Faculty of Social Sciences
This grouping explores what difference it might make - theoretically, empirically, ethically, politically - to take seriously the nonhuman dimensions of the practices and matters of concern that animate collectives. Although in part the product of well-established and ongoing conversations, this current incarnation began at the start of the 2006/2007 academic year with a series of reading meetings addressing the question of what (different) sorts of things a material politics might involve. Specifically we are currently pursuing how a material politics that emerges out of a focus on the materialities of practice compares with one that is shaped by a more political economy type approach. In attempting to think through this and other questions, we are and will be drawing inspiration and readings from a wide range of sources including Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, Feminisms, Political Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Post-Structuralism, and Environmental Studies as well as Geography, especially inasmuch as they articulate aspects of an empirical philosophy. In addition to the reading meetings, the cluster will also be operating as (i) an arena in which those participating can share works in progress in various forms, (ii) a fora where we will be joined by invited speakers (including Professors Jane Bennett and William Connolly in 2007), and (iii) a space for collaboration in which we can experiment with generating interesting relationships both within and outside of the OU around relevant themes (which currently include a series of projects centred around the arts-materialities nexus).
Convenor: Dr Stephen Hinchliffe