Taking as a framework poststructuralist and postmodernist challenges to humanistic conceptualizations of life and the universe, the course focuses on the ways in which selected contemporary novels unsettle the anthropocentric view of the world and its binary, exclusionist and essentialist forms by presenting interrelations and entanglements of human and non-human lives. Drawing on the works by critics such as Ihab Hassan, Michel Foucault, Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben, among others, we will discuss the ecological and technological perspectives from which the concept “human,” as well as the divide between nature and culture, body and soul, human and animal or machine, can be interrogated. We will also explore the affinities between speciesism and racism, sexism, and other discriminatory attitudes as they appear in the selected novels, to find out what they propose in terms of justice and ethics pertaining to human and non-human life forms in a global world.
The list of novels to be read:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K Dick