»» The World, the Text, and the Critic in the Posthuman Era 

Postgraduate Workshop with Pheng Cheah Claudiana, Innsbruck, May 12-13, 2017

How do we conceptualise ‘the human’ in a posthuman era? What is the research object of the ‘humanities’ if the contours of the human can no longer be neatly delineated? How can we rework ‘humanist’ approaches to (world) literature at a time when humans have become a disruptive geological force, and “What Is a World” (Cheah 2016), anyway? 

This workshop was intended as a response to the imperative to reposition, relocate, and possibly reinvent the humanities in the face of the so-called posthuman turn. Critiques of humanism in the tradition of intellectuals such as Edward Said and Michel Foucault all too often tend to rely on an anthropocentric paradigm. This need not be the case, as Rosi Braidotti’s optimistic outlook on the “productivity of a posthuman future for the humanities” (2016, 9) suggests. How can the ongoing relevance of critical positions on humanism be reconciled – and, ideally, reassessed – with a view to the current dislocations of the human, as well as sweeping environmental, economic, social, and technological changes? 

The colloquium aimed at formulating tentative responses to the questions raised by the debate on posthumanism. What is at stake in the discussion is no less than the (institutional) future of our disciplines. Thus, the posthuman turn will serve as an incentive not only to problematise the methods, topics, structures, and aims of our work in the humanities but also to continue mapping new and innovative approaches in our fields of research, especially in literary and cultural studies. 

» » Workshop event and some impressions are available on our Facebook site   

Professor Pheng Cheah (University of California, Berkeley) was the invited reseacher for this year’s workshop. He has extensively published on cosmopolitanism, postcolonial literature, and political theory. His most recent book is What Is a World?: On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature (2016).


Invitation Keynote CheahThe workshop started with the public keynote lecture
“Worlding Literature. Living-With Tiger Spirits”
by Prof. Dr. Pheng Cheah on Friday, May 12, 2017, 17:00 at the Claudiana. 











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