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APPROACHING POSTHUMANISM AND THE POSTHUMAN

Conference and Doctoral Workshop

June 4-6, 2015 – St. Maurice, Switzerland

 

Keynote Speakers:

Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, George Washington University

Stefan Herbrechter, Coventry University

Margrit Shildrick, Linköping University

Cary Wolfe, Rice University

 

Organizers: Deborah Madsen, Manuela Rossini, Kimberly Frohreich, and Bryn Skibo-Birney

 

CALL FOR PAPERS: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/57765

 

A highly topical and sometimes contentious notion, posthumanism continues to spark debates as to how it is

and should be defined, particularly in relation to humanism. One might ask whether the posthuman is merely

an imaginative, literary, and/or theoretical figure or if we are already posthuman. Is posthumanism simply

“after the human” or does it speak to a being beyond, above, within, encompassing, and surpassing what we

currently know as “the human”? Moreover, even if we recognize that posthumanism is inextricably bound to

and wound up in humanist discourse, does the posthuman figure effectively open up alternative perspectives

and positions from which to question, to destabilize, and to decenter the human?

 

These questions permeate contemporary literature, film and television, comic books, video games, social

media, philosophical and theoretical essays in which posthuman figures abound. From avatars and cyborgs to

clones and zombies, the posthuman appears continually to challenge the line dividing the human from the

nonhuman. Whether blurring the distinction between human and machine, human and animal, organic and

inorganic, or the living from the dead, whether destabilizing gender, sexuality, race, class, age, the

mind/body dichotomy, or species categorization, posthumanism points to the ways in which (the exclusion

of) the Other is necessary to the self-bounded identity of the human(ist) subject. More than a contemporary

issue, posthumanism appears whenever “humanness” or anthropocentrism is in crisis, and critics have

accordingly noted the presence of posthumanist thought, themes, and figures not only in postmodern

literature but in much earlier literary periods as well.

 

The aim of this conference is both to explore the multiple ways in which posthumanism in its various

configurations questions, complicates, destabilizes, and “haunts” humanism and the human, as well as to

discuss theoretical approaches to posthumanism and/or the posthuman. In addition to inhabiting a wide range

of literary periods, genres, and media, posthumanism can also be said to blur the seemingly well-defined

borders between humanities disciplines, lending itself to interdisciplinary approaches involving literary and

cultural studies, media studies, animal studies, and fields like the digital, medical, and environmental

humanities, as well as drawing from multiple theoretical frameworks such as feminism, gender studies, queer

theory, race theory, disability studies, postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction.

 

Please send 300 word abstracts to Kimberly Frohreich (kimberly.frohreich@unige.ch) and Bryn Skibo-

Birney (bryn.skibo@unige.ch) by September 15, 2014.

 

Paper topics can address (but are not limited to) any of the above areas and themes across disciplines, periods, genres, and media.

An additional list of potential paper topics is below:

  • Posthumanist discourse and/or figures in medieval, early modern, modern or contemporary literature
  • Posthuman figures in film and television
  • Posthuman figures in comic books and graphic novels
  • Posthuman figures in contemporary media forms, e.g. video games, social media, etc.
  • Posthumanism and critical animal studies
  • Digital humanities and posthumanism
  • Medical humanities and posthumanism
  • Environmental humanities and posthumanism
  • Postcolonial posthumanism
  • Posthumanism and the Gothic (then and now)
  • Posthumanism and fantasy, science fiction and/or speculative fiction
  • Virtual versus embodied reality
  • Monsters, ..freaks,.. and/or superheroes
  • Metamorphoses and interspecies being/becoming
  • Posthuman(ist) subjectivities
  • Embodying posthumanism or the posthuman body
  • The posthumous
  • Language and the posthuman
  • Posthumanism and gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and/or class
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Posthuman politics and ethics

 

**END**

‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ Academia: http://independent.academia.edu/GlennRikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski?ev=hdr_xprf

Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

 

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