provisional notes towards a posthuman politics
"The point of calling it ‘study’ is to mark that the incessant and irrevers- ible intellectuality of these activities is already present. These activi- ties aren’t ennobled by the fact that we now say, “oh, if you did these things in a certain way, you could be said to be have been studying.” To do these things is to be involved in a kind of common intellectual practice. What’s important is to recognize that that has been the case – because that recognition allows you to access a whole, varied, alter- native history of thought."
(Moten & Harney, *The Undercommons* 110)
0. Posthumanism and the Drag of Humanism
Does posthumanism allow for an ethics? Can posthumanism, by dispensing with the human, allow an ethics? Is a posthuman ethics written about by and for humans not, necessarily, human?
1. Individuation and Disentanglement
Latour: We Have Never Been Modern
“The more one complies with the demand for ‘responsibility’ to become self-reliant, the more socially isolated one becomes and the more precarious one feels; the more supporting social structures fall away for ‘economic’ reasons, the more isolated one feels in one’s sense of heightened anxiety and ‘moral failure’.” (Butler 15).
(Butler, *Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly* 15)
The difficulty of attending to the individual and collective simultaneously is a problem for both posthumanism and politics more generally
“When we look to assess ethical decisions or actions, when we attempt to hold someone responsible, when we recommend action, we look to individuals.”
(Shotwell, *Against Purity* 110)
2. Relational Affectivity
Affect theory eschews the active/passive binary: affective bodies affect and are affected by what they encounter.
“The event is where experience actualizes. Experience here is in the tense of life-living, not human life per se, but the more-than human: life at the interstices of experience in the ecology of practices. From this vantage point of an ecology of practices, it is urgent to turn away from the notion that it is the human agent, the intentional, volitional subject, who determines what comes to be."
(Manning, *The Minor Gesture* 3)
...shifting the question from “What should I do?” to “What can be done? How can this ecology of practices we co-compose be shifted to multiply rather than homogenize experience?” This is not to absolve the individual from responsibility, but to *rearticulate the individual as itself processual and reframe our units of analysis.*
3. Affective Attunements
What practices open intensified modes of relationality? How can posthumanism resonate with more explicitly political theories and methodologies?
“In the navigation of experience, no one is ever alone, and no experience ever emerges without the facilitation of a process that carries the event in its coming to formation.”
(Manning, *The Minor Gesture* 137)
“We need to be too sensitive if we are to challenge what is not being addressed."
(Ahmed, "Against Students")
Haraway: "Staying with the trouble"
Alaimo: "Dwell[ing] in the dissolve"
Stewart: “Agency can be strange, twisted, caught up in things, passive or exhausted. Not the way we like to think about it. Not usually a simple projection toward a future”
What would it mean to give up the idea that the future could be determined in advance?