“A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities”

Appeared in
Theory, Culture & Society, Volume 36 Issue 6, Special Issue: Transversal Posthumanities
Rosi Braidotti
Rosi Braidotti and Matthew Fuller
What are the parameters that define a posthuman knowing subject, her scientific credibility and ethical accountability? Taking the posthumanities as an emergent field of enquiry based on the convergence of posthumanism and post-anthropocentrism, I argue that posthuman knowledge claims go beyond the critiques of the universalist image of ‘Man’ and of human exceptionalism. The conceptual foundation I envisage for the critical posthumanities is a neo-Spinozist monistic ontology that assumes radical immanence, i.e. the primacy of intelligent and self-organizing matter. This implies that the posthuman knowing subject has to be understood as a relational embodied and embedded, affective and accountable entity and not only as a transcendental consciousness. Two related notions emerge from this claim: firstly, the mind-body continuum – i.e. the embrainment of the body and embodiment of the mind – and secondly, the nature-culture continuum – i.e. ‘naturecultural’ and ‘humanimal’ transversal bonding. The article explores these key conceptual and methodological perspectives and discusses the implications of the critical posthumanities for practices in the contemporary ‘research’ university.
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