Spring Term, Session 1: Posthumanism (Monday 31st January)

Where does the 'human' end and the 'non-human' begin? Have we entered a 'posthuman' age, or were we ever really 'human' in the first place? What implications can a questioning of the 'human' have for gender, race, age, disability and ethics?

The general theme for this term's Literary and Critical Theory Seminars is 'The Idea of the Human', and our first session will be on the topic of 'posthumanism'. It will take place from 6-8pm on Monday 31st January in Senate House, room 103 (1st Floor). The readings are as follows:

  • Donna Haraway - 'A Cyborg Manifesto', in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181.
  • N. Katherine Hayles - 'Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere', in Theory, Culture & Society, 2006 vol. 23: 159-166.

The session will begin with a paper by
Louise LePage (PhD candidate and Visiting Lecturer in Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London). Louise's project aims to critically explore the identity and form of ‘the human’ in its representations as dramatic characters via an interrogation of its traditional borders with animals, machines, and the nonphysical (mind, ghosts, etc.). Her study adopts Donna Haraway’s cyborg as a trope to open up a posthumanist way of seeing and approaching identity, which re-constitutes the self as composed of multiple parts - natural and cultural - that extend beyond the borders of the skin to formulate an inherently provisional and protean identity and entity.

All are welcome to attend.


'Derrida' DVD Screening (Monday 10th January)

The Literary and Critical Theory Seminar is beginning the Spring term with a DVD screening of Derrida (2002, directors: Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering Kofman).

The screening will take place on Monday 10th January in Senate House, room G34, from 6-8pm. All are welcome to come along!

Here are some details on the film:

"This award-winning documentary gives an intimate portrait of the brilliant, controversial philosopher and intellectual French icon Jacques Derrida, whose theory of deconstruction has deeply influenced the studies of literature, philosophy, ethics, architecture and law, indelibly marking the intellectual landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries.

"Combining extremely rare private footage of Derrida with his reflections on violence, love and death, the film also investigates the concept of biography, exploring the relationship between the public and the private. Provocative, potent and entertaining,
Derrida marks an inspired collaboration between philosophy scholar Amy Ziering Kofman and filmmaker Kirby Dick, the director of Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist. The mesmerising score is courtesy of Ryuchi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Gohatto)."

Hope to see you there!