Cultures of Risk: Management, Speculation, Symptom
A Fictions of Threat, Americanist Symposium
Hosted by the School of English and the Sussex Centre for American Studies at the University of Sussex
30th June-2nd July 2016
Calculations of risk and quantifications of uncertainty are deeply embedded in the production of modernity. From the Cold War, through the 1970s to the present, however, practices of risk-assessment have expanded and intensified exponentially. Since the financial meltdown of 2007/8, risk has become a defining discourse across a huge range of intersecting fields. Stretching far beyond economics, notions of risk and its management frame our understanding of everything from the ecological to the biopolitical, from virtual realities to the materialities of migration, displacement and conflict. Calculations of risk pervade our daily lives and decisions in myriad forms: actuarial, resource-based, and sexual, alongside many other things.
But if risk is always necessarily speculative, how might this occlude a sense of its genealogies? What is risk a symptom of? Does it have a prehistory? How might we conceive alternative temporalities of and for it? What would it mean to speculate about risk differently? How do considerations of risk imagine, produce or project future worlds?
This interdisciplinary, Americanist symposium considers the ways in which these and associated issues can be explored across different genres, texts, media and critical approach.
Thirty-minute papers are invited to address cultural, sociological and associated ideas of risk involving, but by no means restricted to the following areas:
The geopolitical / the socioeconomic / the financial / the ecological-environmental / the biopolitical / the personal and/or collective / future-worlds / the actuarial / the climatic/ the military / resource security / the virtual / the terroristic / the urban/ migration and displacement / sex / austerity / the technological / the computational /health