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Isabelle Stengers

Experimental Speculations/Speculative Experimentations # 5:
Isabelle Stengers: Narrative Speculations
Workshop 18.5. 17-30-19.30, 19.5. 10.30-13h, 14.15.-15.45h
Ort: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 18.5. Konferenzraum 2, 19.5. Konferenzraum 3

Literatur auf Iversity unter 

The workshop takes science fiction (or ‘speculative fiction’) as a looking glass on to modern practices of knowledge production in the humanities as well as in the natural sciences. Could the craft of speculative imagining, as practiced by SF writers, be a missing dimension in the humanities, dominated today by the sad refrain "we no longer can" - or "we shall not be duped"? With modern physics the art of "thought experiments" was born too. Are SF novels somewhat analogous to such thought experiments, the differences between the two maybe being as telling as the analogy? Such an hypothesis may well lead to question the current divide between objective knowledge and critical thought and bring some light on both its political implications and consequences. In the workshop we will focus on as yet unpublished work by Isabelle Stengers on science fiction as well as a recent SF novel – David Brin's Existence. In this way we will engage with crucial conceptions that she has developed throughout her work, such as ‘ecology of practices’ and ‘cosmopolitics’, too.

Isabelle Stengers is Professor of Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Her work in the history and theory of the experimental sciences focuses on scientific practices, emphasizing their singular adventures and politics rather than presenting them as the triumph of objective knowledge. She has written numerous books, among them La Nouvelle Alliance (1979) with Ilya Prigogine, The Invention of Modern Science (1993/2000),  Cosmopolitics I and II (2010/11), and Thinking with Whitehead (2007/2011). A recent collection of essays has been translated into German, Spekulativer Konstruktivismus (2008) which explores the link between ecology of practices and a speculative, adventurous constructivism developed in relation with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Alfred Whitehead, William James, and the anthropology of Bruno Latour.

Reading for the Workshop:
I. Stengers: “The challenge of political ontology” (unpublished manuscript)
I. Stengers: “Science fiction and the Second Renaissance” (In: Steven Meyer (ed.): Cambridge Companion to Literature and Science (Forthcoming)
David Brin: Existence (Tor Books, 2012)

Further Reading
I. Stengers: The Invention of Modern Sciences, Univ. of Minnesota Press (2000),
I. Stengers: Cosmopolitics, Univ. of Minnesota Press (I: 2010, II: 2011)
I. Stengers: ‚The Cosmopolitical Proposal’. In B. Latour/P. Weibel: Making Things Public. Cambridge/London: MIT, 2005