Renaissance Posthumanism

Renaissance Posthumanism

Renaissance Posthumanism

Renaissance Posthumanism

Synopsis

Connecting Renaissance humanism to the variety of "critical posthumanisms" in twenty-first-century literary and cultural theory, Renaissance Posthumanism reconsiders traditional languages of humanism and the human, not by nostalgically enshrining or triumphantly superseding humanisms past but rather by revisiting and interrogating them. What if today's "critical posthumanisms," even as they distance themselves from the iconic representations of the Renaissance, are in fact moving ever closer to ideas in works from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century? What if "the human" is at once embedded and embodied in, evolving with, and de-centered amid a weird tangle of animals, environments, and vital materiality? Seeking those patterns of thought and practice, contributors to this collection focus on moments wherein Renaissance humanism looks retrospectively like an uncanny "contemporary"-and ally-of twenty-first-century critical posthumanism.

Excerpt

Joseph Campana and Scott Maisano

Never, it seems, has there been a better time to take stock of the “the humanities” as a curriculum, or “the humanist,” one paid to teach this curriculum, as a vocation. in venues as varied as The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education, hardly a day goes by without yet another voice clamoring for or against the value of these areas of study or those of us paid to teach them. As Gary Gutting put it in November 2013, “‘Crisis’ and ‘decline’ are the words of the day in discussions of the humanities.” the “humanities” and “the humanist” are products of the Renaissance, when universities first created salaried positions for professors of “humanity”— grammar and rhetoric taught through classical authors such as Ovid and Terence (whose “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” or “I am human, and nothing human is alien to me” gave the curriculum its name)—but a growing number of scholars within the humanities are orienting their research variously toward “posthumanism,” “the posthuman,” and “the posthumanities.” This move toward “posthumanism” and “the posthumanities” would . . .

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