Manifesto part II

Yesterday our second meeting took place. This time we met in Leiden and discussed texts from Latour, Stone, Leopold and Donaldson & Kymlicka. Starting with Pandora’s Hope, and an almost completely new group of Latourists, we tried to answer the question asked to Latour in the first chapter of the book: do you believe in reality? Finding a clear and concise answer to this question seemed difficult and we were uncertain with what we were left with when we would abandon Latour’s Cave (see Manifesto Part I). Is the middle ground between hardcore skepticism and Science (with a capital S) stable enough for us as beings thrown into a unstable and uncertain existence? Moreover, what’s left of morality when we would unbox our comfortable blackboxes? Next to these epistemological and moral worries we talked about the following subjects:

  • Translation: how does Latour use the concept of translation and to what extent are you conscious of your own translative work?
  • The relationship between matters of concern and unboxed blackboxes.
  • The seeming lack of freedom, morality and responsibility in Latour’s work.
  • Rights for nonhuman animals and things. Should these be merely negative or also positive (Razian duties, for instance)?
  • Something we touched upon but needs to be elaborated is the role of art and the potential of creation/creativity.

My interpretation and translation of the statements for our Manifesto is as follows:

  • Listen again to the wolves’ howl (Leopold).
  • Black boxes are like comfortable straitjackets.
  • Fuck the Cave!

Please respond if I mistranslated the statements, or if you think I simply left one out, and we see each other next month!


Someone had an interesting comment about sustainability. Please post your thoughts! Other input is more than welcome as well.

2 thoughts on “Manifesto part II

  1. Great discussion on 15 March, everyone, and thanks to Gijs for summarising and keeping us on track! The circulating attendance, locations, and references of the reading group thus far cannot but be performative…

    My lingering thoughts concern responsibility and response-ability, to which we shall return on 15 April when we ponder, inter alia, Haraway’s naturecultures in the context of Latour’s actor-network theory. For now, let me follow up with a tangent (mea culpa!):

    through a delegated response to Nele’s question about the intention or motivation of the wolf’s howl so vividly evoked by Leopold in “Thinking Like A Mountain”, which leads me to this friendly amendment to one of the manifesto propositions above:

    Listen anew to the wolves’ howls!

    Werewolves aside, perhaps the collective might howl rather than speak, towards a more resounding response-ability/responsibility before we fall, once again and human head over modern heels, into the traps born of the institutionalised comforts of linguistic straitjackets.


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