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ENGL 422: Posthumanism: literature after the human

This course focuses on the idea of the ‘posthuman’ in fiction and film. It explores a range of literary and filmic texts from Romanticism to Postmodernism that have explored the question of what, if anything, might come ‘after’ the human race. To explore the figure of the posthuman in more detail, we will focus on a series of recurring tropes in posthumanist literature from Mary Shelley to Lars von Trier: the god, the monster; the robot; the cyborg and the clone. We will also place these texts in the context of various contemporary philosophical, religious, political and scientific debates surrounding the meaning (or meaninglessness) of human existence. In summary, the course will ask such questions as: why is the end of the human race such an enduring subject of fascination for writers and film-makers? Is it possible for human beings to imagine a world without human beings? Finally, what might a world after the human race look like?


1 x 5000 word coursework essay on 2/3 of the set texts + 1 x 1000 unassessed position paper.

Title/topic of essay to be decided by student and approved in advance by tutor.

For details about reading lists and seminar topics, please refer to the course handbook.

Student Journals

Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»

Share research and make connections with other researchers. Go to the Luminary»


The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»

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