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Home / EcoMaterialisms - Scales of Matter(ing) Graduate Conference

EcoMaterialisms - Scales of Matter(ing) Graduate Conference

When May 13, 2016 11:50 AM to
May 14, 2016 11:50 AM
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University of California, Davis

May 13-14, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (George Mason University, English)

Conference Website:



Scales delineate zones, trajectories, bodies, spaces, and intensities.  Whether scales are large or small, go up or down, they form territories with fractal properties that disrupt the traditional relations between inside and outside, macro and micro, friend and enemy.  Simultaneously incongruent, fragmented, and interrelated, scales complicate questions of legibility, knowledge, and power.  Rather than the pre-given contours of matter, scales are constructed and performed by the various actors for whom they matter.  Making scales is about creating, inhabiting, and containing worlds, and the ways those worlds build up on one another and in one another—worlds that are situated, vulnerable, experimental, and never innocent.  With this in mind, “EcoMaterialisms: Scales of Matter(ing)” will bring interdisciplinary graduate work to bear on questions of scale in new materialist discourse and practice.  As this field attempts to think the relation between matter and meaning, we ask: how are scales structured and negotiated through discursive and material practices?  What kinds of scales do these practices produce?  What kinds of beings, relations, and affective states do particular forms of scale enable or exclude?  What kinds of politics do different forms of scale make possible?


About the Inter-UC EcoMaterialisms Collective:

The EcoMaterialisms Collective began during the 2014-15 academic year at UC Irvine, representing graduate students and faculty from nine departments across the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. During that year, we conducted an interdisciplinary engagement with the fields of ecocriticism, critical environmental studies, and the so-called new materialisms. This work culminated in a graduate conference titled “EcoMaterialisms: Organizing Life and Matter” (for more info:

A result of that conference was this year’s inter-UC collaboration with participants from Davis, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. This year’s trajectory falls along a three-part nexus: histories and theories of the organism in the fall quarter, of ecologies in the winter quarter, and of cosmologies in the spring quarter. Our goal is to inquire into the role of scale in new materialist discourse and practice, what structures it, what it excludes, what’s at stake, and so on.


About the Keynote Speaker - Zakiyyah Iman Jackson  

We are very excited to announce that Zakiyyah Iman Jackson will be delivering the keynote address for the second annual EcoMaterialisms conference, “Scales of Matter(ing).” Dr. Jackson is Assistant professor of Black Feminist Theory, Literature, and Criticism in the English department at George Mason University. Here is a description of her research interests:

“My book in progress, tentatively titled The Blackness of Space Between Matter and Meaning, argues that key Black Atlantic literary, visual, and philosophical texts generate a critical praxis of humanity, paradigms of relationality, and modes of embodiment that alternately expose, alter, or reject the nexus of ‘race’ and ‘species’ discourse in Western science and philosophy. Reading the existential predicament of modern racial blackness through and against the human-animal distinction in Western philosophy and science reveals not only the mutual imbrication of ‘race’ and ‘species’ in Western thought but also invites a reconsideration of the extent to which exigencies of racialization have preconditioned and prefigured modern discourses governing the nonhuman. Ultimately, The Blackness of Space reveals the pernicious peculiarity of both prevailing foundational conceptions of ‘the human’ rooted in Renaissance and Enlightenment humanism and current ‘multiculturalist’ alternatives. What emerges from this questioning is an emphatically queer sense of being/knowing/feeling human, one that necessarily disrupts the foundations of the current hegemonic mode of the Human.”

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