Palgrave McMillan
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Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism., 2022, pp. 1-22
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Colonialism relies upon a racist discourse of imperial humanism that orders humankind, implicitly or overtly, according to a naturalized hierarchy in which modern European White Man is taken as a normative template for human being, value, and achievement. This chapter examines key effects of colonial humanism and assesses posthumanism as a critical resource for the transformation of settler-colonial paradigms. Although critical posthumanism has begun to reference Indigenous philosophies of more-than-human relational coexistence, it is clear that these resist simple incorporation to the European “posthumanism” that they in fact predate by millennia. Accordingly, the chapter outlines how critical posthumanism and Indigenous critical theory instead offer allied perspectives to constitute a pluralist paradigm of “alter-humanism,” guided by a relational ethics of “ex-colonialism.” A framework for the collaborative transformation of settler-colonial systems, ex-colonialism emphasizes persisting human differences over the ideal of a universal humanity and seeks discontinuity with a problematic posthuman present in which colonial humanism persists. Conceived in conjunction with the collaborative and resistive politics of ex-colonialism, posthumanism is not solely critical but rather contributes constructively toward a cosmopolitan “alter-humanism” that affirms the creative power of diverse, more-than-human agencies and supports pluralist frameworks for the collaborative coexistence of multiple sovereignties.
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