On the afternoon of May the 25th, 2021, the Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-19): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence (UrbTerr) project team at The University of Birmingham had the wonderful opportunity to virtually meet and engage in posthumanist critical theoretical conversations with Professor Emerita Nina Lykke (Department of Thematic Studies (TEMA) – Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden & UrbTerr advisory panel member).
Having invited Professor Lykke in the context of UrbTerr’s expert seminar series – intimate reading and research seminars that bring the project’s team members into contact with various academic experts working on urban terrorism, violence, the more-than-human, and memories, memorials, and remembrance – the team members were joined by a select group of transdisciplinary artists and researchers from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and South Africa.
Focusing on Lykke’s 2019 Catalyst research article, “Co-Becoming with Diatoms: Between posthuman mourning and wonder in algae research” and how posthumanist theories, conceptual engagements, and methodologies can assist us with thinking-with more-than-human phenomena and the (im)materiality of (counter)terrorist violence and its human and nonhuman actors, the afternoon started with a welcome and introduction by Dr Katharina Karcher, UrbTerr’s PI, and Dr Evelien Geerts, UrbTerr’s Research Fellow.
Professor Lykke then got the actual conversation going with a video poem on the Fur Formation in Northern Denmark that forms the backdrop of her Catalyst article and her forthcoming book, Vibrant Death: A Posthuman Phenomenology of Mourning (Bloomsbury 2022), which she also gave a detailed theoretical overview of. Discussing topics as diverse as Lykke’s own conceptualisation of ‘vibrant death’ that breaks through the dichotomies of mind/body, animate/inanimate, and of matter/not of matter; the potential usage of narrative methods as a way of engaging with mourning and grief; queer critiques of chromonormativity and the Western modern idea of linear, progressive time; how (un)grievable bodies are made; violence and bio-/necropolitics; and speculative feminist methodologies, all participants learned why it matters to try and think-with processes of (non-)mattering, the hauntological, and the more-than-human.
These expert seminars and conversations are to be continued, so do keep an eye out for new posts on this blog!
Nina Lykke, Professor Emerita of Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden, and Adjunct Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark. Participated in the building of Feminist Studies in Scandinavia and Europe more broadly for many years. Has recently co-founded the international networks for Queer Death Studies, and for Ecocritical and Decolonial Research. Current research interests: feminist theory; queering of cancer, death, and mourning in posthuman, queerfeminist, materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenography; poetic writing. Author of numerous books, see Cosmodolphins (with M. Bryld, 2000), Feminist Studies (2010), and Vibrant Death. A Posthuman Phenomenology of Mourning (Bloomsbury 2022). Has recently published in journals such as Australian Feminist Studies; NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research; Catalyst. Feminism, Theory, Technoscience; Environmental Humanities; Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture; Kerb Journal; and Lambda Nordica.
More information about Professor Emerita Nina Lykke and her work can be found on her website: https://ninalykke.net/.