Introduction With the increasing awareness of the devastating consequences of what some call ‘the Anthropocene’ and others a ‘crisis of humanism’, the ‘posthuman’ has become a focal term in contemporary debates at the crossroads of science, politics and the humanities. Participants in this debate in the last decades of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century, have often claimed that we are living in a historical moment in which the human is losing its centrality by
‘Man is animal; man is plant and flower; In him slumbers the beast, in him lives mimosa-like softness … this flight of appearances involves a change of methods’. (Alexander Blok, ‘The Decline of Humanism’, 1921) It seems axiomatic that art history is, and could only ever be, a humanities discipline. But could it soon grow into a posthumanities practice? After all, as McKenzie Wark observes: ‘All of the interesting and useful movements in the humanities since the late twentieth century have critiqued and dissented from the theologies of the human
Introduction: Posthuman bodies, postmodern values As we become increasingly able to change our bodies through technologies, the human will transgress into the posthuman, a state in which – as the word’s relationship to postmodernism implies – our cultural value systems will also change. 1 : the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘Posthuman’ as ‘The idea that humanity can be transformed
that the subjects of the novel, the therapeutic clones, are human, when they are at best posthuman, and at worst simply non-human. That is to say, Never Let Me Go employs narrative techniques and the very form of the novel to manipulate readers into empathising with the narrator, Kathy H. – a clone ‘carer’ who stoically nurses her friends as they undergo mandatory ‘donations’ of organs until they finally ‘complete’ – and through her a range of non-human characters who, though humanesque, are simply facsimiles of human beings; unwittingly succumbing to a category
This paper examines how the reconfiguration of embodiment at the end of the nineteenth century provides Charlotte Mew with a powerful trope of disembodiment which she employs to inscribe a new kind of body in her short story, ‘Passed’- a body which allows the expression of lesbian desire. The ‘reconfiguration of embodiment’ discussed in this essay is, more specifically, the result of the emergence of the ‘machinic-human body’ (a precursor to the post-human at this time). This paper discusses how this machinic-human body ‘which is Gothic or ‘abhuman’ as the term is employed by Kelly Hurley in her book, The Gothic Body is linked to Mew‘s use of erasure, silence, death, and out-of-body-experience, and how Mew employs erasure of the printed word, and death of the heterosexual body to encode a new body, with ‘new’ desires. In ‘Passed’, text and body are intimately linked such that within the world of the story erasure of the written word is associated with the erasure of the heterosexual body, and this very erasure enacts an encoding of a homosexual one. At the same time, of course, it is Mew‘s use of print that allows the erasure and encoding that is the work of the story.
change in world-experience. What is often called post-humanism ( Braidotti, 2013 ) brings several contemporary positivist stands together. These include the new empiricism, speculative realism and actor network theory. Post-humanist thought draws on process-oriented behavioural ontologies of becoming. These privilege individuals understood as cognitively limited by their unmediated relationship with their enfolding environments ( Galloway, 2013 ; Chandler, 2015 ). An individual’s ‘world’ reduces to the immediate who, where and when of their
Critical theory remains one of the most important and exciting areas within the study of international relations. Its purpose is not only to describe the way in which the world operates but to help us imagine how the world might be different and how we might achieve a more equitable and sustainable way of life. As well as presenting key concepts and thinkers the book also provides an evaluation of the field and suggests how critical thinking can contribute to confronting the challenges of the twenty-first century. The book evaluates the foundations on which critical theory has been built and illustrates how ideas which developed outside of International Relations theory have been adopted and adapted within the discipline. The book is focused on essential questions to the critical project: what can we know; how does power operate; and how should we live? In addition to discussing the foundations of critical thinking in International Relations, the book draws on recent developments in philosophy and posthumanism as an area of study to critique western thought. To overcome recent critiques of critical theory in International Relations, the book argues that it is necessary to engage with thinking outside of the western tradition. As the human species confronts the COVID-19 epidemic and the ongoing climate crisis, the book argues for a new direction for critical theory in International Relations.
What does it mean to live in an era of ‘posts’? At a time when ‘post-truth’ is on everyone’s lips, this volume seeks to uncover the logic of post-constructions – postmodernism, post-secularism, postfeminism, post-colonialism, post-capitalism, post-structuralism, post-humanism, post-tradition, post-Christian, post-Keynesian and post-ideology – across a wide array of contexts. It shows that ‘post’ does not simply mean ‘after.’ Although post-prefixes sometimes denote a particular periodization, especially in the case of mid-twentieth-century post-concepts, they more often convey critical dissociation from their root concept. In some cases, they even indicate a continuation of the root concept in an altered form. By surveying the range of meanings that post-prefixes convey, as well as how these meanings have changed over time and across multiple and shifting contexts, this volume sheds new light on how post-constructions work and on what purposes they serve. Moreover, by tracing them across the humanities and social sciences, the volume uncovers sometimes unexpected parallels and transfers between fields usually studied in isolation from each other.
This chapter argues that the posthuman in Beckett provides the most fertile ground for intermedial adaptation of his work in the contemporary arts. It focuses on the intersections between Beckett and posthumanism by analysing examples of how selected contemporary artists in different media draw on his work in order to expand and explore normative categories of human embodiment and subjectivity, such as the interface between the machinic, the prosthetic and the corporeal in work by Rebecca Horn (1970s–2010s) and neurodiverse theatre performance
This edited collection, Affective intimacies, provides a novel platform for re-evaluating the notion of open-ended intimacies through the lens of affect theories. Thus, this collection is not about affect and intimacy, but affective intimacies. Instead of foregrounding certain predefined categories of affects or intimacies, the book focuses on processes, entanglements and encounters between humans as well as between human and non-human bodies that provide key signposts for grasping of affective intimacies. Throughout, Affective intimacies addresses the embodied, affective and psychic aspects of intimate entanglements across various timely phenomena. Rather than assuming that we could parse affective intimacies in a pre-defined way, the collection asks how the study of affect enables us to rethink intimacies, what affect theories can do to the prevailing notion of intimacy and how they renew and enrich theories of intimacy. Affective intimacies brings together a selection of original chapters which invite readers to follow and reconsider affective intimacies as they unfold in the happenings of everyday lives and in their mobile, affective and more-than-human intricate predicaments. In this manner, the edited collection makes a valuable contribution to the social sciences and humanities which have yet to recognise and utilise the potential to imagine affective intimacies in alternative ways, without starting from the already familiar terrains, theories and conceptualisations. By so doing, it advances the value of interdisciplinary perspectives and creative methodologies in thinking in terms of affective intimacies.