I started an are.na site for resources around this project:
Dr. Francesca Ferrando, who has taught at NYU, is working on a book called “Posthuman and Transhuman Bodies in Religion and Spirituality” (working title) – so I will be adding her to my list of experts to contact.
Posthumanism vs. Transhumanism:
Some people make a distinction between “Posthuman” and “Posthumanism”, and some people, if there is a distinction between those 2, confuse it with “Transhumanism” – it’s not clear yet if they are actually 3 or 2 terms.
I’ve heard “Posthuman” is the idea of inserting human consciousness into machines somehow and “Posthumanist” emphasizes that humans are not singular ones, but part of larger humanity, it means to expand past an exclusive human exceptionalism to include non-human creatures and an attempt towards a non-dual perspective.
I’ve heard that Donna Haraway distanced herself from the term “Posthumanism” because of the relation to “Transhumanism” and prefers “Companion Species” – need to look into when that was distinguished etc. I do feel as though “Posthumanism” is sort of a name holder – and understand the confusion is incites – my impression of Posthuman thought so far is, its emphasis is not only on non-human consideration, but for a deeper human to human consideration, and approaching a paradigm that can’t have one without the other. It’s a recent term that I find is still knowing itself but draws from ancient cultures and current situations, or maybe there’s another term being born from “Posthumanism”.
A thought that has come up a lot lately is the name “Posthuman” sounds like an emphasis on non-human creatures (which is only one facet of it, as I understand), and glosses over all the people that are not treated as human as humans in positions of privilege. I then found this argument highlighted specially around race on the Posthuman wikipedia page:
Zakiyyah Iman Jackson
“Questions of race, some argue, are suspiciously elided within the “turn” to posthumanism. Noting that the terms “post” and “human” are already loaded with racial meaning, critical theorist Zakiyyah Iman Jackson argues that the impulse to move “beyond” the human within posthumanism too often ignores “praxes of humanity and critiques produced by black people”, including Frantz Fanon and Aime Cesaire to Hortense Spillers and Fred Moten. Interrogating the conceptual grounds in which such a mode of “beyond” is rendered legible and viable, Jackson argues that it is important to observe that “blackness conditions and constitutes the very nonhuman disruption and/or disruption” which posthumanists invite. In other words, given that race in general and blackness in particular constitutes the very terms through which human/nonhuman distinctions are made, for example in enduring legacies of scientific racism, a gesture toward a “beyond” actually “returns us to a Eurocentric transcendentalism long challenged”.
“Posthuman” when I first heard it was interesting to me because it sounded sci-fi and paradoxical. Continuing the tradition of using “Post” is very western academic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate aspects of it, I think. It implies a very linear history on the surface to use that word, and that something is dead maybe?
Timothy Morton – Paraphrasing ideas from 2 talks I listened to this week (will include citation)
“Nature as a human made construct”
“Best way to help ecology, fight racism”
Human beings are trembly chameleons
Who love to be seduced by sounds colors textures
We are caught in intersecting patterns of undulation
Isn’t the same as static silence
Art allows things to be still not static
Can be still and vibrating
B/c aesthetic dimension is the causal dimension
Things can only affect other things indirectly
A thing is an anarchist commune where parts are autonomous
Anna Tsing – “Our use of the term Anthropocene is to describe a time in which business as usual is likely to kill us.”
Jane Bennet –
“…both human and nonhuman entities (including inorganic matter) are composed of ‘vibrant matter’. In Bennett’s view, matter that we consider ‘dead’ such as fossils and stones is not actually dead but very much alive and is constituted by a lively and energetic play of forces. Following a long tradition of thinkers who have sought to decentre ‘the human’ (e.g. Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault), Bennett’s emphasis on non-human matter challenges the ontological privileging of ‘the human’. However, her notion of ‘distributive agency’ creatively affirms the necessity of human embodiment, understood as one site of agency within and across a multiplicity of other material bodies and formations.”
(POSTHUMANISM & ANTHROPOCENE, CAPITALOCENE, XTHLOCENE)
“Posthuman Glossary” – Rose Braidotti & Maria Hlavajova
“If art, science, and the humanities have shared one thing, it was their common engagement with constructions and representations of the human. Under the pressure of new contemporary concerns, however, we are experiencing a “posthuman condition+?; the combination of new developments-such as the neoliberal economics of global capitalism, migration, technological advances, environmental destruction on a mass scale, the perpetual war on terror and extensive security systems- with a troublesome reiteration of old, unresolved problems that mean the concept of the human as we had previously known it has undergone dramatic transformations. The Posthuman Glossary is a volume providing an outline of the critical terms of posthumanity in present-day artistic and intellectual work. It builds on the broad thematic topics of Anthropocene/Capitalocene, eco-sophies, digital activism, algorithmic cultures and security and the inhuman. It outlines potential artistic, intellectual, and activist itineraries of working through the complex reality of the ‘posthuman condition’, and creates an understanding of the altered meanings of art vis-� -vis critical present-day developments. It bridges missing links across disciplines, terminologies, constituencies and critical communities. This original work will unlock the terms of the posthuman for students and researchers alike.”