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Dirt: A New Materialist Approach

Title: Dirt: A New Materialist Approach

Date: Nov 17, 2016

Time: 7pm - 9pm

Location: Traill College - Bagnani Hall

Address:  310 London St, Peterborough, ON K9H 2Z4

Price: Free


The 2016 Elaine Stavro Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Theory, Politics & Gender welcomes Dr. Diana Coole, professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, London University.

In recent years there’s been a lot of interest in a new materialism. Central to this approach is its insistence that critical thinking needs to return to matter. But what does this mean? What sort of materiality is at stake here? How does this `new’ approach differ from older forms of materialism? This talk addressed such questions by focusing on a particular kind of matter: dirt. Dirt has become a topic of interdisciplinary fascination in its own right over recent years. But what do new materialist theories of and co-performances with dirt bring to the topic that is new? Inversely, what do their understanding and encounters with dirt reveal about a distinctively new materialist approach? By exploiting the ambiguous senses dirt carries - as soil and dust; as rubbish and waste; as an artistic resource that manifests `agency’ - my talk focuses on some key new materialist themes: the nature of material agency; the relationship between the human and the non-human; a critical theory of contemporary matter-flows from the perspective of their environmental harm. 

Dr. Diana Coole is professor of Political and Social Theory, Birkbeck University of London. Her research interests include modern and contemporary political and social theory. Her work has focused primarily on the critical theory of the early Frankfurt School and its influences (Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Weber), existential phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty in particular), poststructuralism (especially Foucault) and feminism. Professor Coole is the author of several articles and books including, Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto.

Event Contact Info: Alison Scholl ;

Earlier Event: November 17
Meet Mike Ranta! Public talk and Q&A
Later Event: November 17
Market Hall Presents Philip Sayce