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In a seemingly inescapable system of violence perpetuated by humanity, we might question whether there is any hope left for the human species. | 25th, 26th, and 27th January 2023 | University of Amsterdam, Netherlands | Organisers: Eva Meijer and Emelia Quinn
Event details of Critical Misanthropy Conference
Start date
25 January 2023
End date
27 January 2023

Our world, as many worlds before it, is disappearing. The current climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, rise of populism, and failures of neoliberalism are forcing humans to reinvent themselves and to reconfigure relations with the natural world. In a seemingly inescapable system of violence perpetuated by humanity, we might question whether there is any hope left for the human species. This conference seeks to address the following questions: How do we think ourselves as human whilst grappling with issues of our complicity and culpability in systems of oppression? How can, and how should, humans reinvent themselves and reconfigure relations with the natural world? How do we come to terms with our responsibility for widespread devastation, a responsibility owed to ecosystems and animals as well as to those humans living in precarious environments? What role can and should other animals play in this process, and what does this mean for understandings of ‘animality’? And finally, how have writers, artists, performers, literary scholars, historians, and philosophers approached these questions? Over the course of three days, we will explore misanthropy through an interdisciplinary program of events including academic panels, workshops, and creative performances.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Chloe Taylor (University of Alberta), Robert McKay (Sheffield), and Andrew Gibson (Royal Holloway).


Wednesday 25th January

All Day: Laura Cull, “An [Interrupted] Bestiary” Exhibition [VoxPop]


Welcome and Opening Remarks [OMHP C1.17]


Panel 1: New Forms [OMHP C1.17]

Chair: Eva Meijer

Elin McCready and Elis Ottosson, “Embodiment, Language, and the Nonhuman”

Roseanne van der Voet, “Creatively Redefining the Human: Becoming Empathically Human through Writing the Nonhuman”

Nele Buyst, “Poetry as a Tool to Bridge Species, Disciplines and Histories”


Coffee and Biscuits


Keynote 1 : Robert Mckay, “Species Dissidence” [OMHP C1.17]

Chair: Emelia Quinn


Discussion of the work of Olga Tokarczuk (Hosted by De Geus Publishers and Spui25) [Spui25]

[Please note: this event will be held primarily in Dutch and you should register (for free) via the following link:]

Thursday 26th January

All Day: Laura Cull, “An [Interrupted] Bestiary” Exhibition [VoxPop]


Keynote 2: Andrew Gibson, “An Irreducible Ambivalence: Byron and Misanthropy, 1814-1824” [OMHP A.08]

Chair: Eva Meijer


Coffee and Biscuit Break


Panel 2: Antinatalism [OMHP A.08]

Chair: Emelia Quinn

Lawrence Bache and Jin Qian, “Homo Malum: A Discussion of the Interconnectedness of Misanthropy, Veganism, and Antinatalism”

Catrinel Rădoi and Aristotelis Tokatlidis, “Afropessimist and Queer Negative Reflections Upon the Concept of Antinatalism”

Poulomi Choudhury, “Birthing Futurity: Animal-Human Surrogacy and Breeding In Augustina Bazterrica’s Tender is the Flesh”

David Anthony Hall, “The Nightmare Swirls and Churns Unending!: Antinatalism,

Beasthood, and Cycles of Violence in FromSoftware’s Bloodborne”


Lunch [VoxPop]


Panel 3: Meat and Flesh [OMHP A.08]

Chair: Sune Borkfelt

Simon John Ryle, “Flesh and Negation: Eraserhead, Vegan Poetics and Sympathetic Action”

Samantha Hind “Speculative Flesh Ecologies: An Indistinct Approach to (Non)Human Communities”

Phoebe Chetwynd, “Transgressive Consumption: Animality and Intersectionality in MEAT and Défaitre des maîtres et possesseurs”


Coffee break


Panel 4: Rethinking the Human [OMHP A.08]

Chair: Mo O’Neill

Olena Kushyna, “Facing the End of the World as Natal Beings”

Sophie van Balen, “Breathing Misanthropy: Rethinking Human Complicities in End Times”

Matko Krce-Ivancic, “Towards Politically Sanctimonious Forms of Fatalism”

5.30-6pm: Break / Tour of “An [Interrupted] Bestiary” exhibition [VoxPop]


Reading Performance, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca [VoxPop]

Evening Activity: Optional evening drinks at Cafe Luxembourg (Spui 24, 1012 XA). The back area of the bar is reserved for conference goers from 7.30pm.

Friday 27th January

All Day: Laura Cull, “An [Interrupted] Bestiary” Exhibition [VoxPop]

All Day: Ben Hunt, Activist Performance, 10am-4pm, [VoxPop]
Anti-Hunt is a six-hour endurance performance consisting of the activist/performer walking and running on a threadmill; reacting to a soundscape of fox hunting sounds undulating and interweaving with sounds from idyllic British countryside. The enduring activist's body is both pursuing and being hunted, both saboteur and non-human. 


Panel 5: Animal Perspectives [OMHP A0.08]

Chair: Simon John Ryle

Sune Borkfelt, “Rethinking Humanimal Time: Reflections on Colonial Time and

Decolonial Animal Narratives”

Jessica Ginocchio, “Tolstoy’s Animal Perspective”

Mo O’Neill, “Between Misanthropes and Humanitarians: Edward Carpenter and D.

H.Lawrence’s More-than-Human Literary Politics”

11.30-11.45: Coffee Break


Panel 6: Human-Animal Relations [OMHP A0.08]

Chair: Sophie van Balen

Pete Porter, “Misanthropy and Nonhuman Animals at the Movies”

Jack Sagar, “On the De-Ecologisation of Life in Liberal Political Thought”

Zoei Sutton, “Troubling Commodified Companionship in the Misanthropocene”


Lunch [VoxPop]


Panel 7: Human Communities [OMHP A0.08]

Chair: Olena Kushyna

Aleksandr Prigozhin, “‘I Didn’t Ask to be Born’: Jean Rhys’ Misanthropic Futures.”

Peter Sands, “Queer Misanthropy: Or why Being Human Teaches Us Nothing about the End of the World”

Graham Weaver, “Rescued Fathers, Forgotten Daughters: Nikolai Fedorov and the Post-Hu(Wo)man”


Keynote 3: Chloe Taylor, “M is for Misanthropocene” [OMHP A0.08]

Chairs: Emelia Quinn and Eva Meijer

[please note that Chloe Taylor will be delivering her presentation via Zoom]

5.30-7.00pm: Wine reception and Closing Remarks [VoxPop]


All conference venues are within walking distance from one another.

The majority of panels are held at the Oudemanhuispoort (OMHP), 1012 CN Amsterdam. This is walking distance (approx. 15 minutes) from Cental Station. Amsterdam is also well connected via public transport and you can reach the conference venue by tram, bus, or metro.

VoxPop is 2 minutes walk from the OMHP rooms and is located at Binnengasthuisstraat 9, 1012 ZA Amsterdam.

Spui25 is a 6 minute walk from the OMHP rooms and is located at Spui 25, 1012 XA Amsterdam.

Registration and Refreshments

It is not obligatory to register in advance and we welcome academics and members of the public to drop by to panels of interest. However, we would be grateful if you could signal your intention to attend via the Eventbrite page to help us keep track of numbers.

A vegan lunch is provided on the Thursday and Friday of the conference.

There are no formal dinners planned for any of the conference days but we welcome speakers and attendees to join together and make dinner plans. Amsterdam has a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian restaurants and there are many within walking distance from the conference. We will provide a list of possible dinner venues at the coffee and lunch stations.


An [Interrupted] Bestiary

An [Interrupted] Bestiary is a project by the Lector of the Academy of Theatre and Dance, Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca encompassing an artist’s book, an exhibition, a live reading event and the animated film, Done Dying. The work is open to the public as part of the Critical Misanthropy conference hosted by UvA and in association with the research project Climate Imaginaries at SeaAn [Interrupted] Bestiary was undertaken as a process of thinking alongside the US-based performance company, Every house has a door, during their process of creating the performance, Broken Aquarium (2019-2022). Broken Aquarium is one act of the company’s large-scale, multi-year project The Carnival of the Animals: a 14-movement work engaging the titles from Camille Saint-Saëns’s 1885 musical suite for children, but with a concentration on endangered and extinct underwater creatures. Created in the period leading up to and following the death of Laura’s father, the outbreak and unfolding Covid 19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the growth of Black Lives Matter movement, An [Interrupted] Bestiary reflects on themes of bewilderment, vulnerability, extinction and grief and the complex entanglement of speciesism and racism. Without simply comparing oppressions, the text points toward the violence of the shared logic of measuring interspecies lives according to a standardized notion of the human as white, rational, European male, alluding to the potential of embodied empathy and imagination in building new futures through a plurivocal poetics.