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New Materialism(s)

“New materialism” is a term coined in the 1990s to describe a theoretical turn away from the persistent dualisms in modern and humanist traditions whose influences are present in much of cultural theory.[1] The discourses catalogued under new materialism(s) share an agenda with posthumanism in that they seek a repositioning of the human among nonhuman […]

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Agency

  In a newly published textbook on gender studies and materialism, agency is defined as “the ability to act in such a way as to produce particular results”.[1] The entry explains that while most social theory attributes agency only to humans, posthumanist theorists tend to emphasise the agency and responsiveness of nonhuman and matter. The […]

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European Posthumanism

by Stefan Herbrechter, Manuela Rossini, and Ivan Callus An earlier and longer version of this entry was first published in the European Journal of English Studies; available here. It might at first glance seem that the phrase ‘European posthumanism’ is a contradiction in terms. Is Europe not that venerable, somewhat ‘nostalgic’ entity or idea that has never […]

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Plants

  In Plant Studies, especially its critical branch, the most recent empirical evidence is used to show the sophisticated ways that plants go about their lives. Challenging traditional zoocentric perceptions of plants as passive objects, such research reveals that plants are dynamic and sentient beings capable of responding to environmental stimuli such as touch, temperature, […]

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Literary Modernism

  It is important, first of all, to distinguish between modernism as a field of academic study and modernism as a particular moment in cultural history. To speak of a posthuman turn in modernism is in one sense to invite reflection on a historical event, to posit the emergence of a new paradigm, a new […]

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Critical Posthumanism

  This entry originally appeared in Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova, eds., Posthuman Glossary (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018). Reproduced with permission. Critical posthumanism is a theoretical approach which maps and engages with the “ongoing deconstruction of humanism”.[1] It differentiates between the figure of the ‘posthuman’ (and its present, past and projected avatars, like cyborgs, monsters, […]

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Topology

Posthuman topology refers to posthumanism in a phenomenological mode. It is the study of how the experience of technological artefacts and technic environments – the environments of their development and use – shapes the manner in which the individual thinks and occupies his or her lifeworld, beyond a simple psychological affect. Posthuman topology maintains that […]

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Posthuman Suffering

  Posthuman suffering, as presented in Anthony Miccoli’s Posthuman Suffering and the Technological Embrace[1] is an affective state characterised by a perceived feeling of inadequacy, alienation, or lack of agency or efficacy in relation to technological artefacts or systems of use. The term can also be used to describe the general sense that the biological […]

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Medical Humanities

  The medical humanities were developed as a means of using the tools offered by several fields in the humanities – law, history, and literature among others – to improve or interrogate experiences of healthcare and patienthood. Humanities training for doctors, particularly, has been valued in that it encourages medics to listen to their patients […]

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Midhumanism

  What if middleness did not suppose progress?[1] What if, for example, instead of looking to discern a ‘premodernism’ and a ‘prehumanism’ that lead naturally to modernism and humanism and thence to postmodernism and posthumanism we imagined time as a vortex rather than a line? What if we abandoned human-centric narratives of history altogether, narratives […]

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