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Research on Posthumanism and bioethics


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Hi,

 

Of late, I have developed an interest in reading literature based on posthumanism and bioethics, but being analyzed from the perspective of literature and not science. I am keen on knowing the names of some theorists in these areas and names of works that you would recommend by them. I know of Donna Haraway and N.Katherine Hayles but that's about it. I'd also appreciate knowing  which universities in the US (both in the departments of English and Media Studies) are doing work in these areas.

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Hi,

 

Of late, I have developed an interest in reading literature based on posthumanism and bioethics, but being analyzed from the perspective of literature and not science. I am keen on knowing the names of some theorists in these areas and names of works that you would recommend by them. I know of Donna Haraway and N.Katherine Hayles but that's about it. I'd also appreciate knowing  which universities in the US (both in the departments of English and Media Studies) are doing work in these areas.

 

Feraleyes, I think Duke Literature is the place to go for that particular specialty.  I know that there is a lab being led at UCDavis (I think the Humanities Initiative) in this area as well.  In terms of potential things to read, I recommend Tim Lenoir, Paul Rabinow and Sherry Turkle.

 

This might be useful too: http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Annotation?catid=2&action=listcat

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My work intersects with vital materialism and (historically situated) neocybernetics. These are some names in those fields and also in bio-ethics: Richard Doyle at Penn State, Jane Bennett at Johns Hopkins (although she's in Poly-Sci officially she has tons of overlap in the humanities and I'm sure you could find a way to work with her) Mark Hansen at Duke and Cary Wolfe at Rice. All of them have done work with post-humanism (although Doyle would specify that he's interested more in "post-vitalism"). Hope this helps!

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It's been a while since you started this discussion, but still, maybe you'll find a couple of useful chapters and names in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science.

I'm currently taking classes on Literature and Science, and Post-Humanism with Joe Tabbi who is a visiting professor here in Cologne from the University of Illinois at Chicago, but from what he's said he's the only one working on that at Chicago. When I was looking for universities to apply to in the US, I saw that UNC--Chapel Hill has a couple of people working in literature and science. Maybe that helps you.

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Graham Harman, Bruno Latour, and Ian Bogost are worth a look.  My dept at Oregon State seems to offer a course on posthumanism (or related subjects such as object-oriented ontology, animal studies, thing theory, science studies, etc.) nearly every term, and it seems like the ideas associated with these movements are really taking off.

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Ahh I'm so excited to see this! I'm currently working with materialism and the mechanization of female bodies (totally on a whim, sometimes your thesis decides what it's going to be about and then you have to write it). I am obsessed with David Wills--check out both Prosthesis and Dorsality. Also, Steigler is great, I'm surprised nobody said that. I had the opportunity to meet N. Katherine Hayles in May and she's awesome, check out her book How We Became Posthuman as well as everybody's favorite, Cary Wolfe (who I will be meeting this spring). Also, if you want to die a little inside, check out Parasite by Serres. 

 

But yeah. David Wills. He's the man. 

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Mark MacGurl is at Stanford and Dimock is at Yale, to reply to the earlier post, and they are pretty much the gold standard. Check out Kathleen Fitzpatrick, visiting at NYU as well.

 

And while I wouldn't say this is my main focus, Posthumanism played a part in my Master's Thesis and those profs (and Hayles) are high on my wish list to work with as well.

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So, this isn't really going to be helpful to the post at hand per say, but I just felt like I had to add in -- has anyone else noticed that there are very different strands of posthumanism being discussed here, and perhaps at large as well? I can think of at least two -- one that might be better identified as transhumanism, and another that looks more like object-oriented ontology. Maybe it's just me. 

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So, this isn't really going to be helpful to the post at hand per say, but I just felt like I had to add in -- has anyone else noticed that there are very different strands of posthumanism being discussed here, and perhaps at large as well? I can think of at least two -- one that might be better identified as transhumanism, and another that looks more like object-oriented ontology. Maybe it's just me. 

 

It's not just you.  Posthumanism also includes the growing importance of non-human animals in the humanities and social sciences.  Shukin's Animal Capital would be an example of this. 

 

Transhumanism seems like sci fi fear of finitude to me. 

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It's not just you.  Posthumanism also includes the growing importance of non-human animals in the humanities and social sciences.  Shukin's Animal Capital would be an example of this. 

 

Transhumanism seems like sci fi fear of finitude to me. 

 

Nice. I suppose this isn't to say that the two can't overlap, but I do see at least these two directions for posthumanism with very different goals. I'm not sure if transhumanism is a fear so much as an acceptance and even activism for the integration of machines into bodies/bodies into machines -- but still certainly tied to humanism and the primacy of human life.

 

Posthumanism, as a relation to OOO, seeks to remove the "human" in analysis. Whether non-human animals, plants, non-living objects, what have you--the objective is to subvert the primacy of human life.

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