This summer I’ll be launching a series of pilot workshops as part of the Creative Posthumanism project, including sessions on zine-making, scrapbooking, and performance art. More news on these sessions will follow soon, but in the meantime I wanted to share a little bit about the rationale behind the project. Humanistic principles underpin key discourses in biology (we are individual entities), psychology (we are individual actors), economics (we are rational actors), law (we are responsible for our actions), art (we are individual authors of human stories), AI research (the goal is to produce computers which “think like us”), medicine (there is a clear idea of a healthy human which we should aim to remain in line with), and ecology (the earth should be optimised for human habitation). In many of these areas, however, the centrality of such thought is being questioned. Critical posthumanism is an academic field of inquiry that deconstructs the human (and humanitarian) impacts of these liberal humanist systems and institutions, particularly in the ways that they have been accelerated and exacerbated by advancing technologies.
About Megen de Bruin-Molé
Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism
We (founding members of the Critical Posthumanism Network and editors of the Genealogy of the Posthuman) are excited to share that our new co-edited Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism is now in production! This handbook boasts 54 chapters on figurations and prefigurations of the posthuman, posthumanist practices and methodologies, processes of institutional and disciplinary transformation, and more.
Around 30 chapters are already available online, with more coming very soon. A hard copy will follow later this year.
Waste Age: What can design do?
It’s been almost a year since I’ve ventured out to a museum exhibition, and more than two since I had the chance to catch one in London. But with delayed research projects on salvage and upcycling kicking off again, and a small but very welcome early career grant from the University of Southampton’s Humanities Faculty, February seemed like the time to take another trip to the Design Museum to visit its exhibition on ‘Waste Age: What can design do?’
Autonomous: Bioethics and/as Intellectual Property
How might posthumanist approaches illuminate current issues in bioethics? This is the central question asked throughout Bioethics and the Posthumanities, a new edited collection published with Routledge Focus. The book comes out of a series of workshops for researchers and policymakers that took place back in 2019.
Do the Monster Mash: Universal’s “Classic Monsters” and the Industrialization of the Gothic Transmedia Franchise
Almost two years after I announced I was writing it, my chapter in Gothic Mash-Ups: Hybridity, Appropriation, and Intertextuality in Gothic Storytelling is now out with Rowman & Littlefield (EU) / Lexington Books (USA)!
My chapter, ‘Do the Monster Mash: Universal’s “Classic Monsters” and the Industrialization of the Gothic Transmedia Franchise’, takes the Universal Monsters as a prime case of early Gothic transmedia and mashup, as well as highlighting the importance of unoriginality to Gothic storytelling more broadly.
‘Guarding the Love’: A Transmedia Story
As I gear up for a new semester of teaching, I’m revising and looking back over materials from last year (in truth much less than a year due to a COVID-delayed start to teaching).
It is always a pleasure to look back over student work, in particular from the creative-critical module I teach on transmedia storytelling. Last year my students produced three transmedia stories, in an unusually short time frame. In groups students are tasked with telling a variety of different stories in different media, framed within the same universe or around the same set of characters. Students also have to think about the ‘why’ of the story, and how it is driven by a particular cause or project. This year’s projects included themes of anti-colonialism, cross-cultural education, and building body confidence.
Salvaging Utopia: Lessons for (and from) the Left in Rivers Solomon’s An Unkindness of Ghosts (2017), The Deep (2019), and Sorrowland (2021)
I’ve been thinking a lot about how writing can make a difference in the world, and even more so about what academic writing has to do with it. Though barely a start, some of my own reflections and research on this topic are now available in the form of this Open Access (i.e. free) article on activism, Rivers Solomon, and the utopian work of salvage. The article is part of a special issue on ‘Post-Utopia in Speculative Fiction’, available through the MDPI Journal Humanities, which examines various histories and ways forward for utopia in contemporary SF/F.
‘Embodying Contagion’ Roundtable (14 July 2021)
Are you interested in the politics of contagious bodies and their representation in contemporary culture? Join us for a free roundtable discussion on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, from 4:00-5:30pm BST.
Bringing scholars from cultural and media studies into conversation with scholars from the medical humanities and social sciences, this roundtable event aims to give readers a fuller picture of the viropolitics of contagious bodies in contemporary global culture. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share your own perspective on the topic.
You can register for this free online event through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/embodying-contagion-roundtable-and-book-launch-tickets-158699064173
Monster Theory 2.0: Remix, the Digital Humanities, and the Limits of Transgression
‘Is remix a monster, and digital humanities the means through which it is destined to bring down the old-fashioned, exclusionary, and hierarchical modes of humanities past?’
This is the question I ask at the beginning of my chapter in the new Routledge Handbook of Remix Studies and Digital Humanities, edited by Eduardo Navas, Owen Gallagher, and xtine burrough, and the answer is not as simple as it may seem. There are lots of great chapters in the book, divided into sections on ‘Epistemology and Theory’, ‘Accessibility and Pedagogy’, ‘Modularity and Ontology’, and ‘Aurality and Visuality’. My own chapter, on ‘Remix, the Digital Humanities, and the Limits of Transgression’, uses the metaphor of Frankenstein and his creature to suggest that the transgressive potential of remix and the digital humanities lies less in the form of these disciplines, and more in their practice: How they are allowed to intersect, evolve, and escape their traditional (anti)humanist foundations.
Posthumanist Transmedia: David Blandy’s The World After (2019)
This week my author copy of Transmedia Cultures arrived! It contains a series of “fresh” approaches to transmedia, “revealing the ever-increasing levels of entanglement they have within our real lives and with those we experience in other more imaginative or creative ones, bringing into focus exactly what is at stake in the «worlds» we choose to call our own”
My own contribution is a short chapter that frames David Blandy’s The World After (2019) and/as posthumanist transmedia. It follows on from an artist talk and a workshop I did with Blandy last year.