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Posthumanism – Wikipedia

This article is about a critique of anthropocentrism. For the futurist ideology and movement, see transhumanism.

Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning "after humanism" or "beyond humanism") is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:[1]

Philosopher Ted Schatzki suggests there are two varieties of posthumanism of the philosophical kind:[12]

One, which he calls 'objectivism', tries to counter the overemphasis of the subjective or intersubjective that pervades humanism, and emphasises the role of the nonhuman agents, whether they be animals and plants, or computers or other things.[12]

A second prioritizes practices, especially social practices, over individuals (or individual subjects) which, they say, constitute the individual.[12]

There may be a third kind of posthumanism, propounded by the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Though he did not label it as 'posthumanism', he made an extensive and penetrating immanent critique of Humanism, and then constructed a philosophy that presupposed neither Humanist, nor Scholastic, nor Greek thought but started with a different religious ground motive.[13] Dooyeweerd prioritized law and meaningfulness as that which enables humanity and all else to exist, behave, live, occur, etc. "Meaning is the being of all that has been created," Dooyeweerd wrote, "and the nature even of our selfhood."[14] Both human and nonhuman alike function subject to a common 'law-side', which is diverse, composed of a number of distinct law-spheres or aspects.[15] The temporal being of both human and non-human is multi-aspectual; for example, both plants and humans are bodies, functioning in the biotic aspect, and both computers and humans function in the formative and lingual aspect, but humans function in the aesthetic, juridical, ethical and faith aspects too. The Dooyeweerdian version is able to incorporate and integrate both the objectivist version and the practices version, because it allows nonhuman agents their own subject-functioning in various aspects and places emphasis on aspectual functioning.[16]

Ihab Hassan, theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated:

Humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism.[17]

This view predates most currents of posthumanism which have developed over the late 20th century in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Hassan is a known scholar whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernity in society.[citation needed] Beyond postmodernist studies, posthumanism has been developed and deployed by various cultural theorists, often in reaction to problematic inherent assumptions within humanistic and enlightenment thought.[4]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, cyberneticists such as Gregory Bateson, Warren McCullouch, Norbert Wiener, Bruno Latour, Cary Wolfe, Elaine Graham, N. Katherine Hayles, Benjamin H. Bratton, Donna Haraway, Peter Sloterdijk, Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, Evan Thompson, Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers, such as Robert Pepperell, who have written about a "posthuman condition", which is often substituted for the term "posthumanism".[5][6]

Posthumanism differs from classical humanism by relegating humanity back to one of many natural species, thereby rejecting any claims founded on anthropocentric dominance.[18] According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. Human rights exist on a spectrum with animal rights and posthuman rights.[19] The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[20]

Proponents of a posthuman discourse, suggest that innovative advancements and emerging technologies have transcended the traditional model of the human, as proposed by Descartes among others associated with philosophy of the Enlightenment period.[21] In contrast to humanism, the discourse of posthumanism seeks to redefine the boundaries surrounding modern philosophical understanding of the human. Posthumanism represents an evolution of thought beyond that of the contemporary social boundaries and is predicated on the seeking of truth within a postmodern context. In so doing, it rejects previous attempts to establish 'anthropological universals' that are imbued with anthropocentric assumptions.[18] Recently, critics have sought to describe the emergence of posthumanism as a critical moment in modernity, arguing for the origins of key posthuman ideas in modern fiction,[22] in Nietzsche,[23] or in a modernist response to the crisis of historicity.[24]

The philosopher Michel Foucault placed posthumanism within a context that differentiated humanism from enlightenment thought. According to Foucault, the two existed in a state of tension: as humanism sought to establish norms while Enlightenment thought attempted to transcend all that is material, including the boundaries that are constructed by humanistic thought.[18] Drawing on the Enlightenments challenges to the boundaries of humanism, posthumanism rejects the various assumptions of human dogmas (anthropological, political, scientific) and takes the next step by attempting to change the nature of thought about what it means to be human. This requires not only decentering the human in multiple discourses (evolutionary, ecological, technological) but also examining those discourses to uncover inherent humanistic, anthropocentric, normative notions of humanness and the concept of the human.[25]

Posthumanistic discourse aims to open up spaces to examine what it means to be human and critically question the concept of "the human" in light of current cultural and historical contexts.[4] In her book How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles, writes about the struggle between different versions of the posthuman as it continually co-evolves alongside intelligent machines.[26] Such coevolution, according to some strands of the posthuman discourse, allows one to extend their subjective understandings of real experiences beyond the boundaries of embodied existence. According to Hayles's view of posthuman, often referred to as technological posthumanism, visual perception and digital representations thus paradoxically become ever more salient. Even as one seeks to extend knowledge by deconstructing perceived boundaries, it is these same boundaries that make knowledge acquisition possible. The use of technology in a contemporary society is thought to complicate this relationship.

Hayles discusses the translation of human bodies into information (as suggested by Hans Moravec) in order to illuminate how the boundaries of our embodied reality have been compromised in the current age and how narrow definitions of humanness no longer apply. Because of this, according to Hayles, posthumanism is characterized by a loss of subjectivity based on bodily boundaries.[4] This strand of posthumanism, including the changing notion of subjectivity and the disruption of ideas concerning what it means to be human, is often associated with Donna Haraways concept of the cyborg.[4] However, Haraway has distanced herself from posthumanistic discourse due to other theorists use of the term to promote utopian views of technological innovation to extend the human biological capacity[27] (even though these notions would more correctly fall into the realm of transhumanism[4]).

While posthumanism is a broad and complex ideology, it has relevant implications today and for the future. It attempts to redefine social structures without inherently humanly or even biological origins, but rather in terms of social and psychological systems where consciousness and communication could potentially exist as unique disembodied entities. Questions subsequently emerge with respect to the current use and the future of technology in shaping human existence,[18] as do new concerns with regards to language, symbolism, subjectivity, phenomenology, ethics, justice and creativity.[28]

Sociologist James Hughes comments that there is considerable confusion between the two terms.[29][30] In the introduction to their book on post- and transhumanism, Robert Ranisch and Stefan Sorgner address the source of this confusion, stating that posthumanism is often used as an umbrella term that includes both transhumanism and critical posthumanism.[29]

Although both subjects relate to the future of humanity, they differ in their view of anthropocentrism. Pramod Nayar, author of Posthumanism, states that posthumanism has two main branches: ontological and critical.[31] Ontological posthumanism is synonymous with transhumanism. The subject is regarded as an intensification of humanism.[32] Transhumanist thought suggests that humans are not post human yet, but that human enhancement, often through technological advancement and application, is the passage of becoming post human.[33] Transhumanism retains humanisms focus on the homo sapien as the center of the world but also considers technology to be an integral aid to human progression. Critical posthumanism, however, is opposed to these views. Critical posthumanism rejects both human exceptionalism (the idea that humans are unique creatures) and human instrumentalism (that humans have a right to control the natural world).[31] These contrasting views on the importance of human beings are the main distinctions between the two subjects.

Transhumanism is also more ingrained in popular culture than critical posthumanism, especially in science fiction. The term is referred to by Pramod Nayar as "the pop posthumanism of cinema and pop culture."[31]

Some critics have argued that all forms of posthumanism, including transhumanism, have more in common than their respective proponents realize.[34] Linking these different approaches, Paul James suggests that 'the key political problem is that, in effect, the position allows the human as a category of being to flow down the plughole of history':

This is ontologically critical. Unlike the naming of postmodernism where the post does not infer the end of what it previously meant to be human (just the passing of the dominance of the modern) the posthumanists are playing a serious game where the human, in all its ontological variability, disappears in the name of saving something unspecified about us as merely a motley co-location of individuals and communities.[35]

However, some posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism (the brunt of Paul James's criticism), in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the values of Enlightenment humanism and classical liberalism, namely scientism, according to performance philosopher Shannon Bell:[36]

Altruism, mutualism, humanism are the soft and slimy virtues that underpin liberal capitalism. Humanism has always been integrated into discourses of exploitation: colonialism, imperialism, neoimperialism, democracy, and of course, American democratization. One of the serious flaws in transhumanism is the importation of liberal-human values to the biotechno enhancement of the human. Posthumanism has a much stronger critical edge attempting to develop through enactment new understandings of the self and others, essence, consciousness, intelligence, reason, agency, intimacy, life, embodiment, identity and the body.[36]

While many modern leaders of thought are accepting of nature of ideologies described by posthumanism, some are more skeptical of the term. Donna Haraway, the author of A Cyborg Manifesto, has outspokenly rejected the term, though acknowledges a philosophical alignment with posthumanism. Haraway opts instead for the term of companion species, referring to nonhuman entities with which humans coexist.[27]

Questions of race, some argue, are suspiciously elided within the "turn" to posthumanism. Noting that the terms "post" and "human" are already loaded with racial meaning, critical theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson argues that the impulse to move "beyond" the human within posthumanism too often ignores "praxes of humanity and critiques produced by black people", including Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire to Hortense Spillers and Fred Moten. Interrogating the conceptual grounds in which such a mode of beyond is rendered legible and viable, Jackson argues that it is important to observe that "blackness conditions and constitutes the very nonhuman disruption and/or disruption" which posthumanists invite. In other words, given that race in general and blackness in particular constitutes the very terms through which human/nonhuman distinctions are made, for example in enduring legacies of scientific racism, a gesture toward a beyond actually returns us to a Eurocentric transcendentalism long challenged. Posthumanist scholarship, due to characteristic rhetorical techniques, is also frequently subject to the same critiques commonly made of postmodernist scholarship in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Posthuman – Wikipedia

Person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human

Posthuman or post-human is a concept originating in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy that literally means a person or entity that exists in a state beyond being human.[1] The concept addresses questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity.

Posthumanism is not to be confused with transhumanism (the nanobiotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality.[2] The notion of the posthuman comes up both in posthumanism as well as transhumanism, but it has a special meaning in each tradition. In 2017, Penn State University Press in cooperation with Stefan Lorenz Sorgner and James Hughes established the "Journal of Posthuman Studies"[3], in which all aspects of the concept "posthuman" can be analysed.[4]

In critical theory, the posthuman is a speculative being that represents or seeks to re-conceive the human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman position recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, and understands the world through heterogeneous perspectives while seeking to maintain intellectual rigor and dedication to objective observations. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can "become" or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[5]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel de Landa, decrying the term as "very silly."[6] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell's The Posthuman Condition, and Hayles's How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the "cyborg" of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[citation needed][7] Haraway's conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway's cyborg is in many ways the "beta" version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[8] Following Haraway, Hayles, whose work grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanismwhich separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a "shell" or vehicle for the mindbecomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology puts the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technology advancements while understanding information as "disembodied," that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[9]

The idea of post-posthumanism (post-cyborgism) has recently been introduced.[10][11][12][13][14]This body of work outlines the after-effects of long-term adaptation to cyborg technologies and their subsequent removal, e.g., what happens after 20 years of constantly wearing computer-mediating eyeglass technologies and subsequently removing them, and of long-term adaptation to virtual worlds followed by return to "reality."[15][16] and the associated post-cyborg ethics (e.g. the ethics of forced removal of cyborg technologies by authorities, etc.).[17]

Posthuman political and natural rights have been framed on a spectrum with animal rights and human rights.[18] Posthumanism broadens the scope of what it means to be a valued life form and to be treated as such (in contrast to certain life forms being seen as less-than and being taken advantage of or killed off); it calls for a more inclusive definition of life, and a greater moral-ethical response, and responsibility, to non-human life forms in the age of species blurring and species mixing. [I]t interrogates the hierarchic ordering and subsequently exploitation and even eradication of life forms. [19]

According to transhumanist thinkers, a posthuman is a hypothetical future being "whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards."[20] Posthumans primarily focus on cybernetics, the posthuman consequent and the relationship to digital technology. The emphasis is on systems. Transhumanism does not focus on either of these. Instead, transhumanism focuses on the modification of the human species via any kind of emerging science, including genetic engineering, digital technology, and bioengineering.[21]

Posthumans could be completely synthetic artificial intelligences, or a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.[20]

As used in this article, "posthuman" does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky[citation needed] and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regard to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.[22] Recently, scholars have begun to speculate that posthumanism provides an alternative analysis of apocalyptic cinema and fiction,[23] often casting vampires, werewolves and even zombies as potential evolutions of the human form and being.[24]

Many science fiction authors, such as Greg Egan, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Bruce Sterling, Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear, Charles Stross, Neal Asher, Ken MacLeod, Peter F. Hamilton and authors of the Orion's Arm Universe,[25] have written works set in posthuman futures.

A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of a "posthuman god"; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of human nature, might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by present-day human standards.[20] This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may "ascend" to a higher plane of existencerather, it merely means that some posthuman beings may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that their behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination.[26]

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Three Stories You Absolutely Must Read to Learn About Automatons (And One You Definitely Shouldn’t) – tor.com

Like any totally-normal-not-at-all-obsessed person, I spend a lot of time thinking about automatons.

Mostly, I shake my fist at the sky like an old man complaining that kids these days only like their sleek, human-passing, electric robots and no one cares about the wind, fire, water, and clockwork powered beings that preceded them. Is MonkBot not sexy? With that sweet, sweet segmented mouth action?

Automatons are usually thought of as no different from golems, living dolls, or patchwork girls. Just another category of animated being: nifty, sure, but so what? But automatons are, and have always been, important. And for two thousand years we knew that.

In the arc of human invention, automatons predate paper. That means before we thought sure would be nice to write things in a convenient and portable manner we thought sure would be nice to have an inhuman creation in our shape that moves. Then we immediately looked at this thing wed made and instead of believing wed become gods, we thought wed created them. In ancient Rome and Egypt, as well as during the medieval period, automatons were representations of the divine. Even after they shifted into the realm of entertainment, automatons were singular wonders, art that brought joy to the viewer.

If youre interested in getting a peek at how these fascinating machines used to be viewed in society, and what changed, below are three stories you absolutely must readand one you absolutely must not.

(Honorable mention to the film Hugo (2011) by Martin Scorsese)

This wonderfully illustrated novel tells the story of a boy who has spent two years alone, tending to the clocks of a train station and attempting to fix a broken automaton. Once he discovers the key to making it work, the repaired automaton begins to draw a clue to its origins. This novel is great because it blurs the lines of machine and man. It is Hugo who mechanically tends to the clocks at the same designated time each day, Hugo who has no one to care for him. He is more like an automaton than a boy, and his reentry into the world of other people makes it feel less like the title is referring to an invention owned by Hugo, and more like it refers to his being invented as a person again after spending years as a machine.

The reason you should read this novel is not just to learn that the line between human and automaton is blurry at best, but to see how actual automatons once functioned. Hugos care for his machine echoes the way these intricate machines would have been treated by their creators. Never mass produced, never expected to fill the traditional labor roles we associate with robots like Rosie from The Jetsons or even Siri today, but amusements for the sake of it, a meeting of science and art. Most importantly, the automaton in Hugo Cabret and the story of its discovery are REAL almost. In 1928 a mysterious box of parts was given to Philadelphias Franklin institute where workers reassembled the machine with largely no idea what it would be when they were done. Once they finished repairing the mechanical boyofficially named Maillardets Automatonthey discovered he could draw. Unlike the automaton in the novel, this one replicates four drawings and three poems in two languages. Also, this automaton was actually made in the year 1800, over a hundred years before its recreation in Philadelphia, which makes it one hundred years older than its literary counterpart in the book.

The Pretended takes place in a world where all black people have been killed by a white supremacist society and replaced with fabricated beings whose speech and appearance are caricatures of blackness. We learn that this annihilation was deemed necessary because those in power wanted to pretend black people werent people, which was harder to do while they were alive. The plan backfires, because even these new creations exhibit personhood, and must also be destroyed.

This story exemplifies the hardest aspect of automatons for people to graspas evidenced by the squinchy faces I get when I explain that I work in both posthumanism and critical race theorythat even beings that were never born can be racialized. Not only can they be, but automatons in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century were so often orientalist depictions that one reader writing into New Yorks Christian Register in 1844 complained: Why are all automata dressed in turbans? When the first American automatonZadoc P. Dederick and Isaac Grass Steam Manis designed immediately after the Civil War, its patent illustration takes the form most strongly associated with labor in the mind of Americans: a black man.

On one side of this 1868 automaton is two thousand years of wonder and the delicate, handmade, boy-machine writing poetry and drawing ships from Hugo Cabret, on the other is the assembly line and Karel apeks play R.U.R. (Rossums Universal Robots), forever wedding automation and labor in both reality and fiction.

The Sandman is your standard boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy never notices that girl doesnt communicate, boy sees girl disassembled and the sight of eyes sitting on a table drives boy mad tale. You know, classic. But what makes this one so interesting is over two hundred years ago Hoffman resisted the urge to paint the male protagonist, Nathaniel, as a purely duped victim and instead leaves him with, Bruhshe never communicated and you were cool with it?

The last section details the effect the story of the female automaton had on the men who heard it: Many lovers, to be quite convinced that they were not enamoured of wooden dolls, would request their mistresses to sing and danceand, above all, not merely to listen, but also sometimes to talk, in such a manner as presupposed actual thought and feeling

Hoffman even gives the final insult to OG sadboi Nathaniel by having Clara, the fiance he was stepping out on with the automaton, move on happily: she at last found a quiet domestic happiness suitable to her serene and cheerful nature, a happiness which the morbid Nathaniel would never have given her.

Hoffman uses the figure of the automaton here to show us that they are wonders of science and works of art but if that is all youre looking for in a partner you might be one set of disembodied eyes away from jumping off a cliff.

just kidding, his name was Jean-Marie-Mathias-Philippe-Auguste, Comte de Villiers de lIsle-Adam (Auguste Villiers de lIsle-Adam for short) which, in my defense, does roughly translate to Some Jerk depending on where you put the accent.

In this novel a distressed lord comes to his inventor friend, none other than Edison himself, with a problem: hes found a girl whos wicked hot, but he doesnt like her mind. Shes either too virtuousas in, she didnt want to keep her virginity for the right reasonsor not virtuous enoughas in, she is fallen, but not in a way he can appreciate. Shes too practical. Shes not too stupid, but rather not stupid enough (A woman who has lost all her stupidity, can she be anything but a monster?). The solution? Make a copy of her body and replace the brain with a more palatable version. Literally render her body as an object separate from her personality for the purpose of sexual possession. The novel holds that Alicia herself is not exceptional in her unworthiness, but that women in general are a problem. In one scene the inventor pulls out a drawer full of wigs, corsets, pantyhose, makeup, birth control, etc. and declares the contents of the drawer is everything that makes women. Might as well turn them into sexbots, after all, its what they do to themselves.

I am not saying you shouldnt read this novel because there is nothing it can teach you about the legacy of the automaton. Im saying you shouldnt read this novel because it can teach you, and sometimes you can be taught things that are wrong. With this novel, Villiers ignores and erases the lesson laid down by E.T.A. Hoffman exactly seventy years earlier. Why strive to hear your beloveds voice, he tells men of the time, when you can just replace it with one that pleases you?

By remembering automatons we remember how the prioritization of art can become bulldozed by wants of industry, the miraculous giving way to the profitable. These creations are still essential to study, because when humans create in their own image they also create a tangible snapshot of the values and visions of the world at that moment. Sometimes, that image is of religious devotion. Sometimes, its an image of intellectual curiosity and wonder. But sometimes they are darker, cautionary tales exposing how power operates against the powerless.

Micaiah Johnson was raised in Californias Mojave Desert surrounded by trees named Joshua and women who told stories. She received her bachelor of arts in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside, and her master of fine arts in fiction from Rutgers UniversityCamden. She now studies American literature at Vanderbilt University, where she focuses on critical race theory and automatons.

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(PDF) Posthumanism – ResearchGate

Universitetsforlaget 171

misleading, if taken as its ultimate state: on a subatomic level, everything is in con-

stant vibration. As famously demonstrated by Einstein (1905), matter and energy

are equivalent. Energy is intrinsically relational, as well as matter is irreducible to a

single determined entity; any reductionist approach has scientifically failed. From a

physics perspective, anything which has mass and volume is considered matter:

humans, for instance, are made out of matter, as well as robots. Let's now go back to

our initial question: who am I? We are material networks of relations, fluctuant

becoming in symbiotic interaction with the others, the environment, our sur-

roundings; we are constant potentials. In nietzschean terms: we are a bridge

(Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 7). Human existence is related to any other form of

existence; nothing, in this dimension, is completely autonomous or totally inde-

pendent. In this sense, the field of epigenetics is significant, with its emphasis on the

heritable changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms which are external to

the underlying DNA sequence. Posthumanism approaches the potentials opened by

biotechnology, nanotechnology, cybernetics, robotics and space migration, in an

ontological way, through Heidegger: technology is no mere means, but a way of

revealing (1953:12). We can thus talk of technologies of existence. Posthumanism

has to do with theoretical philosophy as well as with applied ethics. More extensiv-

ely, posthumanism can be perceived as a path of knowledge, which may eventually

turn into full awareness: we literally are what we eat, what we think, what we

breathe, what and who we connect to. Currently, posthumanism seems the most

open and sensitive critical frame to approach intellectual tasks, as well as daily prac-

tices of being. Since any existential performance has interconnected agency, post-

humanism will add to your perspective as much as your perspective will add to the

posthuman shift. More than an exchange (ex comes from Latin, meaning out),

it is an intra-change, a fluid entanglement of being, an expansion of material aware-

ness, a fractal movement of energy which will have simultaneously affected your

existence as well as the evolution of spacetime. This is why I think posthumanism is

something you want to know about.

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Frontera: The Ne w Mestiza. San Francisco:

Aunt Lute Book s.

Barad, Karen 2007. Meeting the Universe Half-

way: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of

Matter and Meaning. Durham et al.: Duke Uni-

versity Press.

Braidotti, Rosi 1994. Nomadic Subjec ts:

Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemp-

orary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia

Universit y Press.

Braidotti, Rosi 2013. The Posthuman. Cam-

bridge, UK et al.: Polity Press.

Butler, Judith 1999 [1990]. Gender Trouble:

Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New

Yor k et a l.: Rou tle dge.

Crenshaw, Kimberle 1989. Demarginalizing

the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black

Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doc-

trine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.

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167.

Einstein, Albert. 1905. Ist die Trgheit eines

Krpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhngig?

Annalen der Physik 18 (13):639643.

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What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanitiesposthumanitiesrespond to the redefinition of humanitys place in the world by both the technological and the biological or green continuum in which the human is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfeone of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theoryranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandins writings, Wallace Stevenss poetry, Lars von Triers Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Enos My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

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What Is Posthumanism? University of Minnesota Press

Posthumanism | Encyclopedia.com

The posthumanist (sometimes called transhumanist) views human dignity as a matter of seizing the opportunity to modify and enhance human nature in ways that include the deceleration or arresting of aging, genetic engineering, the bodily introduction of nanotechnology and cybernetics, reproductive cloning, and even the downloading of mind into immortalizing computers. The anti-posthumanist responds that human dignity lies chiefly in accepting the existing contours of human nature as a gift, and that biotechnological efforts to recreate human nature according to inevitably arrogant and short-sighted images of perfectability should be greeted with severe skepticism. The debate between posthumanists and their critics over the future of human nature is rhetorically sharp; any resolutions can emerge only from inclusive discourse, with significant consensus on specific technologies of human modification arrived at only in the full light of disparate ethical self-understandings of the meaning of humanness both secular and sacred (Habermas 2003).

The posthumanist, it is argued, has the superficial enthusiasm of the adolescent convert to some new image of the human, yet has little or no insight into the human condition or the narrative of history. Rather than free humans of biological constraints in a misplaced effort to transcend humanness by technology, the anti-posthumanist urges, to quote Leon Kass's 1985 publication title, "a more natural science."

But many posthumanists are deeply reflective. The 1974 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Christian de Duve (2002), thoughtfully urges pursuing the goal of a superorganism as humans reshape life, and raises the question "After us, what?" De Duve warns against fearing the consequences of genetic engineering, or the seduction of a return to nature philosophy. De Duve contends that before even thinking of genetically modifying humans, society should focus on improving the chances of all its members to realize the potential they are born with (through suitable economic, social and family conditions). Fears should be focused on resource exhaustion and catastrophic epidemics. Nevertheless future generations will increasingly interfere with the human genome, he argues, and hopefully the decisions will not be left to a powerful bureaucracy, although a genetic supermarket using the individual choices of parents is not likely to exert more favorable effects on the gene pool.

Posthumanists embrace decelerated and even arrested aging, but only as part of a larger vision to re-engineer human nature, and thereby to create biologically and technologically superior human beings, as the narrative history of posthumanism by N. Katherine Hayles (1999) makes clear. Genetics, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and computer technologies are all part of the posthuman vision, including the downloading of synaptic connections in the brain to form a computerized human mind freed of mortal flesh, and thereby immortalized (Noble 1997). This last scenario of immortalized minds liberated from any biological substrate makes the biogerontological goal of prolongevity appear conservative.

Posthumanists do not believe that biology should in any sense be destiny, and seek a new sort of entity for whom human nature has been more or less overcome (Hook 2003). They urge humans to take human nature into their own re-creative hands as the next great step in evolution, achieving a post-modern morphological freedom. Their argument begins with the claim that, within the boundaries of technology, humans have always been reinventing themselves through applied technologies. Where should the lines be drawn? Besides as the Princeton University physicist Freeman Dyson writes, "the artificial improvement of human beings will come, one way or another, whether we like it or not," as scientific understanding increases, for such improvement has always been viewed as a "liberation from past constraints" (Dyson 1997, p. 76).

What is natural and what is unnatural, anyway? Homo sapiens long ago embarked on the human phase of evolution through technological prowess, and in the future lies nothing more monumental than increased novelty. At one time the very idea of human beings trying to fly was deemed heretical hubris in the light of eternitysub specie aeternitatis. It would be a repetition of this error to argue that redesigning human nature runs afoul of the precautionary appeal to the complexities of evolutionsub specie evolutionis? Should people not set aside trepidation and with confidence rethink themselves in the light of human creativity? The postmodernists have paved the way by purportedly demonstrating that there is no essential aspect to human nature, and vive le difference. So it is that Gregory Stock (2002) introduces the idea of superbiology as human beings take full control of their own biology in turning toward perfection.

David F. Noble (1997) has argued with some plausibility that the roots of this posthumanist project lie in Western European religion, and especially in the ninth century, when the useful arts came to be associated with the concept of human redemption. As a result, there exists a religion of technology that promotes the uncritical and irrational affirmation of unregulated technological advance. In essence technological advance is always deemed good. Noble hopes people can free themselves from the religion of technology, from which they seek deliverance, through learning to think and act rationally toward humane goals.

Millennialist religion is certainly relevant to the posthumanist vision. As Gerald J. Gruman has pointed out, the modern concern with enhancing longevity "stems from the decline since the Renaissance of faith in supernatural salvation from death; concern with the worth of individual identity and experience shifted from an otherworldly realm to the here and now, with intensification of earthly expectations" (Gruman 1966, p. 88).

With the transition to a this-worldly millennialist human horizon, a powerful current of thought emerged in which the goal of significantly extending the length of human life through biomedical science was affirmed. Gruman termed the concept prolongevity as "a subsidiary variant of meliorism, the belief that human effort should be applied to improving the world" (Gruman 1966, p. 89). Carl L. Becker, in his classic work, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (1932), had similarly interpreted the great ideas of the Enlightenment and the merging goals of science as based on a secularization of the medieval idea of otherworldly salvation, resulting in an advance toward a heaven on earth.

Indeed, Francis Bacon (15611626), a founder of the scientific method, in his millennialist and utopian essay "The New Atlantis" (1627), set in motion a biological mandate for boldness that included both the making of new species or chimeras, organ replacement, and the Water of Paradise that would allow the possibility to "indeed live very long" (Bacon 1996, p. 481). Three centuries before Francis Bacon, the English theologian Roger Bacon (c.12201292) argued that in the future the 900-year-long lives of the antediluvian patriarchs would be restored alchemically. Like many Western European religious thinkers, both Bacons saw death as the unnatural result of Adam's fall into sin. These dreams of embodied near-immortality could only emerge against a theological background that more or less endorses them. There are various other cultural and historical influences at work besides religion, but the initial conceptual context for a scientific assault on aging itself is a religious one (Barash 1983).

The modern goals of anti-aging research and technology, then, are historically emergent, at least in part, from a pre-modern religious drama of hope and salvation, Renaissance science transferred the task of achieving immortality from heaven to earth in the spirit of millennial hopes. The economy of salvation presented by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri was replaced by the here and now. There is a vibrant millennialist enthusiasm in the responsible biogerontologists, who have proclaimed aging itself to be surmountable to degrees through human ingenuity.

For every utopian there is a dystopian. Should individuals, viewing their own prospects for deceleration of aging, pursue such anti-aging treatments when and if they actually become available? Perhaps yes, if this assures one that diseases for which old age is the overwhelmingly significant risk factor can be avoided. But there is an important school of thought that cautions against the development of treatments to slow aging.

Individuals, when confronted with the availability of deceleration, ought to reflect carefully about the choice at hand, raising every question of relevance to themselves and to humanity. One of the wiser minds of the last century, Hans Jonas (19031993), an intellectual inspiration for contemporary anti-posthumanists, articulated these questions quite thoroughly. He wrote in 1985 that "a practical hope is held out by certain advances in cell biology to prolong, perhaps indefinitely extend, the span of life by counteracting biochemical processes of aging" (Jonas 1985, p. 18). How desirable would this power to slow or arrest aging be for the individual and for the species? Do people want to tamper with the delicate biological "balance of death and procreation" (Jonas 1985, p. 18), and preempt the place of youth? Would the species gain or lose? Jonas, by merely raising these questions, meant to cast significant doubt on the anti-aging enterprise. "Perhaps," he wrote, "a nonnegotiable limit to our expected time is necessary for each of us as the incentive to number our days and make them count" (p. 19). Jonas's later essays raising many of these same questions were published posthumously in 1996.

Many of the these issues are echoed in the writings of Leon Kass. Kass for the most part accepts biotechnological progress within a therapeutic mode; his issue is chiefly with efforts to enhance and improve upon the givenness of human nature. He draws on the technological dystopians, such as Aldous Huxley, as well as on the writings of C. S. Lewis (18981963). An early anti-posthumanist, Lewis wrote The Abolition of Man (1944) to defend a natural law tradition: What is, is good, and people should live within their God-given limits. He cautioned against a world in which one class of enhanced human beings would dominate and oppress the other. One might ask, then, if those freed from the decline of aging would become the superior and elite humans, while those who age would be deemed inferior.

In a creative essay, "L'Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?" (2001) Kass argues against prolongevity in ways mostly raised by Jonas. He asserts, for example, that the gradual descent into aged frailty weans people from attachment to life and renders death more acceptable. He contends that numbered days encourage a creative depth in human naturea depth that escaped so many of the immortal Greek gods and goddesses, whose often debauched and purposeless behavior made Plato wish to ban them from the ideal Republic. In addition, says Kass, a preoccupation with the continuance of life is a distraction from that which is best for the human soul. Finally Kass writes that in a world transformed by anti-aging research, youth will be displaced rather than elevated, and the parental investment in the young will give way to my perpetuation; and that in such a new world people will grow bored and tired of life, having been there and done that. These assertions are all thoughtful, creative, and appropriately cautionary, because the implications of slowing or arresting aging itself are obviously monumental and mixed. Responsibility to future generations precludes clinging to youthfulness. There is wisdom in simply accepting the fact that humans evolved for reproductive success rather than for long-lived lives Without such wisdom will people lose sight of their deepest creative motives? Possibly.

Another leading anti-posthumanist, Francis Fukuyama challenges those who would march society into a posthuman future, characterized by cybernetics, nanotechnology, genetic enhancement, reproductive cloning, life span extension, and new forms of behavior control. Undoubtedly the ambitions of posthumanists to create a new posthuman who is no longer human are arrogant, pretentious, and lacking in fundamental appreciation for natural human dignity. Fukuyama is also drawn to the dystopian genre and sees much more bad than good in efforts to significantly modify human nature. He argues powerfully that the anti-aging technologies of the future will disrupt all the delicate demographic balances between the young and the old, and exacerbate the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The concerns raised by political scientists such as Fukuyama are ones that the individual decision maker ought certainly to have in mind.

The anti-posthumanists often appeal to nature and character as morally valuable categories. They understand the proper human attitude toward evolved nature as one of humility, awe, and appreciation. Clearly the emerging technological power to control nature does not always constitute progress. The anti-posthumanist exhorts us to work with human nature to get the best out of it, rather than to seek cavalier domination in an effort to recreate what is already good. Better to accept natural limits, or so, anyway, is the spirit of anti-posthumanism. The perfectibility of humankind lies not in modifying the human vessel, but in developing the treasures within, such as compassion, virtue, and dignity.

In summary the natural law traditions represented by anti-posthumanists exhort people to live more or less according to nature, and warn that efforts to depart from that will result in new evils more perilous than the old ones. How can society presume that the brave new world will be a better world? Should not the burden of proof be on the proponents of radical change? What right have people in the early 2000s to impose their own arbitrary images of human enhancement on future generations?

Posthumanist beliefs in the inevitability and desirability of transforming human nature see human beings as essentially technological beings who now have the opportunity to redirect the technological powers that they have been exercising on the nonhuman world onto human nature itself. Just as humans have made the world better through technological mastery, so will they be able to do with human nature, in the first instance by prolonging human life as it currently exists but then ultimately by transforming human life. Such a posthumanist future is the natural outcome of all previous human history and the specific form that a respect for human dignity takes in the twenty-first century.

By contrast, anti-posthumanists suggest that the proper human attitude toward evolved nature is one of humility, awe, and appreciation. Just as past technological manipulations of nonhuman nature have not always been beneficial, so the emerging technological power to control human nature does not always constitute progress.

STEPHEN G. POST

SEE ALSO Aging and Regenerative Medicine;Artificiality;Bioethics;Cybernetics;Cyborgs;Dignity;Freedom;Future Generations;Human Cloning;Human Nature;Nanoethics;Utopia and Dystopia.

Bacon, Francis. (1996). The New Atlantis. In Francis Bacon: A Critical Edition of the Major Works, ed. Brian Vickers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Barash, David P. (1983). Aging: An Exploration. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Becker, Carl L. 2003 (1932). The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

de Duve, Christian. (2002). Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind, and Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dyson, Freeman J. (1997). Imagined Worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gruman, Gerald J. (1966). "A History of Ideas About the Prolongation of Life: The Evolution of Prolongevity Hypotheses to 1800." Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 56 (Part 9). Philadelphia: American Philosophical Association.

Habermas, Jurgen. (2003). The Future of Human Nature. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.

Hayles, N. Katherine. (1999). How We Become Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hook, C. C. (2003). "Transhumanism & Posthumanism." In The Encyclopedia of Bioethics, 3rd edition, ed. Stephen G. Post. New York: Macmillan Reference.

Jonas, Hans. (1985). The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Jonas, Hans. (1996). Mortality and Morality: A Search for the Good after Auschwitz, ed. L. Vogel. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Kass, Leon R. (1985). Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs. New York: The Free Press.

Kass, Leon R. (2001). "L'Chaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?" First Things 113(May): 1724.

Lewis, C. S. (1996 [1944]). The Abolition of Man. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Noble, David F. (1997). The Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention. New York: Penguin.

Pepperell, Robert. (2003). The Posthuman Condition: Consciousness Beyond The Brain. Bristol, CT: Intellect.

Stock, Gregory. (2002). Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future.

Kass, Leon R. (2003). "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Human Improvement." President's Council on Bioethics. Available from http://www.bioethics.gov/background/kasspaper.html.

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Home | Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care …

(1) Humanities and the Illness Experience (literature, film, the creative arts, poetry, narrative medicine) are intended to elevate student appreciation of the subjective experience of illness in the lives of patients, their families, and caregivers. Only by closely observing the illness experience can students begin to connect with patients as persons, replete with narratives of hope, anxiety, fear, love, loss, meaning, goals, culture, and treatment preferences. Student attentiveness to this narrative opens up the possibility of their encountering patients not just biologically, but as persons rather than mere puzzles. This awareness is at the very center of the art of medicine, of healing in any full sense of the word, and it naturally enlivens deeper empathic capacities.

(2) Virtues ( empathy, compassion, respect, humility, justice, loyalty, benevolence, diligence) all unfold from the uptick in narrative consciousness made possible through detailed humanistic observation. For empathic care to be sustained over the course of a career the professional virtue of self-care is also important. The humanistic virtues build the secure relational foundation of trust that is needed for good communication with patients, and for effective ethical decision making.

(3) Clinical Ethics ( attentive listening, , respect for autonomy, empathic communication, confidentiality, patient advocacy ) is more than the application of a set of principles or procedures for approaching the challenging decisions that patients, families, and caregivers confront daily. Clinical ethics requires a close attentiveness to the humanistic as well the scientific details of each case, a skill that can be finely honed through the medical humanities. Empathic virtues as habits of daily clinical interaction create a safe space for meaningful dialogue with patients around their values, goals, and choices in which their autonomy is respected. These humanistic assets can be developed as workable communicative skill sets with both cognitive and affective dimensions. Clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and provider meaning and well-being are all enhanced when ethical decision making proceeds in the context of the humanistic virtues.

Our three concentric circles exist in a surrounding field of healthcare systems including the healthcare system and finance, health law and policy, justice and access to care, the science of compassionate care and posthumanism. Compassionate care drives clinicians and students toward concern for justice according to patient need. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote famously of the love that does justice. Often patients are as stressed by navigating insurance and the healthcare system as they are by their illness itself. Clinicians committed to the good of patients are driven by compassion to advocate for access to needed medications and other necessary treatments, as well as ultimately to matters of population health.

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What is Posthumanism? The Curator

Perhaps you have had a nightmare in which you fell through the bottom of your known universe into a vortex of mutated children, talking animals, mental illness, freakish art, and clamoring gibberish. There, you were subjected to the gaze of creatures of indeterminate nature and questionable intelligence. Your position as the subject of your own dream was called into question while voices outside your sight commented upon your tenuous identity. When you woke, you were relieved to find that it was only a dream-version of the book you were reading when you fell asleep. Maybe that book was Alice in Wonderland; maybe it was What is Posthumanism?

Now, it is not quite fair to compare Cary Wolfes sober, thoughtful scholarship with either a nightmare or a work of (childrens?) fantasy. It is a profound, thoroughly researched study with far-reaching consequences for public policy, bioethics, education, and the arts. However, it does present a rather odd dramatis personae, including a glow-in-the-dark rabbit, a woman who feels most at ease in a cattle chute, an artist of Jewish descent who implants an ID-chip in his own leg, researchers who count the words in a dogs vocabulary, and horses who exhibit more intelligence than the average human toddler. The settings, too, are often wildly different from those you might expect in an academic work: a manufactured cloud hovering over a lake in Switzerland, a tree park in Canada where landscape and architecture blend and redefine one another, recording studios, photographic laboratories, slaughterhouses, and (most of all) the putative minds of animals and the deconstructed minds of the very humans whose ontological existence it seeks to problematize.

But that is another exaggeration. Wolfes goal is not to undermine the existence or value of human beings. Rather, it is to call into question the universal ethics, assumed rationality, and species-specific self-determination of humanism. That is a mouthful.

Indeed, Wolfes book is a mouthful, and a headful. It is in fact a book by a specialist, for specialists. While Wolfe is an English professor (at Rice University) and identifies himself with literary and cultural studies (p. 100), this is first of all a work of philosophy. Its ideal audience is very small, consisting of English and Philosophy professors who came of age in the 70s, earned their Ph.D.s during the hey-day of Derridean Deconstruction, and have spent the intervening decades keeping up with trends in systems theory, cultural studies, science, bioethics, and information technology. It is rigorous and demanding, especially in its first five chapters, which lay the conceptual groundwork for the specific analyses of the second section.

In these first five chapters, Wolfe describes his perspective and purpose by interaction with many other great minds and influential texts, primarily those of Jacques Derrida. Here, the fundamental meaning and purpose of Posthumanism becomes clear. Wolfe wants his readers to rethink their relationship to animals (what he calls nonhuman animals). His goal is a new and more inclusive form of ethical pluralism (137). That sound innocuous enough, but he is not talking about racial, religious, or other human pluralisms. He is postulating a pluralism that transcends species. In other words, he is promoting the ethical treatment of animals based on a fundamental re-evaluation of what it means to be human, to be able to speak, and even to think. He does this by discussing studies that reveal the language capacities of animals (a dog apparently has about a 200-word vocabulary and can learn new words as quickly as a human three-year-old; pp. 32-33), by recounting the story of a woman whose Aspergers syndrome enables her to empathize with cows and sense the world the way they do (chapter five), and by pointing out the ways in which we value disabled people who do not possess the standard traits that (supposedly) make us human.

But Wolfe goes further than a simple suggestion that we should be nice to animals (and the unspoken plug for universal veganism). He is proposing a radical disruption of liberal humanism and a rigorous interrogation of what he sees as an arrogant complacency about our species. He respects any variety of philosophy that challenges anthropocentrism and speciesism (62)anthropocentrism, of course, means viewing the world as if homo sapiens is the center (or, more accurately, viewing the world from the position of occupying that center) and specisism is the term he uses to replace racism. We used to feel and enact prejudice against people of different ethnic backgrounds, he suggests, but we now know that is morally wrong. The time has come, then, to realize that we are feeling and enacting prejudice against people of different species.

Although Wolfe suggests many epistemological and empirical reasons for rethinking the personhood of animals, he comes to the conclusion that our relationship with them is based on our shared embodiment. Humans and animals have a shared finitude (139); we can both feel pain, suffer, and die. On the basis of our mutual mortality, then, we should have an emphasis on compassion (77). He is not out to denigrate his own species far from it. Indeed, he goes out of his way to spend time discussing infants (who have not yet developed rationality and language), people with disabilities (especially those that prevent them from participating in fully rational thought and/or communication), and the elderly (who may lose some of those rational capacities, especially if racked by such ailments as Alzheimers). Indeed, he claims: It is not by denying the special status of human being[s] but by intensifying it that we can come to think of nonhuman animalsasfellow creatures (77).

This joint focus on the special status of all human beings along with the other living creatures roaming (or swimming, flying, crawling, slithering) the globe has far-reaching consequences for public policy, especially bioethics. Wolfe says that, currently, bioethics is riddled with prejudices: Of these prejudices, none is more symptomatic of the current state of bioethics than prejudice based on species difference, and an incapacity to address the ethical issues raised by dramatic changes over the past thirty years in our knowledge about the lives, communication, emotions, and consciousnesses of a number of nonhuman species (56). One of the goals of his book, then, is to reiterate that knowledge and promote awareness of those issues that he sees as ethical.

If you read Wolfes book, or even parts of it, you will suddenly see posthumanism everywhere. You can trace its influence in the enormously fast-growing pet industry. From the blog Pawsible Marketing: As in recent and past years, there is no doubt that pets continue to become more and more a part of the family, even to the extent of becoming, in some cases, humanized.

You will see it in bring-your-pet-to-work or bring-your-pet-to-school days. You might think it is responsible for the recent introduction of a piece of legislation called H.R. 3501, The Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years, know as the HAPPY Act, which proposes a tax deduction for pet owners. You will find it in childrens books about talking animals. You will see it on Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and a PBS series entitled Inside the Animal Mind. You will find it in films, such as the brand-new documentary The Cove, which records the brutal slaughter of dolphins for food. And you will see it in works of art.

Following this reasoning, section two of Wolfes book (chapters six through eleven) veers off from the strictly philosophical approach into the more traditional terrain of cultural studies: he examines specific works of art in light of the philosophical basis that is now firmly in place. Interestingly, he does not choose all works of art that depict animals, nor those that displace humans. He begins with works that depict animals (Sue Coes paintings of slaughterhouses) and that use animals (Eduardo Kacs creation of genetically engineered animals that glow in the dark), but then moves on to discuss film, architecture, poetry, and music. In each of these examinations, he works to destabilize traditional binaries such as nature/culture, landscape/architecture, viewer/viewed, presence/absence, organic/inorganic, natural/artificial, and, really, human/nonhuman. This second section, then, is a subtle application of the theory of posthumanism itself to the arts, [our] environment, and [our] identity.

What is perhaps most important about What is Posthumanism remains latent in the text. This is its current and (especially) future prevalence. By tracing the history of posthumanism back through systems theory into deconstruction, Wolfe implies a future trajectory, too. I would venture to suggest that he believes posthumanism is the worldview that will soon come to dominate Western thought. And this is important for academics specifically and thinkers in general to realize.

Whether you agree with Cary Wolfe or not, it would be wise to understand posthumanism. It appears that your only choice will be either to align yourself with this perspective or to fight against it. If you agree, you should know with what. If you fight, you should know against what.

What, then, is the central thesis of posthumanism? Wolfes entire project might be summed up in his bold claim that, thanks to his own work and that of the theorists and artists he discusses, the human occupies a new place in the universe, a universe now populated by what I am prepared to call nonhuman subjects (47)such subjects as talking rabbits, six-inch people, and mythical monsters?

Well, maybe not the mythical monsters.

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What is Posthumanism? The Curator

Posthumanism by Pramod K. Nayar – Goodreads

This timely book examines the rise of posthumanism as both a material condition and a developing philosophical-ethical project in the age of cloning, gene engineering, organ transplants and implants.

Nayar first maps the political and philosophical critiques of traditional humanism, revealing its exclusionary and 'speciesist' politics that position the human as a distinct

Nayar first maps the political and philosophical critiques of traditional humanism, revealing its exclusionary and 'speciesist' politics that position the human as a distinctive and dominant life form. He then contextualizes the posthumanist vision which, drawing upon biomedical, engineering and techno-scientific studies, concludes that human consciousness is shaped by its co-evolution with other life forms, and our human form inescapably influenced by tools and technology. Finally the book explores posthumanism's roots in disability studies, animal studies and bioethics to underscore the constructed nature of 'normalcy' in bodies, and the singularity of species and life itself.

As this book powerfully demonstrates, posthumanism marks a radical reassessment of the human as constituted by symbiosis, assimilation, difference and dependence upon and with other species. Mapping the terrain of these far-reaching debates, Posthumanism will be an invaluable companion to students of cultural studies and modern and contemporary literature.

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Posthumanism by Pramod K. Nayar - Goodreads

What is Posthumanism? – Cary Wolfe – Google Books

What does it mean to think beyond humanism? Is it possible to craft a mode of philosophy, ethics, and interpretation that rejects the classic humanist divisions of self and other, mind and body, society and nature, human and animal, organic and technological? Can a new kind of humanities-posthumanities-respond to the redefinition of humanity's place in the world by both the technological and the biological or "green" continuum in which the "human" is but one life form among many?

Exploring how both critical thought along with cultural practice have reacted to this radical repositioning, Cary Wolfe-one of the founding figures in the field of animal studies and posthumanist theory-ranges across bioethics, cognitive science, animal ethics, gender, and disability to develop a theoretical and philosophical approach responsive to our changing understanding of ourselves and our world. Then, in performing posthumanist readings of such diverse works as Temple Grandin's writings, Wallace Stevens's poetry, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, he shows how this philosophical sensibility can transform art and culture.

For Wolfe, a vibrant, rigorous posthumanism is vital for addressing questions of ethics and justice, language and trans-species communication, social systems and their inclusions and exclusions, and the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinarity. In What Is Posthumanism? he carefully distinguishes posthumanism from transhumanism (the biotechnological enhancement of human beings) and narrow definitions of the posthuman as the hoped-for transcendence of materiality. In doing so, Wolfe reveals that it is humanism, not the human in all its embodied and prosthetic complexity, that is left behind in posthumanist thought.

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What is Posthumanism? - Cary Wolfe - Google Books

New Materialism(s) Critical Posthumanism Network

Digital Bodies by Megan Archer

New materialism is a term coined in the 1990s to describe a theoretical turn away from the persistent dualisms in modern and humanist traditions whose influences are present in much of cultural theory.[1] The discourses catalogued under new materialism(s) share an agenda with posthumanism in that they seek a repositioning of the human among nonhuman actants, they question the stability of an individuated, liberal subject, and they advocate a critical materialist attention to the global, distributed influences of late capitalism and climate change. The turn to matter as a necessary critical engagement comes from a collective discontent with the linguistic turn and social constructionism to adequately address material realities for humans and nonhumans alike. While new materialists recognise social constructionisms insistence on political relationalities of power and the effect of these dynamics on subject formation, some nevertheless maintain that the idea of discursive construction perpetuates Western, liberal subjectivities and holds on to stubborn humanist binaries. The new materialist turn might indeed be considered a return to matter in the context of historical materialisms concern for embodied circumstance and subject formation. However, as Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman point out in their anthology, Material Feminisms, material theorists do not simply abandon the work of the linguistic turn, but rather build on its foundation, underscoring the co-constitution of material and discursive productions of reality.[2] Feminist new materialisms, for instance, do not discount social constructions of gender and their intersections with class and race. They do, however, also consider how material bodies, spaces, and conditions contribute to the formation of subjectivity.

Theory marked as new materialism collectively works against inert, extra-discursive, and non-generative conceptions of matter, but the plurality of methodological approaches within the field is generous. With thinkers like Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Elizabeth Grosz, and Jane Bennett as several of the fields leading scholars, the new materialisms draw on combinations of feminist theory, science studies, environmental studies, queer theory, philosophy, cultural theory, biopolitics, critical race theory, and other approaches.

When the field was nascent, Judith Butlers seminal feminist work on sex and gender was a foundational influence on early new materialist conversations. Butlers argument against a biologically material referent of gender completely erased the nature/culture divide between sex and gender.[3] Feminist science and new materialist reactions to this kind of radical constructivism emphasised that physical bodies moving through the world, and the differences in those bodies, also inform experience. Feminist theorists began to emphasise the material of the body, considering differences among bodies, and to think through the intersections of material and social constructions. Therefore, a discursive analysis of gender required a non-essentialising approach to the matter of the body, itself. Scholars responding to and synthesising the nature/culture question included Elizabeth Wilson, Rosi Braidotti, and Anne Fausto-Sterling.[4] Fausto-Sterlings Sexing the Body takes on the literal co-construction of bodies and social environments, arguing that bodily differences are evident beneath the flesh as human cells react to the signals of their environments.[5] Identity and difference are therefore products of complex interactions between matters inside and outside of bodies, and between the social and environmental conditions in which bodies exist.

The variety of new materialist approaches continues to proliferate as the field develops, but Diana Coole and Samantha Frost suggest grouping the major trends in new materialist scholarship into three identifiable camps in their 2010 edited collection, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics.[6] The essays are organised into the categories Ontology/Agency, Bioethics/Biopolitics, and Critical Materialism. Feminist new materialists Rosi Braidotti and Karen Barad would both fit into Coole and Frosts Ontology/Agency category, since both theorists examine how matter is agential in its emergence. Braidotti draws on and productively revises ideas from her background in post-structuralist theory. Rather than Giorgio Agambens bare life (zoe), her re-reading of Spinoza and Deleuze and Guattari leads her to formulate a zoe that is the potentiality of all matter to form transversal connections or networks with all other matter.[7] In Homo Sacer (1995), Agamben argues that the Western biopolitical distinction between political and nonpolitical life (what he calls bios and zoe, respectively) can be traced to antiquity. It is the connection of sovereign power to biopower that distinguishes for Agamben a crucial cut between beings with no legal status, humans included, and beings with the privilege of legal rights.[8] Braidotti revises critical vitalism and biopolitics alike to argue that posthuman subjectivity is a zoe with an immanent potential for self-assembly along transversals, or the tendency of all living matter to form associations with other material systems. Posthuman subjectivity therefore raises important ethical questions, since it is neither bound to the individual subject, nor singularly human.

Just as Braidottis neo-vitalist theory of matter requires that we revise our existing ethical framework, Karen Barads agential realism suggests that the physical laws underpinning the reality we experience are, themselves, an ethical matter. Barads theoretical upending of the object/subject divide, or that all entities literally do not precede their intra-actions, comes from her robust background in theoretical particle physics and quantum field theory. Conditions for Barad are always already material-discursive; that is, discourse and matter come into being together, and the apparatus that delimits being is only a condition of possibility. Barad contests a human-centred concept of agency. She instead argues that intra-actions entail the complex co-productions of human and nonhuman matter, time, spaces, and their signification. Therefore, the human does not act on matter, but rather humans and nonhumans are agential actors in the world as it continuously comes into being.[9]

Though the Ontology/Agency grouping of new materialist theory makes meaningful political and ethical interventions, Coole and Frost argue that it is the Bioethics/Biopolitics category that centres on more specific questions of nonhuman social justice and geopolitical sovereign control. Elizabeth Grosz, for example, re-reads Charles Darwin to discuss the biological processes that prepare bodies for social and cultural inscription based on difference.[10]

Lastly, Critical Materialism both emerges from a tradition of Marxist historical materialism and responds to the constructivism and deconstructionist criticism of classical Marxist approaches. The new critical materialism engages the effects of global capitalism in an era of climate crisis and rejects the view that discursive rewriting of subjectivity can radically disrupt the material conditions facing the globalized subject under neoliberal capital. Jason Edwards argues that we will need to remember the materialism of historical materialism in the requisite sense if we are to understand how these problems are the systemic product of the reproduction of modern capitalist societies and the international system of states.[11] Jason Moores Capitalism in the Web of Life has also contributed to recent critical materialist approaches by re-examining capitalism as a global ecological force, extracting surplus value from nature.[12] The critical materialist approach is thus not a revitalisation of classical Marxism, but rather a rereading of its critique of capital in an era of global complexity.

Regardless of discipline, all new materialisms embrace the vitality of matter, particularly as it encompasses the nonhuman as well as the human. Rejection of anthropocentrism aligns new materialisms with posthumanism, but also with speculative realism, a branch of philosophy that in recent years has posited whether questions of vitality, agency, and generative capability are appropriate for human and nonhuman matter alike. Although speculative realism and new materialisms align in their arguments for the dissolution of a human centre, they philosophically diverge in their positions on how we can understand a true ontology, and on matters agential and vital capabilities. The approaches of new materialisms extend the capacities of agential and vital qualities to the nonhuman and the material, while the speculative realist approach questions whether an ontology of matter can realistically consider these concepts in the first place.

While new materialists question the position of human-centred ontology, they often do so with the biopolitical bent of also questioning power structures that mark material bodies as subjects of power. In this way they continue to engage with the projects and political concerns of post-structuralism while extending the reach of these discourses into matters beyond the human and into material conditions beyond the linguistically constructed. Somewhat differently, object-oriented ontology is a speculative realist approach which considers the thing at centre, arguing that no entity has privileged ontological status over another, but rather that all things exist equally. Ian Bogosts Alien Phenomenology argues for thing-centred being, cautioning that positioning our centre around human concern precludes all things perception of the world.[13] Bogost and other object-oriented ontologists encourage us to consider perceiving objects as things, rather than filtering our perception of things through human experience.

Jane Bennett, one of the new materialisms leading thinkers, argues that nonhuman (and particularly nonbiological) matter is imbued with a liveliness that can exhibit distributed agency by forming assemblages of human and nonhuman actors. Bennetts 2010 book Vibrant Matter argues that agency is only distributed and is never the effect of intentionality. Bennetts thing-power exemplifies the ability of objects to manifest a lively kind of agency. She explains in her preface: Thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence of aliveness, constituting the outside of our own experience.[14] Vibrant Matter also brings to the foreground an extant but more latent history of vibrant or lively matter in Western philosophy. Bennett builds on the ideas of early twentieth-century critical vitalists, as well as the ideas of Deleuze and Guattari, to bring together materiality, affect, and vitalism.

New materialist transgressions of humanist subject/object dualism, ideas of distributed agency, and reconsiderations of traditional notions of life and death are not universally convincing, of course. Slavoj ieks 2014 book, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism, offers a critique of this new theoretical turn, arguing that in their attempt to dismantle traditional modern thinking, new materialisms re-inscribe humanist values by merely extending agency, vitality, and social phenomena to nonhuman material.[15] Nevertheless, the variety of interdisciplinary methodologies that form the new materialisms allow them to approach similar ontological questions in different ways, a move which seems promising for a theory placing a high value on increasing contact between disciplines in institutional knowledge production, and the entanglement of matter and ideological constructions.

University of California, Riverside, April 2018

[1] Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin, Interview with Karen Barad, in New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies, ed. By Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin (Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2012), pp. 48-70 (p. 48).

[2] Material Feminisms, ed. by Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2008), pp. 1-19.

[3] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990).

[4] For an overview see Stacy Alaimo and Susan Hekman, eds. Material Feminisms (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 2008) and Manuela Rossini, To the Dogs: Companion Speciesism and the New Feminist Materialism, Kritikos 3 (Sept 2006).

[5] Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

[6] New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, ed. by Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 1-43.

[7] Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).

[8] Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).

[9] Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2007).

[10] Elizabeth Grosz, In the Nick of Time: Politics, Evolution, and the Untimely (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2004).

[11] Jason Edwards, The Materialism of Historical Materialism, in New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, ed. by Diana Coole and Samantha Frost (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 281-298 (p. 282).

[12] Jason W. Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital (New York: Verso, 2015).

[13] Ian Bogost, Alien Phenomenology, or What Its Like to Be a Thing (Minneapolis: Minnesota Press, 2012).

[14] Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2010).

[15] Slavoj iek, Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism (New York: Verso, 2014).

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This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. WikiProject Philosophy may be able to help recruit one. (November 2008)

In literary and critical theory, posthumanism or post-humanism, meaning beyond humanism, is a major European continental philosophy of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It strives to move beyond the ideas and images of the world of Renaissance humanism to correspond more closely to the 21st century's concepts of technoscientific knowledge.

Posthumanism mainly differentiates from classical humanism in that it restores the stature that had been made of humanity to one of many natural species. According to this claim, humans have no inherent rights to destroy nature or set themselves above it in ethical considerations a priori. Human knowledge is also reduced to a less controlling position, previously seen as the defining aspect of the world. The limitations and fallibility of human intelligence are confessed, even though it does not imply abandoning the rational tradition of humanism.[1]

Ihab Hassan, critic, scholar, and theorist in the academic study of literature, once stated that "humanism may be coming to an end as humanism transforms itself into something one must helplessly call posthumanism". This view predates the currents of posthumanism which have developed over the past twenty years in somewhat diverse, but complementary, domains of thought and practice. For example, Ihab Hassan is a scholar of literature and a known postmodernist whose theoretical writings expressly address postmodernism in society.[1]

Theorists who both complement and contrast Ihab Hassan include Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Bruno Latour, Shannon Bell, N. Katherine Hayles, Peter Sloterdijk and Douglas Kellner. Among the theorists are philosophers who have written about a "posthuman condition" (Robert Pepperell) which is often substituted for the term "posthumanism".[1][2]

Posthumanism is sometimes used as a synonym for an ideology of technology known as "transhumanism" because it affirms the possibility and desirability of achieving a "posthuman future" in purely evolutionary terms. However, posthumanists in the humanities and the arts are critical of transhumanism, in part, because they argue that it incorporates and extends many of the flaws of Enlightenment humanism, namely scientific imperialism and perfectibilism.[3]

The posthuman or post-human, in critical theory, is a speculative being that represents or seeks to enact a re-writing of what is generally conceived of as human. It is the object of posthumanist criticism, which critically questions Renaissance humanism, a branch of humanist philosophy which claims that human nature is a universal state from which the human being emerges; human nature is autonomous, rational, capable of free will, and unified in itself as the apex of existence. Thus, the posthuman recognizes imperfectability and disunity within him or herself, instead understanding the world through context and heterogeneous perspectives while maintaining scientific rigor and a dedication to objective observations of the world. Key to this posthuman practice is the ability to fluidly change perspectives and manifest oneself through different identities. The posthuman, for critical theorists of the subject, has an emergent ontology rather than a stable one; in other words, the posthuman is not a singular, defined individual, but rather one who can "become" or embody different identities and understand the world from multiple, heterogeneous perspectives.[4]

The posthuman, and posthumanism with it, are philosophical positions that overlap and are constantly engaged with much of postmodern philosophy, biotechnology, and evolutionary biology, so the field is constantly changing. The critical notion of the posthuman is isolated from these fields as the embodiment of critical engagement itself; that is to say that the posthuman is not necessarily human in the first place, but is rather an embodied medium through which critical consciousness is manifested.[citation needed]

Steve Nichols published the Post-Human Manifesto in 1988, and holds a contrarian view that human beings are already post-human compared to previous generations.[citation needed]

Critical discourses surrounding posthumanism are not homogeneous, but in fact present a series of often contradictory ideas, and the term itself is contested, with one of the foremost authors associated with posthumanism, Manuel DeLanda, decrying the term as "very silly."[5] Covering the ideas of, for example, Robert Pepperell's The Posthuman Condition, and N. Katherine Hayles's How We Became Posthuman under a single term is distinctly problematic due to these contradictions.

The posthuman is roughly synonymous with the "cyborg" of A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.[6] Haraway's conception of the cyborg is an ironic take on traditional conceptions of the cyborg that inverts the traditional trope of the cyborg whose presence questions the salient line between humans and robots. Haraway's cyborg is in many ways the "beta" version of the posthuman, as her cyborg theory prompted the issue to be taken up in critical theory.[7]

Following Haraway, N. Katherine Hayles, whose book How We Became Posthuman grounds much of the critical posthuman discourse, asserts that liberal humanism - which separates the mind from the body and thus portrays the body as a "shell" or vehicle for the mind - becomes increasingly complicated in the late 20th and 21st centuries because information technology put the human body in question. Hayles maintains that we must be conscious of information technological advancements while understanding information as "disembodied," that is, something which cannot fundamentally replace the human body but can only be incorporated into it and human life practices.[8]

The posthuman is a being that relies on context rather than relativity, on situated objectivity rather than universal objectivity, and on the creation of meaning through 'play' between constructions of informational pattern and reductions to the randomness of on/off switches, which are the foundation of digital binary systems.[citation needed]

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Posthumanism Theory – Technical Communication Body of …

About Posthumanism TheoryIn as brief a definition as possible, humanism is centered on the idea that human needs, values, concerns, and ideals are of the highest importance, or that the human being is the epitome of being. As a development of this idea, posthumanism is based on the notion that humankind can transcend the limitations of the physical human form. In a traditional sense, humans have been considered to be solidly and indisputably classified as high-functioning animals, but animals nonetheless. In this way, the same biological and physical constraints that limit the entire animal kingdom tether humankind to that base level. Posthumanism Theory suggests it is both possible and for the best for humans to attempt to surpass these limitations, often through the use of technology to augment biology (in a way, using the physiological capacity of the human brain to accelerate the functions of the entire human form).This progressive mentality is an important aspect of the human condition to consider in the course of modern document design and technical rhetoric. Operating under posthumanism ideals requires authors and creators to venture into the hypothetical and the unexplored because these are the areas that build upon and even improve what we already have established. Posthumanism holds this sentiment at heartthe idea that we, as humans, have no inherent barrier to making our physical and mental functionality much more efficient and powerful than it currently is. To apply these ideals to writing and rhetoric, there is the potential to incorporate the conventions of posthumanism both integrally and progressively. Integrally, a posthuman text should reflect the central ideas of posthumanism: what can authors do to make their texts transcend the perceived limitations of text and writing? How can documents be made to do more than what they currently can do, and how can their readability, usability, and accessibility be expanded? Progressively, a posthuman text should relatably adapt for evolutions in interaction: it might explore such questions as how will human interaction with documents change in the next 10, 20, 50, or 100 years? How can texts encourage mental expansion? What changes in technology can be predicted and accounted for in the delivery and interaction with documents and writing?Progressions in Usability and FunctionalityWhile the primary focus of posthumanist progression lies in the realm of higher technology, there are developments both in effect and yet to come that have much to do with technical writing and rhetoric. For many, many centuries, writing has been constrained to paper with static text. In more recent decades, the advent of computers and the Internet have caused documents to evolve and adapt. Institution of newer technologies allows for new methods of interactivity, which allow different senses to be utilized by human beings who interact with such documents. Through the use of technology, document designers and writers can allow their readers to interact at a more functional level which is more natural and fully engaging than mere reading.The qualities of new media enable documents and their interactive elements to tap into the human mind to a higher degree. In that way, technology is being utilized to better the human experience and tap into the full range of human capability. New developments in technology such as mobile phones, touch screens, e-readers, and other similar technology afford better interactivity and have evolved the way humans interact with their professional and social worlds. Technology is always changing to accommodate more natural, intuitive means of interactivitybut the most posthuman aspect of this technological innovation creep is the ubiquity of technology that allows delivery of writing and documents. Technology has filled in an accessibility gap that now grants access to documents and writing not only on printed paper, but on desktop computers, laptop computers, smartphones, and other such devices. This technology augments human beings' functionality from two directionsit enhances the ability of the audience to read and respond to writing, and it also enhances the ability of the author to create and distribute his or her writing.Posthumanist rhetoric requires a full understanding of the operation of the human being as an entity, both collectively as an audience and singularly as individual readers. Writing and rhetoric are able to be at their most posthuman when they utilize technology to transcend the physicality of humans as well as the temporality of their existence. In this way, authors begin accommodating more means of delivery and spreading the availability and accessibility of documents in addition to making documents available at much more timely intervalseven as far as on-demand. Posthuman authors who embrace technological advances gain new dimensions of interactivity both within their text as well as in response to their text. A posthuman rhetoric mindset enables the document to blossom further as a medium as it works in harmony with the qualities of its audience and their humanity.

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What does posthumanism mean? – definitions.net

Posthumanism

Posthumanism or post-humanism (meaning "after humanism" or "beyond humanism") is a term with at least seven definitions according to philosopher Francesca Ferrando:Antihumanism: any theory that is critical of traditional humanism and traditional ideas about humanity and the human condition.Cultural posthumanism: a branch of cultural theory critical of the foundational assumptions of humanism and its legacy that examines and questions the historical notions of "human" and "human nature", often challenging typical notions of human subjectivity and embodiment and strives to move beyond archaic concepts of "human nature" to develop ones which constantly adapt to contemporary technoscientific knowledge.Philosophical posthumanism: a philosophical direction which draws on cultural posthumanism, the philosophical strand examines the ethical implications of expanding the circle of moral concern and extending subjectivities beyond the human speciesPosthuman condition: the deconstruction of the human condition by critical theorists.Transhumanism: an ideology and movement which seeks to develop and make available technologies that eliminate aging and greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities, in order to achieve a "posthuman future".AI takeover: A more pessimistic alternative to transhumanism in which humans will not be enhanced, but rather eventually replaced by artificial intelligences. Some philosophers, including Nick Land, promote the view that humans should embrace and accept their eventual demise. This is related to the view of "cosmism" which supports the building of strong artificial intelligence even if it may entail the end of humanity as in their view it "would be a cosmic tragedy if humanity freezes evolution at the puny human level".Voluntary Human Extinction, which seeks a "posthuman future" that in this case is a future without humans.

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What is Posthumanism?Edit

According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

1. post-humanism: A system of thought formulated in reaction to the basic tenets of humanism, esp. its focus on humanity rather than the divine or supernatural

2. posthumanism: The idea that humanity can be transformed, transcended, or eliminated either by technological advances or the evolutionary processl artistic, scientific, or philosophical practice which also reflects this belief

...to find more information on this history of the word Posthumanism, click HERE

N. Katherine Hayles was born in St. Louis Missouri on December 16, 1943. She attended Rochester Institute of Technology where she earned a B.S. in Chemistry. She then attended the California Institute of Technology and earned a M.S. in Chemistry as well. In 1977, she went to the University of Rochester and earned a Ph.D. in English Literature.

N. Katherine Hayles is popular critic of posthumanism. She is most known for being the author of "How We Became Posthuman". She believes that although we can put our intellect into another machine, we still need to keep in mind who we are and that our information is not completely transferable-- we still need the use of our own bodies. She has become a critic to many believers of posthumanism who believe the body acts as a piece of hardware just as any other computer.

thumb|316px|left|Interview with N. Katherine Hayles by Stacey Cochran

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Hayles' paper on posthumanism intertwine with one another as Hayles believes in a "Separation between body and mind is a consequence of historical change rather than what must inevitably happen as part of their materialized life." As we progress further into a new age of humans slowly developing into an android-like state (people getting prosthesis to help them function better) we are not going against humanity but simply flowing with the tides of history. With this kind of change, we are brought with the question: what makes us human? In DADES the only method to determine who is a human and android is by one concept: empathy. Some of the humans follow a religion known as Mercerism which is based on empathy. By utilizing an empathy box, it links them to other humans as they take upon the obstacles that Mercer faces as a cohesive unit. We are brought upon a concept of how humans, identify ourselves as individuals and as members of a group through Mercerism by being able to feel empathy towards each other. The novel toys with the concept of expanding this group to the few existing animals on Earth, and even androids. These androids are advanced to the point where it is only possible to determine whether or not one is human or android by a test involving empathy. When the bountyhunter in DADES, Deckard, has to retire these androids, he begins to ponder if he in fact is human. He believes that if being human is the ability to feel empathy, then how can he truly be human without feeling empathy when he retires the androids. In order to expand the definition of human to androids, Hayles and Dick both believe that a new mixture of man and machine must occur to fulfill this expanded category to androids. A mixture of machine and man are already amongst us (as shown in one group's presentation of a man with a robot eyeball) and many already have robotic arms/legs etc.

Bladerunner is a movie based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric sheep. The film did not fare well in box offices, but has since become a classic. Some may say the film needed time to catch on but it is used in classrooms all around the United States to teach about posthumanism.

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Shelley Jackson was born in the Phillippines in 1963. Jackson attended Stanford undergraduate and Brown for her M.F.A. in creative writing. While at Brown Jackson was inspired to create her first hypertext fiction titled, Patchwork Girl. This work at the time was the best selling CD for electronic litterature and is considered a cornerstone in starting the electronic litterature movement. Jackson is currently teaching in The New School in New York City.

Similar to These Waves of Girls, "My Body" is a Hypertext Fiction that explores a young girl's memories of childhood and growing up. Many of the memories involve stories relating to growing up, sexuality, and body development. This hypertext fiction maps out different parts of a woman's body for readers to click and to discover the author's inner thoughts.

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What Is The Difference Between Posthumanism And Transhumanism?

A lot of people use the terms posthuman and transhuman interchangeably. To some extent, its reasonably okay to excuse them because these are both fairly new terms.

Posthumanism is traversing the current human condition to eliminate the things that are considered human nature. In other words, a post human state is where humans and genius machines are completely integrated so that its difficult to discern whats human. According to posthuman transcribers, the post human project will change the current perspective of everything considered human, as information patterns that are limiting the potential of humans will all be unlocked. The focus of Posthumanism is therefore on function as opposed to form.

Transhumanism, on the other hand, refers to physically transforming humans with any new technology, including bioengineering, digital technology, genetic engineering and others, to enhance their abilities; for example, making them more intelligent, stronger, immortal, and so on. In a conventional way, transhumanism can be classified as a sub-class of posthumanism. Transumanists are already using certain implants to modify their bodies for enhanced senses or brain power, so the focus is now on using prosthetics and other accessories or modifications as opposed to compensating for human abilities.

The major difference between the two is that Posthumanism puts a lot of emphasis on systems and their components, while transhumanism fully focuses on changing the form and abilities of the present human body. Another difference is that posthumans place importance on information and system theories (cybernetics) and their main relationship is with digital technology, while this is not the same for transhumans.

Posthumanism is a term that has been derived from the term post-human which represents death of a human subject. But what makes human is the qualities in the subjects. So with information these qualities can be modified for a posthuman body. Transhumanism, on the other hand, looks at life from the perspective of using the technology available to produce a super human being, a human of the future, a transhuman.

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What Is The Difference Between Posthumanism And Transhumanism?

Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford …

This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker 1972, presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. As an ethnologist and comparative literature scholar, Meeker helped to pioneer the critical discussion of ecocriticism in what he called literary ecologies. Following Meeker, Rueckert 1996 (first published 1978) actually coined the term ecocriticism, arguing for a way to find the grounds upon which the two communitiesthe human, the naturalcan coexist, cooperate, and flourish in the biosphere (p. 107). Love 1996 builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years. Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the 1990sparalleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studieslargely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays), the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell 1995, another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure. Kerridge and Sammells 1998 (cited under Collections of Essays), which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 and Buell 1995. Phillips 2003 offers a skeptical and refreshing critique of ecocriticism amid otherwise quite praiseworthybordering on mysticalcelebrations of nature in the scholarship of the 1990s. Garrard 2012 (first published 2004), along with Coupe 2000 (under Anthologies) and Armbruster and Wallace 2001 (under Nature Writing), serves as a political and theoretical turn in ecocriticism because it addresses more of the second wave concerns about animals, globality, and apocalypse. Clark 2011 is a contemporary overview that integrates a unified critical history of the waves, including nature writing, literary periods, theory, and activism, while it also provides sample readings that deploy specific ecocritical methods to literary texts. Garrard 2014 is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996. (See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.)

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

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Looks back at the history of American nature writing through literary analysiswith Thoreaus Walden as a reference pointto establish a history of environmental perception and imagination. It examines how humanistic thought, particularly through literary nonfiction, can imagine a more ecocentric or green way of living. (See also Nature Writing.)

Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Provides updated introductory material to previous studies. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.

Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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Examines a wide range of literary and cultural works. Two notable strengths: (1) it acknowledges the political dimension of ecocriticism; and (2) it explores a range of issues, from animal studies and definitions of wilderness and nature, to postapocalyptic narratives. It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in 2004.

Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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One of the most ambitious collections to date, with thirty-four chapters, this book is aimed at both general readers and students, but it also revisits the previous twenty years of ecocriticism to offer contemporary readings from the most prominent names in the field. It is an essential work for ecocritics.

Love, Glen. Revaluating Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 225240. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Argues that literary studies must engage with the environmental crisis rather than remaining unresponsive. This essay advocates for revaluing a nature-focused literature away from an ego-consciousness to an eco-consciousness (p. 232). Originally published in 1990. See also Loves Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

Meeker, Joseph. The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology. New York: Scribners, 1972.

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One of the founding works of ecocriticism. It spans many centurieslooking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.O. Wilsonand analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. The comedy of survival is at its core an ecological concept.

Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137699.001.0001E-mail Citation

One of the more prominent critiques of ecocritical theory, this book challenges neo-Romantic themes explored by ecocritics, many of which Phillips argues support the use of mimesis as a standard way to read environments, instead of looking at more pragmatic approaches.

Rueckert, William. Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 105123. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Notable primarily because it was the first publication to use the term ecocriticism as an environmentally minded literary analysis that discovers something about the ecology of literature (p. 71). Originally published in 1978.

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Ecocriticism - Literary and Critical Theory - Oxford ...

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Ecocriticism – Literary and Critical Theory – Oxford Bibliographies

Introduction

Ecocriticism is a broad way for literary and cultural scholars to investigate the global ecological crisis through the intersection of literature, culture, and the physical environment. Ecocriticism originated as an idea called literary ecology (Meeker 1972, cited under General Overviews) and was later coined as an -ism (Rueckert 1996, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism expanded as a widely used literary and cultural theory by the early 1990s with the formation of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) at the Western Literary Association (1992), followed by the launch of the flagship journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (cited under Journals) in 1993, and then later the publication of The Ecocriticism Reader (Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, cited under Collections of Essays). Ecocriticism is often used as a catchall term for any aspect of the humanities (e.g., media, film, philosophy, and history) addressing ecological issues, but it primarily functions as a literary and cultural theory. This is not to say that ecocriticism is confined to literature and culture; scholarship often incorporates science, ethics, politics, philosophy, economics, and aesthetics across institutional and national boundaries (Clark 2011, p. 8, cited under General Overviews). Ecocriticism remains difficult to define. Originally, scholars wanted to employ a literary analysis rooted in a culture of ecological thinking, which would also contain moral and social commitments to activism. As Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays) famously states, ecocriticism takes an earth-centred approach to literary studies, rather than an anthropomorphic or human-centered approach (p. xviii). Many refer to ecocriticism synonymously as the study of literature and the environment (rooted in literary studies) or environmental criticism (interdisciplinary and cultural). Ecocriticism has been divided into waves to historicize the movement in a clear trajectory (Buell 2005, cited under Ecocritical Futures). The first wave of ecocriticism tended to take a dehistoricized approach to nature, often overlooking more political and theoretical dimensions and tending toward a celebratory approach of wilderness and nature writing. Ecocriticism expanded into a second wave, offering new ways of approaching literary analysis by, for example, theorizing and deconstructing human-centered scholarship in ecostudies; imperialism and ecological degradation; agency for animals and plants; gender and race as ecological concepts; and problems of scale. The third wave advocates for a global understanding of ecocritical practice through issues like global warming; it combines elements from the first and second waves but aims to move beyond Anglo-American prominence. There are currently hundreds of books and thousands of articles and chapters written about ecocriticism.

This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker 1972, presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. As an ethnologist and comparative literature scholar, Meeker helped to pioneer the critical discussion of ecocriticism in what he called literary ecologies. Following Meeker, Rueckert 1996 (first published 1978) actually coined the term ecocriticism, arguing for a way to find the grounds upon which the two communitiesthe human, the naturalcan coexist, cooperate, and flourish in the biosphere (p. 107). Love 1996 builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years. Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the 1990sparalleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studieslargely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 (cited under Collections of Essays), the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell 1995, another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure. Kerridge and Sammells 1998 (cited under Collections of Essays), which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm 1996 and Buell 1995. Phillips 2003 offers a skeptical and refreshing critique of ecocriticism amid otherwise quite praiseworthybordering on mysticalcelebrations of nature in the scholarship of the 1990s. Garrard 2012 (first published 2004), along with Coupe 2000 (under Anthologies) and Armbruster and Wallace 2001 (under Nature Writing), serves as a political and theoretical turn in ecocriticism because it addresses more of the second wave concerns about animals, globality, and apocalypse. Clark 2011 is a contemporary overview that integrates a unified critical history of the waves, including nature writing, literary periods, theory, and activism, while it also provides sample readings that deploy specific ecocritical methods to literary texts. Garrard 2014 is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm 1996. (See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.)

Buell, Lawrence. The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

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Looks back at the history of American nature writing through literary analysiswith Thoreaus Walden as a reference pointto establish a history of environmental perception and imagination. It examines how humanistic thought, particularly through literary nonfiction, can imagine a more ecocentric or green way of living. (See also Nature Writing.)

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Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Provides updated introductory material to previous studies. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.

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Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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Examines a wide range of literary and cultural works. Two notable strengths: (1) it acknowledges the political dimension of ecocriticism; and (2) it explores a range of issues, from animal studies and definitions of wilderness and nature, to postapocalyptic narratives. It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in 2004.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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One of the most ambitious collections to date, with thirty-four chapters, this book is aimed at both general readers and students, but it also revisits the previous twenty years of ecocriticism to offer contemporary readings from the most prominent names in the field. It is an essential work for ecocritics.

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Love, Glen. Revaluating Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 225240. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Argues that literary studies must engage with the environmental crisis rather than remaining unresponsive. This essay advocates for revaluing a nature-focused literature away from an ego-consciousness to an eco-consciousness (p. 232). Originally published in 1990. See also Loves Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003).

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Meeker, Joseph. The Comedy of Survival: Studies in Literary Ecology. New York: Scribners, 1972.

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One of the founding works of ecocriticism. It spans many centurieslooking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.O. Wilsonand analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. The comedy of survival is at its core an ecological concept.

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Phillips, Dana. The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137699.001.0001Save Citation Export Citation E-mail Citation

One of the more prominent critiques of ecocritical theory, this book challenges neo-Romantic themes explored by ecocritics, many of which Phillips argues support the use of mimesis as a standard way to read environments, instead of looking at more pragmatic approaches.

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Rueckert, William. Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 105123. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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Notable primarily because it was the first publication to use the term ecocriticism as an environmentally minded literary analysis that discovers something about the ecology of literature (p. 71). Originally published in 1978.

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Ecocritical scholarship owes a great debt to environmental philosophers, historians, sociologists, and biologists who have helped to conceptualize the relationship among humans, nonhumans, nature, and culture. Although a complete list of possible influential writings would be enormous, the following provides a brief outline of some instrumental works. Leopold 1949, from a conservationist perspective, is a monumental work that challenges anthropocentric thinking with the now famous concept of Thinking like a Mountain as part of The Land Ethic. Carson 2002 (first published 1962) challenged the industrial-chemical complex by arguing that the use pesticides are, contrary to popular science at the time, both socially and environmentally harmful. Whereas Carson pioneered the activist strain in ecocriticism, Marx 2000 (first published 1964) did so through literary and historical criticism by questioning the American pastoral imagination as an environmental threat. White 1996 (first published 1967) located the root cause of the historical ecological crisis in Judeo-Christian values. White, along with many other later ecological writings, condemned Judeo-Christian theology for neglecting to care for the present physical world in anticipation of the eternal one hereafter. Rooted in cultural and Marxist theory, Williams 1973 adroitly analyzed the urban-rural dialectic between the city and country. This work partly influenced ecocritical scholarship to challenge the Eurocentric divide between nature and culture. Nash 1989 brought the ethical and social ecological dimension into contemporary debates by promoting the rights of nonhuman organisms. Williams 1992 is a multi-genre personal account of the ecological crisis; it has become a widely read work in classrooms as well as cited in ecocritical scholarship.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

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Considered by many to have initiated the contemporary environmental and ecological movements. It addresses the systemic problem of environmental degradation brought on by corporate industry and advocates for protection through public awareness and resistance. Originally published in 1962.

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Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

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Calls for a revolutionary Land Ethic as an environmental philosophy that every human should follow: A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise (p. 189). Reprinted in 2001.

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Marx, Leo. The Machine and the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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Largely a book about pastoralism in 19th- and 20th-century America, it traces the history of technology in society and culture. It argues that pastoralisma utopian theme of expansive landscapes for settlement and utilityhas and continues to define the environmental consciousness of America. Originally published in 1964.

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Nash, Roderick Frazier. The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

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Demonstrates the influence of environmentalism in various intellectual fields. It catalogues the green wave in society and politics, and questions the rights of other nonhuman organisms. As a piece of social ecology and environmental philosophy, it was a major influence on ecocriticism.

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White, Lynn, Jr. The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. In The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, 314. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This famous essay reconsiders how cultural influence and social conditioningthrough beliefs and valuescan affect environmental consciousness. Specifically, the essay criticizes Judeo-Christianity for supporting anthropocentric superiority. Giving humans a licence to dominate the natural world has led to the contemporary environmental crisis. Originally published in 1967.

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Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

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Contextualizes the dialectic between rural and urban thinking that has divided culture from environments for centuries. Often framed as a pastoral critique from a Marxist perspective, this book anticipates holistic discussions about the integration of built and nonbuilt environments in contemporary ecocritical discourses.

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Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge. New York: Vintage, 1992.

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Part memoir, part naturalist writing, part tragedy, this book explores Williamss experience watching her mothers death from breast cancer while also watching the destruction of a bird sanctuary through flooding. It remains one of the most influential narrative books of ecocritical studies (e.g., see Narrative Ecocriticism).

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There have been massive amounts of collections of essays about ecocriticism, offering a diverse range of writings on interdisciplinary topics, which is what ecocriticism accomplishes as a literary and cultural theory. This list offers some of the noteworthy publications across many subjects, beginning with Glotfelty and Fromm 1996, which serves as both an anthology of previous publications (e.g., Meeker 1972, Rueckert 1996, and Love 1996, cited under General Overviews, Silko 1996, cited under Critical Race Studies), as well as many new essays at the time of its publication. Bennett and Teague 1999 is particularly significant for including urban or built environments as a central part of the ecocritical discussion; it helped to challenge the idea that ecocriticism focuses on tradition notions of nature. Slovic and Branch 2003 bridges the gap between the first and second waves of ecocritical studies, where scholars took a decidedly more theoretical turn in scholarship. Goodbody and Rigby 2011 largely differs from others in this list because it assemble an original collection focused on European ecocritical theory (see also Global Perspectives). Turning to pedagogy, Garrard 2012 is one of several collections on teaching ecocriticism in the classroom, a trend that began with Waages Teaching Environmental Literature: Materials, Methods, Resources (1985). Lynch, et al. 2012 also contains a section on pedagogy, but it is couched in the larger analysis of bioregional thinking (local community and sustainable culture). Westling 2013 is a collection on contemporary literary and cultural environmental concerns in the widely read Cambridge Companion series.

Bennett, Michael, and David W. Teague, eds. The Nature of Cities: Ecocriticism and Urban Environments. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.

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The essays in this volume invite readers to think about the environment as a larger and more holistic concept, moving away from the separation of nonbuilt (nature) and built (cities) environments. It remains one of the few works about urban ecocriticism.

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Garrard, Greg, ed. Teaching Ecocriticism and Green Cultural Studies. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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Emphasizes the roots of ecocriticism as a teaching-activist-scholarly pursuit through a range of collected essays. This book stands out as one of the few collections or monographs to focus entirely on the pedagogy and practice of a green literary and cultural study.

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Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

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This landmark publication in the field is both collection and anthology; it provides previously published essays (e.g., Lynne White Jr., William Rueckert, Paula Gunn Allen, Leslie Marmon Silko), along with many original essays. It introduces the critical concept of ecocriticism as a response to the global environmental crisis.

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Goodbody, Axel, and Kate Rigby, eds. Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.

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Noteworthy for representing a distinctively European ecocriticism, providing a break from the dominant North American voice. This collection theorizies ecocriticism, while keeping the practice and activist element intact, through European philosophy, theorists, and environmental thinkers.

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Kerridge, Richard, and Neil Sammells, eds. Writing the Environment: Ecocriticism and Literature. London: Zed Books, 1998.

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Serves as one of the early collections in the field and provides samples of what ecocritics do (p. 8). This collection contains essays on race and environmental justice, childrens environmental literature, pop culture, and body politics.

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Lynch, Tom, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Karla Armbruster, eds. The Bioregional Imagination: Literature, Ecology, and Place. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

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Aims to explain the idea in literary criticism of bioregionalisma sustainable sense of place on a day-to-day scale that we can inhabit beyond national or political boundaries. This collection is skilfully arranged in four sections: Reinhabiting, Rereading, Reimaging, and Renewal (forming a bioregional pedagogy).

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Slovic, Scott, and Michael Branch, eds. The ISLE Reader: Ecocriticism, 19932003. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2003.

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Based upon early essays published in the flagship ecocritical journal ISLE, this collection charts a thorough trajectory of the essays that defined the ecocritical movement in the 1990s. It provides an excellent overview of earlier prominent ecocritical scholarship in essay form.

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Westling, Louise, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Literature and the Environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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Offers a range of introductory writings on ecocriticism, as other collections in this list do, but provides a more contemporary approach. Despite the title, it also includes essays about cinema and ecotheory as well.

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This section includes some of the more widely used anthologies that reproduce excerpts of previously published works by writers, essayists, travelers, and poets in environmental literature and culture. Lyon 1989 is as an early anthology used in environmental writing courses in the early to mid-1990s, during the early expansion of ecocriticism as a field. Another batch of anthologies emerged on the market in the late 1990s. Halpern and Frank 1998 diversifies the range of nature and environmental writers and even includes some international figures. Anderson, et al. 2013 is a comprehensive textbook and reader that differs from many of the readers in this list, which mainly reproduce experts of previously published material. Many of the earlier volumesLyon 1989, Halpern and Frank 1998, and even Branch 2004, the latter of which focuses on the origins of nature writingresemble each other in content and approach. The later volumes, starting with Coupe 2000, begin to address a wider range of second wave concerns. Coupe provides an extensive overview of literary periods in ecocriticism, beginning with the Romantics. Fisher-Wirth and Street 2013 is a volume devoted entirely to American environmental poetry. Hiltner 2014 is the most recent and comprehensive reader in this list, except for perhaps Coupe 2000, although it does not offer the pedagogical elements that Anderson, et al. 2013 does. A significant gap at the moment in ecocritical anthologies remains the lack of a complete anthology of environmental writers from around the globe.

Anderson, Lorraine, Scott P. Slovic, and John P. OGrady, eds. Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture. New York: Pearson Longman, 2013.

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Ecocriticism - Literary and Critical Theory - Oxford Bibliographies

Gabriel S De Anda | Writer

Everything has been said, but not everything has been said superbly, and even if it had been, everything must be said freshly over and over again. Paul Horgan

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The times they are a-changing, especially in the realm of self-publishing.Acres of verbiage have been expended on the pros and cons of authors doing it for themselves.We will have to content ourselves here with saying, Not all tomes produced in this fashion are valueless. Heres one worthy candidate: Cherubimbo (Xlibris, trade paper, $19.99, 190 pages, ISBN 978-1-4628-4731-0) by Gabriel S. de Anda. With prior publication credits in several respectable zines, these stories come pre-vetted by an editorial acumen that is so often absent in other DIY productions. A practicing lawyer, de Anda infuses a couple of pieces with stefnal legal expertise, in the vein of Charles Harness. Time travel offers him lots of room for playful speculation, particularly in the emotionally resonant 1969. And some colorful posthumanism informs My Year To Be A Horse. De Andas touch is solid yet light-hearted, a winning one-two punch.

Paul Di Filippo 2013

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Here are a two more books by Gabriel S. de Anda.

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Gabriel S De Anda | Writer


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