The Posthumanism to Come

Angelaki 16 (2):127 - 141 (2011)
This essay aims to identify several related themes that regularly appear in posthumanist scholarship but which have not been theorized sufficiently, including the rhetoric of temporal and historical rupture, the logic of dialectical reversal, the effacement of human/animal difference, and above all the critical ascendancy of the term ?posthumanism? itself. If one of the aims of posthumanism is to render the face of the human unknowable to itself, then to what extent does the human that re-names itself ?posthuman? do so in order to lay claim once again to a dubious self-knowledge? The rhetoric of posthumanism, moreover, implies a progressive narrative that ironically mirrors the Enlightenment principles of perfectibility that it would oppose. Drawing from Derrida?s notion of the ?democracy to come,? I argue that the advent of the posthuman must always remain deferred. Just as the promise of democracy remains unfulfilled, the posthuman must infinitely postdate its arrival in any present
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