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Title: Zur Verhandlung der Conditio Posthumana in der zeitgenössischen deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur : Gesellschaftskonstitution, Subjektivitätsentwicklung und Kuns
Author: Schumacher, Hanna Elisabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 4342
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis investigates the ways in which contemporary German literature and posthumanist theory respond to major socio-cultural and technological shifts since the beginning of the 21st century. These changes, which include the digitisation of all spheres of life, the introduction of Artificial Intelligences - but also new reproduction techniques - are transforming our conceptions and constructions of society, simultaneously de-centring traditional notions of subjectivity as they have been developed in Western philosophical thought. I argue that the recently emerging field of posthumanist theory and its different sub-strands, which evolved as reactions to these transformative movements, are only half-sufficient when it comes to tackling the issue of developing new forms of collectivity and subjectivity, since they often remain indebted to a deeply Humanistic, and therefore anthropocentric, worldview. I therefore suggest to bringing recent posthumanist theory together with the already established theoretical field of Critical Theory (in the tradition of the Frankfurt School), as this enables a critical engagement with the legacy of Humanism and of the Enlightenment drawing attention to its complicity with structural forms of violence, injustice and inequality. I then use this recalibrated theoretical framework to explore German contemporary literature through a range of authors who deploy tropes and narratives from the Science Fiction genre and depict societies that in some form or shape transcend human(ist) subjectivity as we know it. Through close readings of three major texts by Dietmar Dath, Reinhard Jirgl and Leif Randt, I interrogate these respective authors' conceptions and constructions of a potentially posthumanist society and a posthumanist subjectivity. I focus in particular on the potential of art in these texts, exploring the extent to which the artwork might contribute toward a renegotiation of contemporary society and subjectivity. By initiating a dialogue between the realms of contemporary theory and fiction, this thesis engages with key texts from contemporary German Science Fiction, while also critically investigating key paradigms in the newly developing field of posthumanist theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PT Germanic literature