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Postanthropocentric (Post-)Humanism. A Theoretical and Literary Inquiry

Pia Balsmeier

ISBN 978-3-8325-5100-1
284 pages, year of publication: DISS
price: 39.50 €
With its early beginnings in the 1980s, posthumanism gets in the line of theories that mark the critical impetus of 20th century theory. Originating in the deconstructive zeitgeist of the second half of the 20th century, the theory's claim to signal the beginning of a 'posthuman era' initially brings an impression of the dissolution of certainties - the target being nothing less than humanity itself. About 30 years later, a huge variety of theoretical positions have come up under the umbrella term of posthumanism, all of them attempting an explanation of the implications and consequences of our transformation from human into posthuman. However, there is still a wide range of questions about the exact significance of the prefix: Is the 'post' in posthumanism the same as the 'post' we know from postcolonialism, poststructuralism and postmodernism? Does it translate as 'anti', 'after' or 'super', thus pointing either at the end of humanity or at a bodily or mentally upgrade of the human, or is it to be defined as a critical posture towards humanism? Who or what is the posthuman and in what way can it bring a benefit to our 21st century identities and societies? In consideration of the heterogeneity of positions, this work aims at a theoretical disambiguation of posthumanism in order to identify the perspective that brings a relevant benefit for 21st century critical theory. By means of a theoretical as well as literary inquiry, the dissertation shows that posthumanism is most productive in its critique of anthropocentric patterns in the late-capitalist and patriarchal western society.

Pia Balsmeier ist zur Zeit als Gymnasiallehrerin für die Fächer Englisch und evangelische Religion tätig. Nach ihrem Studium der Anglistik, Romanistik und der evangelischen Theologie an der Universität zu Köln hat sie im Bereich der Englischen Literaturwissenschaft promoviert und sich im Rahmen ihrer Dissertation mit der Theorie des Posthumanismus auseinandergesetzt. In ihrem Werk Postanthropocentric (Post-)Humanism: A Theoretical and Literary Inquiry unternimmt sie eine Verhältnisbestimmung der Vorsilbe "Post" zum Stamm "Humanismus" , aus der sich eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit den vielfältigen Formen des anthropozentrischen Weltbildes in der westlichen Welt ergibt.

Keywords:
  • Posthumanismus / posthumanism
  • Humanismus / humanism
  • Anthropozentrismus / anthropocentrism
  • Englische Gegenwartsliteratur / 21st century English fiction
  • Literaturtheorie / literary theory

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