The australasian posthumanities is a digital network of thinkers holding space across disciplines, timezones and travel bans. Community first, colonial capitalism last. For more information on seminars, reading groups and more, check out aposthumanities.org.
S2E9: Vivian Blaxell: Nuclear Cats
Vivian Blaxell’s brilliant essay, 'Nuclear Cats', was shortlisted for the Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2021. In this Q&A, we get deeper into the thought behind her writing, covering themes like beauty, gender, the animal / human divide, history and Australian culture. Vivian Blaxell is a trans pioneer, former teenage sex worker, mental health nurse and professor of history and politics specialising in Japan and East Asia, and the co-founder of Tiresias House (now the Gender Centre in Sydney). She now lives in Naarm/Melbourne and is working on a set of linked autobiographical essays (The Long After) of which ‘Nuclear Cats’ is one. You can read Vivian’s shortlisted essay online at Meanjin: https://meanjin.com.au/%E2%80%A2-essay/nuclear-cats/.
S2E8: Hannah McCann and Shirley Xue Chen: Gender & the Pursuit of Beauty
What are feminine masculinity and masculine femininity, and how do popular digital representations shape our notions of beauty, self-care, and work? In this episode, we speak to Dr Hannah McCann and Shirley Xue Chen about digital representations of gender and beauty in RuPaul's Drag Race and Queer Eye, as well as romance and gender in Australia's new season of The (Bisexual) Bachelorette. We also discuss their research on Beyond Skin Deep, (https://www.beautysalonproject.com/) an ARC-funded project considering the role of salon workers in the emotional lives of their clients. It also looks at how salon workers are in a unique position to help address important social issues such as family violence, mental health, and social isolation.
S2E7: Louise Richardson-Self: Hate speech against women online
Why are women so frequently targeted with hate speech online and what can we do about it? In this talk, we chat with Dr Louise Richardson-Self about her new book, Hate Speech against Women Online, published in 2021 with Rowman and Littlefield International. Dr Louise Richardson-Self is Lecturer in Philosophy & Gender Studies in the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania, and her new book investigates the woman-hostile norms of the English-speaking internet, the ‘rules’ of engagement in these social spaces, and the narratives we tell ourselves about who gets to inhabit such spaces. You can pick up a copy of Louise's book at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538147795/Hate-Speech-Against-Women-Online-Concepts-and-Countermeasures.
S2E6: Gary Hall: Writing against elitism with 'A Stubborn Fury'
In this Q&A we chat with Gary Hall about his book, A Stubborn Fury. This book offers a powerful and provocative look at the consequences of this inequality for English culture in particular. Focusing on the literary novel and the memoir, he investigates, in terms that are as insightful as they are irreverent, why so much writing in England is uncritically realist, humanist and anti-intellectual. Experimentally pirating McCarthy, Eribon and Louis, A Stubborn Fury addresses that most urgent of questions: what can be done about English literary culture’s addiction to the worldview of privileged, middle-class white men, very much to the exclusion of more radically inventive writing, including that of working-class, BAME and LGBTQIAP+ authors?
S2E5: Joanna Zylinska: 'AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams'
Can computers be creative? Is algorithmic art just a form of Candy Crush? Cutting through the smoke and mirrors surrounding computation, robotics and artificial intelligence, in this Q&A Joanna Zylinska argues that, to understand the promise of AI for the creative fields, we must not confine ourselves solely to the realm of aesthetics. Instead, we need to address the role and position of the human in the current technical setup – including the associated issues of labour, robotisation and, last but not least, extinction. Offering a critique of the socio-political underpinnings of AI, AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams raises poignant questions about the conditions of art making and creativity today.
S2E3: Francesca Ferrando: Posthumanism and the Everyday
How can we implement posthuman ways of existing in everyday life? And what does it mean to be 'posthuman' in Australasia? Dr Elese Dowden discussed these questions with leading Posthuman scholar Dr Francesca Ferrando, Founder of the Global Posthuman Network and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Philosophy at New York University. Our conversations revolve around her recent book, Philosophical Posthumanism, and we consider how we might apply ideas in posthumanism to our everyday lives in Australasia.