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Maria Pisani holds a PhD in adult education, and an BA and a MA in Youth & Community Studies.
She is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Youth and Community Studies, University of Malta. Maria’s research interests include forced migration and youth, with a focus on critical intersectionalities. She has published in international journals, contributed to a number of edited books and has been appointed as key expert in a number of inter/national research studies.
Her academic work is unapologetically political and committed to social justice and transformation.
Becoming Sophia: a posthuman manifesto for our times
The presentation will begin with the tale of two Sophias; Baby Sophia, the namesake of a military operation established by the European Union with the aim of destroying refugee smuggling routes. Baby Sophia was born on a military vessel because her Somali mother, a nonHuman human, was denied the right to seek refuge on a safe and legal route. Cyborg Sophia, the other protagonist in our tale, is a Cyborg who was made welcome in Malta. The present Minister for Finance declared he was considering citizenship conditions for robots. This tale will frame my reflections on Malta’s particular brand of neoliberal cosmopolitanism, wherein the insatiable quest for profit and expansion is celebrated, and the inevitable and consequential destruction, misery and grotesque inequalities are blamed on the nonHuman human migrant.
Drawing on critical posthuman thought (Braidotti, 2019; Haraway, 2016), I will also look for spaces and opportunities that offer the possibility for resistance and hope. Might there be a latent mutiny in the bounty? As nature, culture, media and tech continues to morph and transcend borders, the ape continues to evolve: what potential lies in becoming Sophia? How might we embrace a manifesto for our times?