The futures of agency
Exploring the liminal spaces between action and responsibility
25 October 2023 (Wednesday), 11:00-13:00, imagine2

The future of academic work in a more-than- human world

Using Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis as a reference point and source inspiration, this paper explores “alternative knowledge making ecologies” (Sørensen & Traweek 2022:35) that address some of the current challenges facing universities and the kind of knowledge they generate. Bacon's utopian narrative captured the zeitgeist of his time and presented a vision of science and society that crystallized the Man-Nature split that became embedded in modern academic institutions. This paper engages the work of scholars that link climate change concerns to the life of plants, animals, and other organisms to critically reassess the man vs. nature paradigm that permeates modern knowledge building. How might multispecies studies help us rethink the links between academia and society and reimagine "Solomon's House" or "College of the Six Days' Work"? Most modernist imaginaries on which political intervention and social change were built on metanarratives of progress and development. Currently, questions about the future that are characterized by a sense of crisis, uncertainty and precariousness, and inadequate political alternatives. This paper builds on the research in anthropology and STS about imaginaries, performativity, and hope to co-create alternatives and new narratives about universities that carefully consider intersectional inequalities and multispecies entanglements.

Marie Curie Fellow
Norwegian University of Science and Technology