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Enter the Posthuman: 'Alien Phenomenology'

By Paula Cerni
PopMatters

bogost_alien coverAfter the postmodern came the posthuman, and after that came this book by Ian Bogost, for whom posthumanism “is not posthuman enough” (8).

 

What then is the posthuman? It’s a way of thinking about people and the world that stresses, well, not so much thinking as simply being. Just as a machine and an insect are, so we are, and so is everything else that exists. Posthumanism, then, is about denying that there’s anything special or worthy about the aims and achievements of the human race.

 

The cyborg, the alien, the zombie, and the contemporary dancer twitching and thrashing on the stage are trendy cultural incarnations of this idea, wittily satirized in movies such as The Stepford Wives and Dawn of the Dead, but handled by posthumanists in earnest. Alien Phenomenology goes even further, speaking in tones of “awe” and “wonder”, and taking as its basic unit not the dehumanized human body, but just stuff, the entity at its most minimal, the thing.

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