By Jamie B Smith
This summer I was fortunate enough to visit the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. I spent a few weeks in the Netherlands to understand the culture of our near neighbours and to enjoy the history of the medieval town. I had the opportunity to attend a summer school convened by Professor Rosi Braidotti on ‘Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance,’ at Universiteit Utrecht.
This is an area of scholarship which I had followed for over fifteen years when I first entered higher education; to be given a chance to meet others from around the world who share this passion and theoretical approach to modern philosophy felt like a once in a lifetime experience. As I spent some time in the Netherlands before the summer school, I spent much of my time preparing for the course and being as well read and well versed in the course reading list as possible. I feared that I would not be able to participate in the sessions at the same level as other delegates and I really wanted to make the most of every second that I was there.
I remain with an overwhelming feeling on privilege to have this opportunity to engage with and discuss the posthuman convergence of the sixth mass extinction and the fourth industrial revolution and as Professor Braidotti says ‘We-are-all-in-this-together-but-we-are-not-the-same’. I feel immensely privileged to have been able to take part in the summer school and to have been taught by one of my role models, however, I learned far more than what she explained in the lectures. The summer school was and is living praxis of a world where we are together and not the same, but living in imperfect disharmony. We are living and dying together along with the earth and to paraphrase Braidotti and Spinoza – through pain we gain knowledge which leads to liberation. It is with this that I returned with an incredible enthusiasm to start the new semester at the University of Edinburgh.