The very concept of nature has been the subject of thorough critique for quite a while. From a Western deconstructive perspective, nature is a signifier standing for naive immediacy or reactionary normativity. Poststructuralist and queer paradigms have shifted from an idea of nature as a being and of the natural as a given to a conception of them as the effects of discursive, performative practices. These critiques marked a turning point in the centuries-long debate on the concept of nature, pluralizing and de-essentializing it — hence, shifting natures.

While these advancements are paramount, such a deconstructive frame has also meant overemphasizing the discursive element at the expense of the materiality of power relations and embodied experiences. As Stacy Alaimo argues, ‘one of the most unfortunate legacies of poststructuralist and postmodern feminism has been the accelerated “flight from nature” fueled by rigid commitments to social constructionism.’ Within the semantic constellation of nature, which terms and concepts facilitate a connection with the material dimension, without replicating essentialist, normative, ultimately reactionary positions? What can be the epistemological, political, and affective investment in retrieving references to nature, after its deconstruction? The symposium Shifting Natures addresses these questions in three interlocked areas: Environment; Artificial Intelligence; and Gender.

In English

10:30 Introduction by A. Bazzoni, F. Buongiorno, X. Chiaramonte

Section I

11:00 – 11:30 Maria Rosaria Marella
Deconstructing the Anthropocentrism of Law: From the Legal Subject to the Commons and Back

11:30 – 12:00 Ben Woodard
Mickey and the Axolotl: Philosophical Anthropology’s False Biology

12:00 – 12:30 Pietro Omodeo (online)
What is Dead and What is Alive of Renaissance Visions of Nature, and Matter

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by Xenia Chiaramonte

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch Break

Panel 1
14:30 – 14:45 Frank Carber
Crossing the Digital Borderspace

14:45 – 15:00 Constantinos Taliotis
Attuning with Subnature: Lingering out of Place

15:00 – 15:15 Nathaniel LaCelle-Peterson
The Beaver’s Environment: Innis’s Dam

15:15 – 15:30 Gabriel Menotti
On Seeing Monuments: Volumetric Media and the Framing of Nature

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by Federico Boem

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

Section II
Artificial Intelligence

16:30 – 17:00 Özgün Eylül İşcen
AI is not a Metaphor, but an Allegory

17:00 – 17:30 Cristina Voto
Disembodying Data: Shifting Identities in Algorithmic Society

17:30 – 18:00 Silvano Zipoli Caiani
What Lies Beyond Opacity: How Metaphors Fuel Our Doubts and Fears About Artificial Intelligence

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by Federica Buongiorno

19:00 Screening and Discussion
I am an Arara
(directed by Mariana Lacerda and Rivane Neuenschwander, Brazil, 2023, 28′)

Followed by a discussion with director Mariana Lacerda and Peter Pál Pelbart

Moderated by Marlon Miguel

Section III

11:00 – 11:30 Charlotte Ross (online)
Born This Way? Negotiating ‘Unnatural’ Gender and Desire in Queer French, British and Italian Novels of the 1920s and 1930s

11:30 – 12:00 Carlotta Cossutta
Political Landscape of Bodies: Feminist Inquiries into Nature, Culture, and Power

12:00 – 12:30 Alison Sperling

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by Alberica Bazzoni

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break

Panel 2

14:30 – 14:45 Jessie Hock
Venus the Penis

14:45 – 15:00 Alice Parrinello
Out of the Closet, Into the Pools! Trans Fluidity in Roberta Torre’s Le favolose

15:00 – 15:15 Luca Lou Pinelli
A Modest and Serious Proposal to the Queers: The Shifting Nature of Identification

15:15 – 15:30 Myriam Sauer
The Discovery of Silence: Transition as a Metamorphosis of Nature

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by B Camminga

16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break

Panel 3

16:30 – 16:45 David Bastidas-Bolaños
Deleuze & Guattari’s Naturalism: Symbiotic Life, Living Technologies

16:45 – 17:00 Chiara Montalti
Un/natural Bodies: How Disability ‘Haunts’ the Environmental Discourse

17:00 – 17:15 Kyriaki (Korina) Pavlidou
Shifting Legal Ontologies: Moving from Substance to Process

17:15 – 17:30 Samuele Sartori
Between the Biological Body and the Hardware: Habits, Neuroplasticity, and Artificial Intelligence

Followed by a discussion
Moderated by Natascia Tosel

18:00 Closing Remarks

Organized by
Federica Buongiorno, Alberica Bazzoni, and Xenia Chiaramonte

David Bastidas-Bolaños
Frank Carber
Carlotta Cossutta
Jessie Hock
Özgün Eylül İşcen
Nathaniel LaCelle-Peterson
Maria Rosaria Marella
Gabriel Menotti
Chiara Montalti
Pietro Omodeo
Alice Parrinello
Kyriaki (Korina) Pavlidou
Luca Lou Pinelli
Charlotte Ross
Samuele Sartori
Myriam Sauer
Alison Sperling
Constantinos Taliotis
Cristina Voto
Ben Woodard
Silvano Zipoli Caiani

KV Shifting Natures

Image Credit © Claudia Peppel