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Posthumanism and Ancestrality
Before Humanity takes up the question of the post- in the posthuman from the position of ancestrality. Speculating about who or what comes after the human inevitably throws us back to our very beginnings. The before in Before Humanity in this context takes on two meanings: 1) what happened before we apparently became human? – which translates into a critical reading of paleo-anthropology, as well as evolutionary narratives of hominization; 2) living through the end of a certain (humanist, anthropocentric) notion of humanity, what tasks lie before us? – which provokes a critical reading of the Anthropocene and current narratives of geologization.
In other words, Before Humanity investigates conceptualizations of humanity and asks whether we have ever been human and if not, what could, or maybe what should we have been?
In: Literature and the Long Modernity
In: Literature and the Long Modernity
Lawrence Durrell, Postmodernism and the Ethics of Alterity is of interest for any reader wishing to explore the interface between literature, and critical and cultural theory. The volume investigates the notions of alterity which underlie the work of Lawrence Durrell and postmodernist theory. The introduction sketches the Levinasian ethics of alterity and re-evaluates Durrell's fiction within the context of postmodernism. For the first time a study calls upon Durrell's later work, especially The Avignon Quintet, to propose an other reading of Durrell. Criticising the notion of the canon and extending the context of a postmodernist ethics of alterity, this reading embraces the alterity of receiving the un(re)ceivable text as the only possibility of reading Durrell's work today. The volume then focuses on the notion of alterity in the context of Durrell's gnostic philosophy, which it compares to postmodernist world views or cosmologies. The resulting critique of alterity is seen as central to defining the relation between postmodernism, as a dominant discourse in contemporary Western culture, and e.g. its postcolonial others. Other aspects of the study are the common concern of postmodernism and Durrell's writings with the other of time and history, or with the time of the event, the notion of an intrinsic alterity in the individual psyche and Durrell's post-identitarian and post-individual Quintet (in the context of contemporary psychoanalytical theories about the subject). The Avignon Quintet has to be understood as a project of cultural translation the colonial politics of which is inscribed into the debate about globalisation, difference and cultural hybridisation. This study criticises the underlying notions of alterity in the Quintet and postmodernisms, it argues instead for an ethics of translation which pluralises the concepts of alterity and language in order to achieve a more positive exchange between postmodernist and postcolonial theories and literatures.

Abstract

This essay tests the hypothesis that “posthumanism” today constitutes the most radical questioning of the “subject.” It does so by putting posthumanist theories and concepts by proponents like Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, N. Katherine Hayles and others to the test in a juxtaposing reading of The Matrix. The essay argues that cultural criticism today has to reconnect popular posthumanist scenarios in what could be called “science-fiction-theory” with earlier forms of materialist and poststructuralist critique.

In: The Matrix in Theory
In: The Matrix in Theory
In: The Matrix in Theory

Abstract

This essay tests the hypothesis that “posthumanism” today constitutes the most radical questioning of the “subject.” It does so by putting posthumanist theories and concepts by proponents like Alain Badiou, Jean Baudrillard, N. Katherine Hayles and others to the test in a juxtaposing reading of The Matrix. The essay argues that cultural criticism today has to reconnect popular posthumanist scenarios in what could be called “science-fiction-theory” with earlier forms of materialist and poststructuralist critique.

In: The Matrix in Theory
In: Before Humanity
In: Before Humanity