Call for Papers: Angelaki Special Issue on Cosmotechnics

Call for Papers: Angelaki Special Issue on Cosmotechnics

CFP: Angelaki Special Issue on Cosmotechnics (25:3, June 2020)

Guest editors :
Yuk HUI (huiyuk[a]
Pieter LEMMENS (p.lemmens[a] )

Heidegger’s essay of 1949, Die Frage nach der Technik, has been enormously influential in its conceptualisation of the essence of modern technology as being less that of the originary classical Greek notion of technē than of what he calls enframing [Gestell]. While this image and critique of modern technology has been widely if critically accepted in the West, what has often been missed in those criticisms of its detail or trajectory is its applicability when dealing with non-Western developments in technology, both historically and projectively, for if these are not reducible to either technē or modern technology in the Western sense, how can we articulate their unfolding and what this question of technology prior to the Heideggarian formulation could contribute to the current debate on the Anthropocene and ecological mutations?


One way forward is a reappraisal of the idea of nature. For example, anthropologists such as Philippe Descola and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro have proposed an unravelling of the concept of nature to show that beneath nature as it is experienced in non-European cultures cannot be reduced to a naturalism, a product of modernity, characterized by an opposition between culture and nature. There is indeed a multi-naturalism, for example, beyond naturalism, there are other ontologies such as animism, analogism and totemism. In addition, this return to the non-modern can be seen as an attempt to reconceptualise the relation between human and the nonhuman, and hence to go beyond the nature and culture dichotomy that so restricts vision to a parochial Western worldview. It is in the same spirit, but as a more pragmatically realist and political gesture, that we wish to raise a parallel question for technology, which is whether it is possible to conceive multiple cosmotechnics and if so what form would this take? Because the efficacy of a return to nature should be questioned, rather it is more urgent to rethink the question of technology and its possibilities.


The concept of cosmotechnics was initially raised by Yuk Hui in The Question Concerning Technology in China. An Essay in Cosmotechnics, a study which carries a preliminary definition as the unification between the moral order and cosmic order through technical activities. In this understanding, all technics are fundamentally cosmological and all cosmologies are fundamentally technical. This emphasis on multiple cosmotechnics has to be distinguished from the so-called multiculturalism which is fundamentally a politics of identity. The multiplicity of cosmotechnics implies multiple epistemologies and epistems which can contribute to the reflection on the development of technologies, hence also allows a discourse on a technodiversity to overcome the homogenisation and planetarisation of the Gestell actualized in the Anthropocene. Hui uses China as example to demonstrate that it is not only possible but also necessary to elaborate on histories of cosmotechnics, and see how these different understandings can be reconsidered and reevaluated so as to re-perspectivize current technological globalization and the complete obliteration of technodiversity from a cosmotechnical perspective. This special issue invites philosophers, anthropologists and humanities scholars to contribute to the reopening of the question of technology in the 21st century.


We look forward to receiving indication of interest, and a title and a 500 words abstract from contributors before 1. January 2019; once abstracts are accepted, authors are supposed to submit their articles before 31 August 2019 for review.



Carl Mitcham, Book Review: ‘Varieties of Technological Experience’, Issues in Science and Technology, Volume XXXIV Issue 4, Summer 2018
Philippe Descola, Beyond Culture and Nature (Chicago University Press, 2013)
Yuk Hui, The Question Concerning Technology in China. An Essay in Cosmotechnics (Urbanomic, 2016)
Yuk Hui, ‘Cosmotechnics as Cosmopolitics’, E-flux 86, 2017
Yuk Hui, ‘On Cosmotechnics: For a Renewed Relation between Technology and Nature in the Anthropocene’, Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 21:2–3 (2017), 1–23
Pieter Lemmens, Vincent Blok & Jochem Zwier ‘Philosophy of Technology in the Age of the Anthropocene’, Editorial for Special Issue of Techne. Research in Philosophy and Technology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2017
Pieter Lemmens, ‘Re-Orienting the Noosphere. Imagining a New Role for Digital Media in the Era of the Anthropocene’, Glimpse, Vol. 19, 2018.