Posthumanism: Literature after the human

This module 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 H. G. Wells 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?