Antiquities Beyond Humanism

Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (2019)
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Greco-Roman antiquity is often presumed to provide the very paradigm of Western humanism. This paradigm has been increasingly thrown into question by new theoretical currents such as posthumanism and the "new materialisms", which point toward entities, forces, and systems that pass through andbeyond the human and which dislodge it from its primacy as the measure of things. Antiquities beyond Humanism seeks to explode this presumed dichotomy between the ancient tradition and the twenty-first century "turn": fourteen original essays explore the myriad ways in which Greek and Roman philosophy and literature can be understood as foregrounding the non-human rather thansimply reflecting the ideals of classical humanism. Greek philosophy is filled with metaphysical explanations of the cosmos grounded in observations of the natural world. Other areas of ancient humanistic inquiry - ethics, poetry, political theory, medicine, rhetoric - extend into the realms ofplant and animal life, even stone life, continually throwing into question the ontological status of living and non-living beings. By casting the non-human or more-than-human in a new light in relation to contemporary questions of gender, the environment, and networks of communication, the volumedemonstrates that encounters with ancient texts, experienced as both familiar and strange, can help forge new understandings of life, whether understood as zoological, physical, psychical, ethical, juridical, political, divine, or cosmic.



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