Humans & Non-Humans

What does it mean to be human? What is the history of the notion of the human, and who or what has been excluded from it? What does it mean to study non-humans through a humanistic frame? How can we humans know non-human beings? What kinds of knowledges exist at the edges of the discourse on the human? This course introduces students to these issues through a combination of readings that engage transversally with the field known as new materialisms to consider the ways in which the study of humanity has been challenged by new modes of thinking about being in the world, as well as new epistemological demands from indigenous people and others, thereby producing situated and contested answers to these questions.  We will also engage with literature from Science and Technology Studies (STS) in order to understand how feminism, critical race theory, and queer studies have participated in a critique of science and its common reliance on a normative and falsely homogenizing notion of the human. This class consists of an exploration of futurism in social theory. As part of this class, we will read about humans, robots, animals, and cyborgs. We will pay attention to the ways that ethnographers and storytellers have tried to show how beings are multiply situated in relationship to each other. We will think critically about a notion of multi-species being as a way to describe ecology and the interaction between humans, fauna, flora, and other non-human or more-than-human beings and things, as well as thinking about what constitutes the human in all its complexity, opacity, and partiality. This website is a complement to the course “Humans and Non-Humans” (ANSO 365) taught by Prof. Adriana Garriga-Lopez at Kalamazoo College.

Blog posts about this class