Skip to content

Toggle service links

Posthuman Methods - Part I

Monday, 23 June 2014, 17:00 - 19:00

The Open University in London, Camden Centre, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP,+Camde...

This roundtable, co-sponsored by the Enactments Programme and IPS, is part of the 'Methods in Insecure Worlds' Seminar series.

This event is the 4th seminar in the series: Methods in Insecure Worlds, a collaboration between The Open University, the University of Edinburgh, King's College London, and the University of Manchester. Co-sponsored by the Enactments Research Programme (CCIG) & the journal International Political Sociology, this seminar aims at exploring post-human methods.

What are posthuman methods? And, how do they interfere in lived worlds? This seminar brings together an interest in innovating methods with debates about the posthuman condition and the limits of humanism. The starting point is an understanding of methods as devices in and through which worlds are brought into being. Methods are more than techniques for extracting data from the world; they interfere in social and political life. Hence the double question: if some lives are lived under posthuman conditions, then (a) how can we know these practices as posthuman and (b) how is the posthuman condition methodologically enacted?

In exploring posthuman methods the workshop unpacks tensions between humanist, anti-humanist and post-humanist understandings of social and political worlds. Instead of focusing on debates in philosophy, the seminar engages these tensions as they are played out and given form in the development of methods of collecting data, knowing, and writing.

Key questions are:

  • How to write about worlds in which distinctions between subjects and objects, between active and passive, between agency and structure are challenged?
  • What is knowledge without ‘author’?
  • What are posthuman data — data that do not reiterate sharp distinctions between humanity and nature or human and technological?
  • What methods are creating posthuman conditions?


The aim of the seminar is to reflect on methodological implications of growing references to actor-network theory, posthumanism, complexity, big data, and new materialism in international studies, and the social sciences more generally. In addition, through discussing methods the seminar seeks to open for debate the currently silent tension between the support and critique of (international) humanitarianism and the posthuman and materialist questioning of subject driven international history and practice.

The seminar has two parts:

- the present roundtable discussion on ‘Methodologically enacting posthumanism’ in the evening of 23 June (17:00-19:00)

- a workshop the next morning (10:00-13:00) with participants picking up and working through some of the key themes raised the evening before: futher details about the workshop here.



Monday 23 June 2014, 17:00-19:00

Roundtable: Methodologically Enacting Posthumanism


Stefan Herbrechter (University of Coventry): Posthumanism, education and methodology

Estrid Sørensen (University of Bochum): Topography as a method for writing distributed existences

Jef Huysmans (Open University): Post, Human, Method