Rethinking Life [2014-2015]

From 2014 to 2015


About

‘Life is a term, none more familiar. Any one almost would take it for an affront to be asked what he meant by it. And yet, if it comes in question, whether a plant, that lies ready formed in the seed, have life; whether the embryo in an egg before incubation, or a man in a swoon without sense or motion, be alive or no; it is easy to perceive that a clear distinct settled idea does not always accompany the use of so known a word as that of life is.’ Since John Locke perceived the lack of clarity accompanying the word ‘life’, the complexity and significance of this term has continued to exercise thinkers across the Humanities and Social Sciences, and, indeed, thinkers working at the interface between the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences. Recent work in political theory, theology, philosophy of science, and literary and cultural theory, has sought to ask, for example, whether ‘life’ can be ascribed to objects that do not appear naturally to have it; how ‘life’ ought to be sustained and how administered; and whether, indeed, this often indistinct and unsettled term can be usefully defined at all. ‘Rethinking Life’ addresses these and further questions across disciplinary boundaries.

In Michaelmas term, the group will function as a reading group, exploring readings that focus on particular questions and understandings of ‘life’. The readings have been combined so as to juxtapose different disciplinary approaches to cognate questions. In our final session, we will discuss a paper written by the convenors in review of the term’s work, a paper that may then, in its final form, be distributed to Lent term speakers. There will be further readings presented by invited speakers in Lent term.

Conveners

Conveners

Dr Ross Wilson (Lecturer in Criticism, Faculty of English)
Dr Angela Breitenbach (Lecturer in Philosophy, Faculty of Philisophy)
Simone Kotva (Faculty of Divinity)
Mark Breeze (Faculty of Architecture and History of Art)
 

Faculty Advisors

Prof Steve Connor (Grace 2 Porfessor of English, Faculty of English)
Dr Catherine Pickstock (Faculty of Divinity)
Professor Joel Robbins (Sigrid Rausing Professor of Social Anthopology, Dept of Archaelogy and Anthropology)

Past events

 

Rethinking Life
Organic Forms
08 October 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading group at Rethinking Life

Knowing Life
22 October 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading group at Rethinking Life

The Ordinary and the Extraordinary
05 November 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading group at Rethinking Life

Animisms
19 November 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading group at Rethinking Life

Review of the Term
03 December 2014, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Reading group at Rethinking Life

Why Do We Treat Ourselves Less Well Than Our Pets?
14 January 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Patrick Bateson (Cambridge) -Rethinking Life

Life as Technicality
28 January 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Sarah Franklin (Cambridge) -Rethinking Life

Rethinking Life -Title tbc
18 February 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building. NB Different date*

Alison Stone (Lancaster) -Thinking Life

CANCELLED: Reading Week
25 February 2015,
Rethinking Life as Process
11 March 2015, Room S3,3rd Floor, Alison Richard Building. NB different room today*

John Dupré (Exeter) -Rethinking Life

Words for Life
22 April 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Reading group ~Rethinking Life

Versions of the Fetish
06 May 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Reading group ~ Rethinking Life

CANCELLED-Ethnography and Architecture
20 May 2015, Room SG2, Alison Richard Building.

Reading group~ Rethinking Life

Romanticism and the Experience of Experiment
10 June 2015, Room S1, First floor. Alison Richard Building. NB Different date, time and room

Robert Mitchell (Duke) ~ Rethinking Life