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Posthumous Life launches critical life studies: a mode of inquiry that neither endorses nor dismisses a wave of recent "turns" toward life, matter, vitality, inhumanity, animality, and the real. Questioning the nature and limits of life in the natural sciences, the essays in Posthumous Life examine the boundaries and significance of the human and the humanities in the wake of various redefinitions of what counts as life. They explore the possibility of theorizing life without assuming it to be either a simple substrate or an always-mediated effect of culture and difference. Posthumous Life provides new ways of thinking about animals, plants, humans, difference, sexuality, race, gender, identity, the earth, and the future.
Preface: Postscript on the Posthuman
Introduction: Critical Life Studies and the Problems of Inhuman Rites and Posthumous Life, by Jami Weinstein and Claire Colebrook
Part I. Posthuman Vestiges
1. Pre- and Posthuman Animals: The Limits and Possibilities of Animal-Human Relations, by Nicole Anderson
2. Posthumanism and Narrativity: Beginning Again with Arendt, Derrida, and Deleuze, by Frida Beckman
3. Subject Matters, by Susan Hekman
Part II. Organic Rites
4. Therefore, the Animal That Saw Derrida, by Akira Mizuta Lippit
5. The Plant and the Sovereign: Plant and Animal Life in Derrida, by Jeffrey T. Nealon
6. Of Ecology, Immunity, and Islands: The Lost Maples of Big Bend, by Cary Wolfe
Part III. Inorganic Rites
7. After Nature: The Dynamic Automation of Technical Objects, by Luciana Parisi
8. Nonpersons, by Alastair Hunt
9. Supra- and Subpersonal Registers of Political Physiology, by John Protevi
10. Geophilosophy, Geocommunism: Is There Life After Man?, by Arun Saldanha
Part IV. Posthumous Life
11. Proliferation, Extinction, and an Anthropocene Aesthetic, by Myra J. Hird
12. Spectral Life: The Uncanny Valley Is in Fact a Gigantic Plain, Stretching as Far as the Eye Can See in Every Direction, by Timothy Morton
13. Darklife: Negation, Nothingness, and the Will-to-Life in Schopenhauer, by Eugene Thacker
14. Thinking Life: The Problem Has Changed, by Isabelle Stengers
Jami Weinstein is associate professor of gender studies at Linköping University. Claire Colebrook is professor of English at Penn State University.
"This superb book haunts in all of the best and most disquieting ways: memories of a future already lost to ourselves, with writers who illuminate those registers of nonlife and postlife that arise when all of the living-on and living-through of humans has been exhausted or self-extinguished. The chapters serve as a chanting of rites to the nonhuman animal, to plants, to birds, to the inorganic, to the planet, to the ends of stories."
– Gregory Seigworth, Millersville University
"This splendid collection proposes a site of inquiry – critical life studies – that not only generates unexpected questions but offers invaluable perspectives on many obdurate philosophical topics that currently confront us regarding the posthuman, the inhuman, the inorganic, and the anthropocene. If, as the title of Isabelle Stenger's essay proposes, "Thinking Life: The Problem Has Changed", then these essays consider – in rigorous as well as ludic modes – what it may now mean to think life."
– Stacy Alaimo, author of Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times
"This collection of insightful and comprehensive essays resists the celebratory tone on the question of the posthuman and provides much-needed critical depth and analytic vigor. A necessary and novel contribution to the studies of life and biopolitics."
– Donna V. Jones, author of The Racial Discourses of Life Philosophy: Négritude, Vitalism and Modernity