From Dr. Moreau's Beast People to David Cronenberg's Brundlefly, Stanislaw Lem's robot constructors in the Cyberiad to Octavia Butler's human/alien constructs in the Xenogenesis trilogy, Posthuman Metamorphosis examines modern and postmodern stories of corporeal transformation through interlocking frames of posthumanism, narratology, and second-order systems theory. New media generate new metamorphs. New stories have emerged from cybernetic displacements of life, sensation, or intelligence from human beings to machines. But beyond the vogue for the cyborg and the cybernetic mash-up of the organic and the mechanical, Posthuman Metamorphosis develops neocybernetic systems theories illuminating alternative narratives that elicit autopoietic and symbiotic visions of the posthuman. Systems theory also transforms our modes of narrative cognition. Regarding narrative in the light of the autopoietic systems it brings into play, neocybernetics brings narrative theory into constructive relation with the systemic operations of observation, communication, and paradox. Posthuman Metamorphosis draws on Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Niklas Luhmann, Cary Wolfe, Mieke Bal, Katherine Hayles, Friedrich Kittler, and Lynn Margulis to read narratives of bodily metamorphosis as allegories of the contingencies of systems. Tracing the posthuman intuitions of both pre- and post-cybernetic metamorphs, it demonstrates the viability of second-order systems theories for narrative theory, media theory, cultural science studies, and literary criticism.
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This book gathers diverse critical treatments from fifteen scholars of the posthuman and posthumanism together in a single volume.
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.
Futurist Women broadens current debates on Futurism and literary studies by demonstrating the expanding global impact of women Futurist artists and writers in the period succeeding the First World War. This study initially focuses on the local: the making of the self in the work by the women who were affiliated with the journal L'Italia futurista during World War I in Florence. But then it broadens its field of inquiry to the global. It compares the achievements of these women with those of key precursors and followers. It also conceives these women's work as an ongoing dialogue with contemporary political and scientific trends in Europe and North America, especially first wave feminism, eugenics, naturism and esotericism. Finally, it examines the vital importance and repercussions of these women's ideas in current debates on gender and the posthuman condition. This ground-breaking study will prove invaluable for all scholars and upper-level students of modern European literature, Futurism, and gender studies.
Contributions by Torsten Caeners, Phoebe Chen, Mathieu Donner, Shannon Hervey, Angela S. Insenga, Patricia Kennon, Maryna Matlock, Ferne Merrylees, Lars Schmeink, Anita Tarr, Tony M. Vinci, and Donna R. White For centuries, humanism has provided a paradigm for what it means to be human: a rational, unique, unified, universal, autonomous being. Recently, however, a new philosophical approach, posthumanism, has questioned these assumptions, asserting that being human is not a fixed state but one always dynamic and evolving. Restrictive boundaries are no longer in play, and we do not define who we are by delineating what we are not (animal, machine, monster). There is no one aspect that makes a being human--self-awareness, emotion, artistic expression, or problem-solving--since human characteristics reside in other species along with shared DNA. Instead, posthumanism looks at the ways our bodies, intelligence, and behavior connect and interact with the environment, technology, and other species. In Posthumanism in Young Adult Fiction: Finding Humanity in a Posthuman World, editors Anita Tarr and Donna R. White collect twelve essays that explore this new discipline's relevance in young adult literature. Adolescents often tangle with many issues raised by posthumanist theory, such as body issues. The in-betweenness of adolescence makes stories for young adults ripe for posthumanist study. Contributors to the volume explore ideas of posthumanism, including democratization of power, body enhancements, hybridity, multiplicity/plurality, and the environment, by analyzing recent works for young adults, including award-winners like Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion, as well as the works of Octavia Butler and China Miéville.
With forty-four newly commissioned articles from an international cast of leading scholars, The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science traces the network of connections among literature, science, technology, mathematics, and medicine. Divided into three main sections, this volume: links diverse literatures to scientific disciplines from Artificial Intelligence to Thermodynamics surveys current theoretical and disciplinary approaches from Animal Studies to Semiotics traces the history and culture of literature and science from Greece and Rome to Postmodernism. Ranging from classical origins and modern revolutions to current developments in cultural science studies and the posthumanities, this indispensible volume offers a comprehensive resource for undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers. With authoritative, accessible, and succinct treatments of the sciences in their literary dimensions and cultural frameworks, here is the essential guide to this vibrant area of study.
What are systems? What is society? What happens to human beings in a hypermodern world? This book is an introduction to Niklas Luhmann's social system theory which explains specific functions like economy and mass media from a cybernetic perspective. Integrating various schools of thought including sociology, philosophy and biology Luhmann Explained results in an overall analysis of "world society". Special attention is given to the present-day relevance of Luhmann's theory with respect to globalization, electronic mass media, ethics, and new forms of protest.
Communications, philosophy, film and video, digital culture: media studies straddles an astounding array of fields and disciplines and produces a vocabulary that is in equal parts rigorous and intuitive. Critical Terms for Media Studies defines, and at times, redefines, what this new and hybrid area aims to do, illuminating the key concepts behind its liveliest debates and most dynamic topics. Part of a larger conversation that engages culture, technology, and politics, this exciting collection of essays explores our most critical language for dealing with the qualities and modes of contemporary media. Edited by two outstanding scholars in the field, W. J. T. Mitchell and Mark B. N. Hansen, the volume features works by a team of distinguished contributors. These essays, commissioned expressly for this volume, are organized into three interrelated groups: “Aesthetics” engages with terms that describe sensory experiences and judgments, “Technology” offers entry into a broad array of technological concepts, and “Society” opens up language describing the systems that allow a medium to function. A compelling reference work for the twenty-first century and the media that form our experience within it, Critical Terms for Media Studies will engage and deepen any reader’s knowledge of one of our most important new fields.
How does our fascination with technology intersect with the religious imagination? In TechGnosis—a cult classic now updated and reissued with a new afterword—Erik Davis argues that while the realms of the digital and the spiritual may seem worlds apart, esoteric and religious impulses have in fact always permeated (and sometimes inspired) technological communication. Davis uncovers startling connections between such seemingly disparate topics as electricity and alchemy; online roleplaying games and religious and occult practices; virtual reality and gnostic mythology; programming languages and Kabbalah. The final chapters address the apocalyptic dreams that haunt technology, providing vital historical context as well as new ways to think about a future defined by the mutant intermingling of mind and machine, nightmare and fantasy.
An investigation of identity formation in children's literature, this book brings together children’s literature and recent critical concerns with posthuman identity to argue that children’s fiction offers sophisticated interventions into debates about what it means to be human, and in particular about humanity’s relationship to animals and the natural world. In complicating questions of human identity, ecology, gender, and technology, Jaques engages with a multifaceted posthumanism to understand how philosophy can emerge from children's fantasy, disclosing how such fantasy can build upon earlier traditions to represent complex issues of humanness to younger audiences. Interrogating the place of the human through the non-human (whether animal or mechanical) leads this book to have interpretations that radically depart from the critical tradition, which, in its concerns with the socialization and representation of the child, has ignored larger epistemologies of humanness. The book considers canonical texts of children's literature alongside recent bestsellers and films, locating texts such as Gulliver’s Travels (1726), Pinocchio (1883) and the Alice books (1865, 1871) as important works in the evolution of posthuman ideas. This study provides radical new readings of children’s literature and demonstrates that the genre offers sophisticated interventions into the nature, boundaries and dominion of humanity.