What Is Posthumanism?

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-12-31
  • Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr
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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'sDancer in the Dark, the architecture of Diller+Scofidio, and David Byrne and Brian Eno'sMy 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. InWhat 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.

Author Biography

Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English at Rice University. He is the author of Critical Environments: Postmodern Theory and the Pragmatics of the “Outside” (Minnesota, 1998) and Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory, and the editor of Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (Minnesota, 2003).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction What Is Posthumanism?p. xi
Theories, Disciplines, Ethics
Meaning and Event; or, Systems Theory and "The Reconstruction of Reconstruction"p. 3
Language, Representation, and Speciesp. 31
Cognitive Science versus Deconstruction
Flesh and Finitudep. 49
Bioethics and the Philosophy of the Living
"Animal Studies," Disciplinarity, and the (Post)Humanitiesp. 99
Learning from Temple Grandinp. 127
Animal Studies, Disability Studies, and Who Comes after the Subject
Media, Culture, Practices
From Dead Meat to Glow-in-the-Dark Bunniesp. 145
The Animal Question in Contemporary Art
When You Can't Believe Your Eyes (or Voice)p. 169
Dancer in the Dark
Lose the Buildingp. 203
Form and System in Contemporary Architecture
Emerson's Romanticism, Cavell's Skepticism, Luhmann's Modernityp. 239
The Idea of Observation at Key Westp. 265
Systems Theory, Poetry, and Form beyond Formalism
The Digital, the Analog, and the Spectralp. 283
Echographies from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Notesp. 301
Publication Historyp. 347
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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