The Nonhuman Turn

The Nonhuman Turn

Edited by Richard Grusin

A groundbreaking work introducing a new series in twenty-first-century studies

288 Pages, 6 x 9 in



The Nonhuman Turn

Series: 21st Century Studies

Edited by Richard Grusin

ISBN: 9780816694679

Publication date: March 9th, 2015

288 Pages


8 x 5

"As we contemplate the relevance of the humanities in the twenty- first century, The Nonhuman Turn offers a valuable, if provocative, direction to pursue—question the “human” in the humanities."—ISLE

"A good overview of the various strands of thinking that have contributed to thought on the Anthropocene in relation to media."—The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

"A fascinating, daring and challenging read that deserves to fuel discussion and raises some interesting challenges to anthropocentric critical discourse."—The Anthropocene Review Blog

"Presents rich, compelling interdisciplinary work that pushes the boundary of how we understand the human and the nonhuman, relationality, art, sympathy, and literary critical writing."—Configurations

Edited by Richard Grusin of the Center for 21st Century Studies, this is the first book to name and characterize—and therefore consolidate—a wide array of current critical, theoretical, and philosophical approaches to the humanities and social sciences under the concept of the nonhuman turn. Each of these approaches is engaged in decentering the human in favor of a concern for the nonhuman, understood by contributors in a variety of ways—in terms of animals, affectivity, bodies, materiality, technologies, and organic and geophysical systems.

The nonhuman turn in twenty-first-century studies can be traced to multiple intellectual and theoretical developments from the last decades of the twentieth century: actor-network theory, affect theory, animal studies, assemblage theory, cognitive sciences, new materialism, new media theory, speculative realism, and systems theory. Such varied analytical and theoretical formations obviously diverge and disagree in many of their assumptions, objects, and methodologies. However, they all take up aspects of the nonhuman as critical to the future of twenty-first-century studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Unlike the posthuman turn, the nonhuman turn does not make a claim about teleology or progress in which we begin with the human and see a transformation from the human to the posthuman. Rather, the nonhuman turn insists (paraphrasing Bruno Latour) that “we have never been human,” that the human has always coevolved, coexisted, or collaborated with the nonhuman—and that the human is identified precisely by this indistinction from the nonhuman.

Contributors: Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins U; Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown U; Mark B. N. Hansen, Duke U; Erin Manning, Concordia U, Montreal; Brian Massumi, U of Montreal; Timothy Morton, Rice U; Steven Shaviro, Wayne State U; Rebekah Sheldon, Indiana U.

Richard Grusin is director of the Center for 21st Century Studies and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the author of several books, including Premediation: Affect and Mediality after 9/11.


Richard Grusin
1. The Supernormal Animal
Brian Massumi
2. Consequences of Panpsychism
Steven Shaviro
3. Artfulness
Erin Manning
4.The Aesthetics of Philosophical Carpentry
Ian Bogost
5. Our Predictive Condition; or, Prediction in the Wild
Mark B. N. Hansen
6. Crisis, Crisis, Crisis; or, the Temporality of Networks
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
7. They Are Here
Timothy Morton
8. Form / Matter / Chora: Object-Oriented Ontology and Feminist New Materialism
Rebekah Sheldon
9. Systems and Things: On Vital Materialism and Object-Oriented Philosophy
Jane Bennett