The Posthumanities Hub is a collaboratory for new humanities and more-than-human humanities, a feminist incubator for symbiotic arts and science networks aiming to build bridges and create new alliances, a haven for guest researchers and practices of posthumanities and, simply, a testing ground for new shared ideas on how to co-exist, work and think better together in a troubled world.
Founded by Professor Cecilia Åsberg at Linköping University (LiU), the Posthumanities Hub has been a transformational force of the societally relevant, extra-disciplinary, super-networked, new humanities in Sweden and beyond since 2008. Over the years, we have combined philosophy, arts and sciences with extrovert forms of new humanities, with laboratory studies, academic activism, and a far-reaching societal commitment to democracy and co-existential ethics in multispecies practice. Professor Åsberg and her Hub have introduced feminist new materialisms, cyborg- or technohumanities, bio/eco art and citizen humanities, medical and environmental humanities in the Swedish-international scene by way of feminist curiosity, critique, creativity, and extra-academic collaboration.
Research at the Posthumanities Hub rests on the assumption that humans are deeply entangled in complicated worlding and wording practices, and that the highly specialized analytical tools of the human sciences need to be recalibrated in order to meet up with worldly and wordy changes. They need to be applied to a wider set of such entangled phenomena, especially to emerging (trans)biologies, science cultures, changing environments and embodied identities that challenge patterns of gender, age, ethnicity, race, nationality, class, kinship, and sexuality. This does not imply neither a postfeminist nor a postbiological stance, but, on the contrary, a critical and creative framework for performative (generative) accounts of technoscientific or other naturecultural practices across disciplines and categories.
We take as our starting point that interdisciplinary approaches – such as those developed within feminist science studies, gender methodology, postcolonial studies, queer theory, technoscience studies, body studies, popular engagements with science as well as in labs, in crip theory, and animal studies – have already changed the scope of the human sciences (humanities and social science). As humans are entangled in intricate relationships with technology and science, with animals and the environment, long-held anthropocentric theories of the human and the humanisms have become increasingly difficult to sustain. At the same time, we seem to urgently need an ethics of worldly and wordy encounters to be able to account for the effects, powers, and impacts of human-induced climate changes. Everyday life, cultural research, feminist theory, and science in action are to some extent instructing us in this regard, but also imaginative speculation, biological art, and poetry may help us in this endeavour.
Please Bring Strange Things
The onto-methodological practices, travelling theories, networked existence, and ethos of the Posthumanities Hub – where we bring the trouble ‘home’ – can be strangely recognized in a poem from Ursula Le Guin’s (1985) book Always Coming Home:
Please bring strange things.Ursula Le Guin (1985), Always Coming Home
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
And the ways you go be the lines of your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
And your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
Walk mindfully, well-loved one,
Walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
Be always coming home.