25 August 2017
on course website
Posthuman Ethics in the Anthropocene
The field of posthuman scholarship is in full expansion. The posthuman turn is triggered by the convergence of anti-humanism on the one hand and anti-anthropocentrism on the other. Anti-humanism focusses on the critique of the Humanist ideal of ‘Man’ as the universal representative of the human, while anti-anthropocentrism criticizes species hierarchy and advances ecological justice. Both these strands enjoy strong support, but they refer to different genealogies and traditions. This course rest son the French philosophical tradition of critical Spinozism, which defends a monistic Life philosophy based on non-dialectical processes and is best represented by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. This course explores the interconnection between the posthuman predicament and the condition of the Anthropocene. It argues for the need to develop a more ethical and more complex relationship to our planetary dimension and to our relationship to non-human others, both animals, plants and technological artefacts. The Anthropocene as a concept was coined in 2001 by Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Paul Crutzen, to describe our current geological era in terms of human impact upon the sustainability of the planet. It was officially adopted as a scientific term by the International Geological Association in Cape Town in August 2016 and its official starting date has been set at 1950, the dawn of the nuclear era. Posthuman critical theory argues for the pertinence of posthuman ethics as a way of re-framing the question of life in the Anthropocene, striking a balance between vulnerability and affirmation.
Background reading :
• R. Braidotti (2013).The Posthuman. Cambridge: Polity Press.
• Will Steffen, Paul J. Crutzen and John R. McNeill. 2002: “The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature?”
Prof. Rosi Braidotti
This interdisciplinary course is aimed at research-minded advanced master and PhD students with a critical and curious intellectual disposition; post-docs in the Humanities and Arts practices; starting researchers but also practitioners and media activists. A strong background in at least one of the following disciplines is required: critical theory, Continental philosophy, gender studies, media and technology studies, social and political theory, postcolonial and race studies, cultural studies.
To provide an introduction to contemporary critical scholarship about the posthuman, the Anthropocene and ethics in the French Continental philosophical tradition through the exploration of debates about contemporary subjectivity, globalization and power, and the politics of affirmation.
Certificate of Attendance
EUR 500: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 300: Course + course materials
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