The role of matter has often been marginalised in much of philosophical thought. Rapid scientific and technological advances in the twentieth century, however, have since heightened the awareness of our place in the world as embodied human beings. This has revealed a pressing urgency to confront the ethical and political implications of our material practices within the dynamic terrain of contemporary times. As such, recognising the importance of material factors has led to an emergence of ways in which our prevailing understandings of material reality can be transformed. These recent accounts of a new materialist philosophy call for a redefinition of matter: not an inert or passive substance as traditionally conceived, but rather that which is in possession of an inherently unpredictable force and vitality.
© Mark Welbedacht
Investigations into the agency of matter are currently occurring in areas such as material culture, ecocritical discourses, material feminisms, and science studies, where material reality has been given particular emphasis. This is not an abandonment of historical legacies of materialist thought, but an attempt to reconsider the notion of matter in the face of various geopolitical and biotechnological forces acting in the world today. The turn to envisioning new processes of materialisation thus attempts to cultivate a paradigm that rethinks the dualities of nature and culture, language and reality, mind and body, and the human and the inhuman. As an emerging interdisciplinary field, the new materialist studies precipitate a radicalisation of what ‘matter’ truly means.
Editors: Jessica Legacy and Yanbing Er
Review Team Autumn 2014: Sybil Adam, Chiara Amoretti, Valentina Aparicio, Enti Arends, Georgina Barker, Meg Bartlett, Sarah Bernstein, Nina Bickett, Jane Bonsall, Dorothy Butchard, Natalie Carthy, Victoria Chang, Mingyuan Chen, Lijiaozi Cheng, Chang-Ting Chou, Beth Cochrane*, Hannah Collins, Christian Cooijmans, Glynnis Cox, Poppy Cozens, Muireann Crowley, Marta Dabrowka, Mario Delgado, Will Dudding, Valentina Flex, Carlos Fonseca, Katie Hawthorne, Beide Hu, Tian Jin*, Alice Kelly, Jeremy Klemin, Rob Lederer, Anna Leibing, James Leveque, Beatriz Lopez, Clara Martinez, Dominique Mason, Iain McMaster*, Aoife McNeice, Gena McNutt, Marianne McRae, Alba Morollon, Bianka Nedjalkova, Diane Otosaka, Carin Pettersson, Fiona Piercy, Alistair Robinson*, Gabi Roth, Aidan Ryan*, Feroz Salam, Cat Schaupp, Denis Schröder, Justine Seran, Sarah Sharp*, Jasleen Singh, Nick Spengler*, Jessica Syers, Tomas Vergara, Jacqueline Wallace, Annie Webster, Grace Wilkins. Article Editors are marked with a star(*).