[csaa-forum] Reminder: CFP for "Witnessing After the Human" Special Issue of Angelaki

Michael Richardson michael.richardson at unsw.edu.au
Tue Oct 20 12:28:43 ACST 2020

Dear colleagues,

***apologies for cross-posting***

A reminder that this call for papers closes on 1 November.


Angelaki Special Issue on Witnessing After the Human
Volume 27, Issue 2 (2022)

Michael Richardson
Michael.Richardson at unsw.edu.au
Senior Research Fellow (ARC DECRA)
University of New South Wales

Magdalena Zolkos
Zolkos at em.uni-frankfurt.de
Humboldt Research Fellow
Goethe University Frankfurt

Until recently, scholarship on testimonial practice in literature, media and culture has assumed that witnessing applies primarily to a human subject. This is evident in the evolution of the meaning of the word ‘witness’ in public discourses and scholarly literature alike: from representative of a persecuted minority who addresses a community of nations to testify to their plight, to the survivor of atrocity, to the figure of an empathetic humanitarian activist or social media user, who is proximate to mass violence, though not its direct target. In politics, law, religion and science, it has been taken for granted that bearing witness is a human capacity, often imagined as a verbal act of narrativization of violence. For some, that act included production of evidence and demonstration of truth; for others, it implied a proximity to catastrophic events, and had ethical implications of making demands on the listeners. Recently, witnessing has been extended to non-human subjects, such as plants, animals and artificial intelligences; re-imagined through diverse scientific and technological vistas; as well as applied to inanimate entities, such as cultural productions, geological items, or, as in the ‘forensic aesthetics’ approach, to human remains. This extension of the status of the witness and practices of witnessing to the nonhuman has profound implications for witnessing theory.

With this Special Issue of Angelaki we seek to create a platform for articulating and exploring the meanings of witnessing ‘after the human’ from diverse disciplinary perspectives. We ask about the epistemological, aesthetic, political and ethical effects of extending the practice of witnessing from the human subject to diverse categories of non-human beings, such as animals, plants, cyborgs, machines, and inanimate objects, as endowed with a capacity akin to ‘testimonial affordance’ and as potential producers of testimonial knowledge. We explore the possibilities within contemporary theorizing of testimony to reveal and to work beyond the limits of the humanist imaginary of the witness as a historical agent, often in tandem with thinking from feminist, queer, Indigenous, disability, critical race and whiteness studies that has done so much to expose the limitations and violences inherent to ‘the human’ as a framework for subjectivity.  Finally, we seek to uncouple the association between witnessing and speech, or verbal articulation, through attention to the role of senses, silence, affect, gesture, code, materiality and other communicative modes in testimonial practice. From the perspective of witnessing ‘after the human’, testimony appears as a prosthetic practice, both because of the importance of technological and machinic mediations of testimony today, and, more generally, as an example of prosthetikos: the process of adding on to the body.

We invite cross-disciplinary contributions, focusing on the practices, processes and subjects of witnessing from the angle of (broadly defined) post-humanities. We are interested in philosophic, literary, cultural, sociological, political, ethnographic, and other, engagements with the question of witnessing ‘after the human’. The topics for submissions include, but are not limited to:

  *   Animals and witnessing;
  *   Plants and witnessing;
  *   Inanimate witnessing, including ‘memory objects’ and ‘trauma objects’;
  *   Machines and witnessing; cyborg testimony;
  *   Environmental witnessing; climate change testimony, including ‘planetary grief’ and solastalgic perspectives on witnessing;
  *   Critical epistemology of witnessing; testimonial credibility and truth;
  *   The time of witnessing; non-/post-human testimonial temporalities;
  *   Testimonial aesthetics and poetics of the post-human;
  *   ‘Decolonizing witnessing’; critical race perspectives on testimony;
  *   Queering testimony;
  *   Sensorial perspectives on witnessing; non-occulocentric witnessing, testimony and listening, testimony and touch;
  *   Silence and witnessing; gestural witnessing;
  *   Imaginal testimony;
  *   Neuroscience and witnessing;
  *   Technology and witnessing;
  *   Science and witnessing; algorithmic witnessing; witnessing through data;
  *   Social media technologies and witnessing.


  *   Indications of interest are invited by November 01, 2020. The indications of interest should include a title and ca. 500-words-long abstract.
  *   The editors will communicate to the authors whether the abstracts have been accepted by December 01, 2020.
  *   The authors are requested to submit their articles by June 01, 2021.
  *   The editorial and blind peer-review process will take place after June 01, with final manuscripts to be completed by October 01, 20201.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.



Dr Michael Richardson
Senior Research Fellow (ARC DECRA)
Co-Director, Media Futures Hub
School of the Arts & Media
University of New South Wales

michael.richardson at unsw.edu.au<mailto:michael.richardson at unsw.edu.au>

Gestures of Testimony: Torture, Trauma, and Affect in Literature. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. http://bloomsbury.com/9781501315800/

I acknowledge and pay my respects to the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, particularly the Bedegal, Bidjigal and Gadigal Peoples, and their elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded, and the struggle for justice continues.
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