Material Relations: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Materiality and Subjectivity

The Material Relations team is conducting a three year exploration of what it means to use love as a theoretical framework for thinking about our relationships to matter and materials. To begin with, we are looking into the history of people loving objects including what happens when the objects love them back. This brings us up against the boundaries separating objects from subjects, and into conversation with each other across theoretical boundaries separating those of us who want to preserve the traditional grammar of subjects and objects, and those who want to deconstruct it for political, ethical or aesthetic reasons.

We are aware that much of the language we have inherited from the recent history of the academy for dealing with objects is based in an ontology of power and violence. Therefore, our exploration involves the challenge not just of formulating a new theory, but also of developing a praxis in which we remain conscious of how the language we use to talk about our research conditions its outcome. How would a hermeneutics of love change our relationship not just to the physical environment but to the academic world at large?

In tandem with our archival research we are launching a material relations blog in which we will chronicle our progress through this landscape of differences and affinities, searching for ways to communicate our thinking together about love – while working in Siberia – to the wider academic world.

project team members
The clickable list provides information on the team members, their research interests, and the fields involved.