Thanks to generous sponsorship of the Research Unit of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, materia was started in Fall Quarter 2014 with the aim of opening a new discursive space on campus for sustained intellectual exchange on the decentering of "the human" in the humanities. We are particularly pleased with the truly interdisciplinary nature of the research group; our regular participants come from the departments of Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Comparative Literature (the pillars of the group), as well as from English, Modern Thought and Literature, German Studies, Anthropology, and Music. Faculty, graduate students, visiting scholars, and undergraduates are counted among our members. Our Latin Americanist-centered, inclusive approach has proven felicitous: a combination of theory, fiction, and other cultural products from the region and from elsewhere enriches our reflections. In our first year, each quarter focused on a specific critical current within post-anthropocentrism: new materialisms, animal studies, and posthumanism. In 2015-16, we will widen the scope of our discussion but hope to maintain the interdisciplinary spirit and session formats of the first year.
Our session formats alternate to include discussions of readings moderated by faculty and graduate students, presentations of works-in-progress, and talks by guest speakers. Before all of our meetings we ask that our members read pre-circulated texts; either as background for talks and discussion or as the main conversation topic, they provide continuity and build-up across our sessions.
materia is a platform where the research interests of faculty and graduate students grow and take shape. We strive to exert a positive and significant impact on campus and within the field at large.