This book is the result of intense interaction between the two authors and many others. Giving names to the particular elements that form this swarm is an impossible but necessary undertaking, since the two names on the cover of this book definitely do not exhaust what made the book. Most of all, of course, the four wise and generous minds that are given a voice in the first part of this book, and whose voices are rewritten in the second part, should be thanked: Prof. Rosi Braidotti, Prof. Manuel DeLanda, Prof. Karen Barad, and Prof. Quentin Meillassoux. Our long-distance interview of Prof. Barad at the “7th European Feminist Research Conference” (Utrecht University, June 2009) opened up the idea of the interviews. We would like to thank Heleen Klomp for transcribing the encounter with Prof. Barad, and we would like to thank Prof. Wolfgang Schirmacher (the European Graduate School) for getting us in touch with Prof. Manuel DeLanda. Thank you to Dr. Marie-Pier Boucher for translating the interview with Prof. Quentin Meillassoux and Sterre Ras for formatting the entire book. Also, we would like to thank the editors that run the series “New Metaphysics” at Open Humanities Press, Prof. Graham Harman and Prof. Bruno Latour, for their enthusiasm, their support and care, and their inspiring scholarly work that has also been of great influence on this book.
Let us also thank our home institution, the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities at Utrecht University, and in particular the Graduate Gender Programme directed by Prof. Rosemarie Buikema, and Media Theory, run by Prof. Joost Raessens. The Research Institute for History and Culture, previously directed by Prof. Maarten Prak and now by Prof. Frank Kessler, and managed by Dr. Frans Ruiter should also be mentioned. Finally, we want to thank Utrecht’s Center for the Humanities, run by Prof. Rosi Braidotti, for being our second home and for supporting us in organizing seminars and conferences.
The gust of fresh air that got this whole project started and kept pushing us forward was the Contemporary Cultural Theory (CCT) seminar series that we organized for the past four years. With its more than one hundred seminars, it has created a tremendously rich ecology in which the book was able to flourish. After it started as a reading group for the two of us, it caught the interest of staff members and graduate students and others interested from outside Utrecht University, and it received the generous support of the Centre for the Humanities, Media and Culture Studies, and later the Research Institute for History and Culture. It is impossible to name all those who have shared their valuable thoughts with us in the seminar over the past years, but several of its “usual suspects” have to be named (in no particular order): Marianne van den Boomen, Dr. Birgit Mara Kaiser, Dr. Kathrin Thiele, Nikos Overheul, Dr. Bram Ieven, Beatriz Revelles Benavente, Prof. Frank Kessler, Paulina Bolek, Marietta Radomska, Jannie Pranger, Richard van Meurs, Dr. Nanna Verhoeff, Dr. Paul Bijl, Adinda Veltrop, Freya de Mink, Alex Hebing, Dr. Kees Vuijk, Prof. Paul Ziche, Dr. Kiene Brillenburg Wurth, Prof. Ed Jonker. The seminar series “New Materialism: The Utrecht School” featured our colleagues Prof. Rosi Braidotti, Prof. Maaike Bleeker, Prof. Joost Raessens, Dr. Kathrin Thiele and Dr. Birgit Mara Kaiser.
As part of CCT we had the pleasure to welcome national and international guest speakers (Dr. Marcel Cobussen, Prof. John Protevi, Prof. Rosemarie Buikema, Prof. Gloria Wekker, Dr. Vicki Kirby) and organize conferences. On November 19, 2010 we hosted “Intra-action between the Humanities and the Sciences” with Prof. Rosi Braidotti, Dr. Birgit Mara Kaiser, Jannie Pranger, Prof. Peter Galison, Dr. Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis, Dr. Kathrin Thiele, and Dr. Bibi Straatman. On April 7, 2011 we hosted “New Materialism: Naturecultures” with Prof. Donna Haraway, Dr. Cecilia Åsberg, Dr. Vicki Kirby, Prof. Rosemarie Buikema, LeineRoebana (Heather Ware and Tim Persent, and Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana), Dr. Adrian MacKenzie, Dr. Jussi Parikka, Dr. Milla Tiainen, Dr. Melanie Sehgal, and Prof. Rosi Braidotti. The first “New Materialism” conference, organized by Dr. Jussi Parikka and Dr. Milla Tiainen, took place in June 2010 at Anglia Ruskin University/ CoDE in Cambridge, the UK. Our second conference was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the Posthumanities Hub (Tema Genus, Linköping University), the Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play, the Graduate Gender Programme, the Center for the Humanities, and the Research Institute for History and Culture (Utrecht University). On November 17, 2011 we organized “Lissitzky Space: New Materialist Experiments” at the Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven) with Dr. Jondi Keane, Dr. Linda Boersma, Dr. Leslie Kavanaugh, Willem Jan Renders, Annie Fletcher and Piet van de Kar.
Finally we would like to thank our loved ones.
Utrecht, December 2011
Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin