RMeS Summer School 2018: New Materialism

See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me: Material and Affective Turns in Media Studies

When? 20, 21 & 22 June 2018
Where? Radboud University Nijmegen
For? PhD Candidates and RMa Students
Organizers? Prof. Anneke Smelik (coordinator), Dr Christophe van Eecke, Dr Vincent Meelberg, Dr László Munteán, Dr Martijn Stevens and Lianne Toussaint.

Confirmed speakers: Professor Sean Cubitt and Dr Carolyn Pedwell

The past ten years have yielded a variety of changes in media culture. Ever new technologies of online and off-line communication, Internet-based participatory communities, the rise of television as an art form, the increasing accessibility of VR glasses and personal drones, to name only a few, have engendered new modes of communication, entertainment, and engaging with technology. Simultaneously, traditional distinctions between the digital and the material, human and non-human have become ever more untenable. The RMeS Summer School seeks to address these pertinent issues by focusing on two major theoretical movements within the humanities and the social sciences in the past decade: the new-materialist turn and the affective turn. What are the implications of theories of new materialism and affect for media studies? In what ways do these two trends help us conceive of recent developments in both old and new media?

A first major thrust challenging the conceptual framework of the linguistic turn comes from an array of theories collectively known as the material turn. Revisiting conventional understandings of matter as socially constructed and inert, the material turn – and new materialism in particular – studies matter in terms of its agential potential, not simply constructed by but also constitutive of social and cultural practices. Second, there has been a surge of scholarly inquiry into dimensions of the human experience that cannot be solely grasped through the theoretical apparatus of the linguistic turn geared towards structures of discourse and representation. Scholarship conducted in the spirit of the so-called affective turn foregrounds affect, feeling, and emotion as constitutive forces of human and non-human actions and interrelations. Although often used interchangeably, the polyvalent body of work on affect, feeling, and emotion by neuroscientists, psychologists, social scientists and humanities researchers demonstrates the diversity of approaches to these phenomena while offering new venues of interdisciplinary scholarship. It is the combination of new materialism and affect theory, in particular, that may shed new light on how the agency of singular objects as well as the affective, social and material connections between various bodies, forces and spaces influence the ways in which human subjects experience, shape, and express their world and ideas. The RMeS Summer School aims to be such a venue for exploring the triangular interrelation of new materialism, affect, and media.

Organized by the Department of Cultural Studies of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.
Organizing team: Prof. Anneke Smelik (coordinator), Dr. Christophe van Eecke, Dr. Vincent Meelberg, Dr. László Munteán, Dr. Martijn Stevens, and Lianne Toussaint.