The Critical Posthumanism Network aims to connect academics, artists, writers and scientists who are critically and creatively engaging with the emerging new paradigm of “posthumanism” and the “posthumanities”. They share the view that posthumanism is an exciting area that can be even richer when it allies its appealing interdisciplinary profile with a capacity and readiness for powerful (self-)critique.
What does it mean to be human? This age-old question, today, is being asked with increased urgency. Technological and global economic challenges, looming environmental disaster and the erosion of traditional demarcations between human and nonhuman have been producing new and alternative ways of thinking about humanity. The ongoing critique or deconstruction of humanism that the label posthumanism points towards increasingly affects human self-understanding in terms of ethics (a critique of anthropocentrism, speciesism…), politics (cyborgization, a critique of biopolitics…), aesthetics (bioart, new media art, (electronic) literature…), institutions (new (life) sciences, posthumanities, new media…) and life style (prosthesization, enhancement, virtual reality…).
The proliferating ideas and visions of our posthumanity are reaching a wider public and are now circulating in the traditional mass media and increasingly of course in the so-called new, digital and social media. The transformative potential of posthumanism has become undeniable – for better or for worse. The people who are here joining forces in the name of Critical Posthumanism Network have been critical commentators of these developments for at least the past decade or so. The critical in Critical Posthumanism Network is aimed at evaluating the truly innovative potential of posthumanism. It welcomes for example the new and extensive possibilities for co-operations between the sciences (and the new bio- or life sciences in particular) and the humanities and the social sciences. On the other hand, critical also means appreciating the resistance to the ideas relating to the posthuman, posthumanisation, posthumanism or posthumanity. The aim is to historicize and contextualize the anxieties and desires at work when dealing with concepts of the human, posthuman and nonhuman and to look at prefigurations, genealogies, disavowals and alternative futures.