Research at The Posthumanities Hub rests on the assumption that humans are deeply entangled in complicated worlding and wording practices, and that the highly specialized analytical tools of the human sciences need to be recalibrated in order to meet up with worldly and wordy changes. They need to be applied to a wider set of such entangled phenomena, especially to emerging (trans)biologies, science cultures, changing environments and embodied identities that challenge patterns of gender, age, ethnicity/race/nationality, class, kinship and sexuality. This does not imply neither a postfeminist nor a postbiological stance, but on the contrary, a both critical and creative framework for performative (generative) accounts of technoscientific or other naturecultural practices across disciplines and categories.
Instead, we take as our starting point that interdisciplinary approaches – such as those developed within feminist science studies, gender methodology, postcolonial studies, queer theory, technoscience studies, body studies, popular engagements with science as well as in labs, in crip theory, and animal studies – already have changed the scope of the human sciences (humanities and social science). As humans are entangled in intricate relationships with technology and science, with animals and the environment, supremacist theories of the human, along with various humanisms and anthropocentric approaches, have become increasingly difficult to sustain. At the same time, we seem to urgently need an ethics of such worldly and wordy encounters, so to be able to account for the effects, powers and impacts of anthropomorphism, for instance human-induced climate changes. The philosophical and wider cultural meanings and physical matters of “the human condition” (and the various humanisms in circulation with the critiques of their bulldozing moves) are to some extent instructing us in this regard. Everyday life, cultural research, feminist theory and science in action, but also imaginative speculation, biological art and poetry may help us in this endevour.
The onto-methodological practices, travelling theories, networked existence and ethos of the Posthumanities Hub – where we bring the trouble “home” – can be strangely recognized in a poem from Ursula Le Guin’s book Always Coming Home:
Please Bring Strange Things
Please bring strange things.
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
And the ways you go be the lines of your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
And your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
Walk mindfully, well-loved one,
Walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
Be always coming home.
With The Posthumanities Hub as meeting point, highly interdisciplinary gender research, which systematically addresses the changing relations between the human and the non-human (animal, machine, environment), the natural and the cultural, the popular and the scientific, is thus conducted.
Distinguished Professor, Donna Haraway – also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of The Posthumanities Hub – provides here an inspiring take on the need for scholars, activists and artists to move beyond humanism, anthropocentrism or what she (and Prof. Anna Tsing) call “human exceptionalism”.