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Postmodernism and Posthumanism

Broad overview of two schools of literary criticism.

Matt Dauphin

on 24 September 2013

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Transcript of Postmodernism and Posthumanism

we're all just cyborg monkeys
don't be intimidated
N. Katherine Hayles
Donna Haraway
When using posthumanist critique...
Rethinking Humanity
Jean-François Lyotard
Collapse of Identity
Playfulness, Reflexivity, and Pastiche
Frederic Jameson
Whereas modernism was overly concerned with attempts to identify a stable identity, PoMo tends toward collapsing identity boundaries.
Certain truths become unknowable and PoMo pushes these issues to the center of attention.
Broadly contains work based on deconstruction, structuralism, and post-structuralism.
Influences the arts, philosophy, and criticism.
Often portrayed as a response to modernist Utopian longing, PoMo tends toward a subversion that is playful, rather than strictly pessimistic.
Genre conventions are often subverted or called into question, often through imitation.
Parody, satire, and direct critique become subdued; pastiche is more common, requiring more concern with author, context, and genre to decode.
Critically links PoMo with capitalism.
While critical of PoMo, his works have helped better define its boundaries.
Helped center concerns about pastiche and historicity in PoMo.
Helped foreground PoMo mistrust of meta-narratives (grand ideologies) as central to PoMo.
Tended to view PoMo ahistorically, usually as a series of concerns immanent within other periods.
Revived interest in the concept of the 'sublime,' which can be reduced to 'pleasurable anxiety' (comes from aesthetic criticism).
Relatively new field. Variously concerned with:
How humanity changes in response to technology.
Issues realized by the "cyborg," digital communication, and other forms of non-human interaction.
Emphasizing non-human concerns, such as those of animals and the environment.
Primarily seeks an end to essentializing humanity.
Often conflated with transhumanism.
Examine false confidence, fallibility, anthropocentrism.
Look for non-human elements, including concern (or lack thereof) for nature, animals, technology, or even abstract concepts like the economy. Consider how these concerns displace concerns for humanity (or vice versa).
Focus on the relationship between humans and technology.
Widely known for her "A Cyborg Manifesto," in which she uses technology, work, and economy to reconfigure the plight of women.
Helps expose masculine bias through reexamination of fundamental assumptions of humanity, culture, and nature.
Helps configure posthumanism as a move away from Enlightenment-era 'human nature.'
Articulates a lack of distinction between humanity as physically embodied and as digitally represented.
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