthropology), The Third Bridge and Northern Forests of Istanbul: A Case of Ecological Resistance. [Abstract] (10 minutes)
  • Ömür Harmanşah (UIC, Art History)- Disposable Landscapes, Disposable Lives: The Political Ecology of Water in Central Turkey (10 minutes)

9:50 Discussant: Sinan Erensü (Northwestern, Buffett Institute for Global Studies) (20 minutes)

10: 10 Panel discussion moderated by Sinan Erensü (35 minutes)

10:45 Coffee Break

11:00 Final Remarks and Keynote Speech

Bruno Latour (Sciences Po, Paris) Brecht: The Life of Lovelock (40 minutes)

12:00 Lunch 

Saturday November 4th Afternoon

1:00 Field trip to Southeast Environmental Task Force (South Side of Chicago) and the Calumet River, Petcoke Site

Intervention II: Ecology, Art, and Activism

2:00 Conversation at Southeast Environmental Task Force: Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy

Speakers: Peggy Salazar (Southeast Environmental Task Force) Brian Holmes (artist), Terry Evans (artist) and Samuel Corona (Activist, SETF) (40 minutes)

Moderator: Beate Geissler (UIC, Art)

3:00 Guided Walk: Calumet River Industrial Landscape and the Petcoke Site


7:00 Dinner for Participants at Experimental Station