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Posthumans in the Anthropocene (EN)

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The traditional notion of the human, as the measure of all things, has been radically challenged by philosophical onto-epistemologies that defied the Western anthropocentric canon, as well as scientific and biotechnological developments- such as in biogenetics, pharmacology and robotics.

Capital Diffraction: Composed by human body x-rays diffracted into collages in order to create a new landscape of floral and microbia. (created by students Amalia Calderón and José Bernardo Couto Soares)

This shift has led to the development of diverse perspectives over the so-called “posthuman turn”, though all share the common understanding that humanity is a mutable and non-fixed condition. Within our current geological epoch, the Anthropocene,  “mankind” is formulated as the holistic “human”. A male, cisheteronormative, white body is devised as the subject citizen; and right-holder (Braidotti 2013) in relation to his dominance over the species and ecosystems of Earth.

Departing from a convergence of posthumanism and post-anthropocentrism that challenges this human premise, we critically analyse this sociopolitical and philosophical predicament through the works of feminist philosophers Rosi Braidotti and Donna Haraway. The course envisions an interdisciplinary exploration within the fields of political ecology, law, artistic research, philosophy and others that will be weaved together to problematize the posthuman turn and the planetary repercussions of late capitalism.

The first section of the course will encompass corporeality, queer inhumanities and bio-technological embodiment. The second section undertakes the relational position of human beings with other species, namely human-animal relations, microbial life and interspecies language. The last section will focus on the Anthropocene, engaging posthuman rights, the nature/culture divide, indigenous epistemologies, and alternative ecosystems. We will challenge the students to reposition their perspectives over their relations with nature, animals, bodies and geography, and to delve into the possibilities of other radical futures.

Course design by José Bernardo Couto Soares & Amalia Calderón, winners of the Create a Course Challenge in 2019.

Coordinators

Amalia Calderón (a.calderon@uva.nl)

José Bernardo Couto Soares (j.b.pedrosocoutosoares@uva.nl)

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the different schools of thought within the “posthuman turn”.
  • Learn to integrate knowledge and concepts from diverse fields of study.
  • Conduct research within feminist New Materialist pedagogies.
  • Formulate critical inquiries into the relation between technological and feminist theory developments within the “posthuman turn”.
  • Formulate critical inquiries into the human-nonhuman relation, and the role of humans as species within their planetary position.

Teaching Format

  • Online guest lectures, by a number of academics/artists/professionals, that will also encompass an informal discussion with the students.
  • On-site seminars, in which the students will collaborate on the in-depth analysis of a case study. These will be held by the coordinator of the course.

Assessment

  • 2 x 500 word reflective paper (2 x 25%)
  • Creative group project (50%)

Entry requirements

Open to second and third year bachelor students.

Study material

  • Literature of the guest lectures are made available to the students and references to additional literature will be provided in class.
  • Additional study materials include artworks, law cases and speculative fiction.

Timetable

You can find the timetable on Datanose.

Number of participants

55

Registration

Registration will open for UvA students. 

Other parties, such as contract students and UvA staff can only take part as auditor and do not take part in the exam(s).

You can register from 1 December until a week before the start of the course. 

Registration UvA students (look for code: 5512PITA6Y).

Registration other interested parties

If you have any trouble while registering please contact: Keuzeonderwijs-iis@uva.nl 

Costs

Check the website

Recommended prior knowledge

No prior knowledge required. This course welcomes students from all academic backgrounds, with a general interest in connecting knowledge from science, arts and politics within the topics of posthumanism, human-animal relations, feminist new materialism and political ecology. Interest in the fields of law, philosophy, artistic research and technology is also encouraged.

Facts & Figures
Mode Short-term, open uva courses
Credits 6 ECTS,
Language of instruction English
Conditions for admission Open
Starts in February