, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 327–347 | Cite as

Posthumanism, subjectivity, autobiography

  • Stefan Herbrechter
Original Article


In the following essay I would like to go back and reconnect a few things that may have become disjointed in sketches of posthumanist theory. In particular, the points to revisit are: the poststructuralist critique of the subject, the postmodernist approach to autobiography and the notion of the posthuman itself. I will briefly return to the work of Haraway and Hayles, before setting out the relationship between the often proclaimed ‘death of the subject’, postmodern autobiography, and a few examples of what might be termed ‘posthuman auto-biographies’.


posthumanism speciesism subjectivity autobiography technology animal studies 


  1. Agamben, G. (1998) Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Translated by D. Heller-Roazen. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Agamben, G. (2009) What is an apparatus? In: What Is an Apparatus and Other Essays, Translated by D. Kishik and S. Pedatella. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 1–25.Google Scholar
  3. Blackman, L. (2010) Bodily integrity. Body & Society 16 (3): 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blackman, L., Cromby, J., Hook, D., Papadopoulos, D. and Walkerdine, V. (2008) Editorial: Creating subjectivities. Subjectivity 22: 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butler, J. (2004) Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, J. (2005) Giving an Account of Oneself. New York: Fordham UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Butler, J. (2009) Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? London: Verso.Google Scholar
  8. Cadava, E., Connor, P . and Nancy, J.-L. (eds.) (1991) Who Comes After the Subject? New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. De Man, P. (1984) Autobiography as de-facement. In: The Rhetoric of Romanticism. New York: Columbia UP, pp. 67–82.Google Scholar
  10. Derrida, J. (1976) Of Grammatology. Translated by G.C. Spivak. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Derrida, J. (1985) The Ear of the Other: Otobiography, Transference, Translation. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P.Google Scholar
  12. Derrida, J. (1991a) Circonfession. In: G. Bennington and J. Derrida (eds.) Jacques Derrida. Paris: Seuil, pp. 7–291.Google Scholar
  13. Derrida, J. (1991b) ‘Eating well’, or the calculation of the subject: An interview with Jacques Derrida. In: E. Cadava et al (eds.) Who Comes After the Subject? New York: Routledge, pp. 96–119.Google Scholar
  14. Derrida, J. (1996) Monolingualism of the Other; or, The Prosthesis of Origin. Translated by P. Mensah. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.Google Scholar
  15. Derrida, J. (2000 [1995]) ‘As if I were dead’ – An Interview with Jacques Derrida. Vienna, Austria: Turia + Kant.Google Scholar
  16. Derrida, J. (2002) The animal that therefore I am (more to follow). Critical Inquiry 28 (2): 369–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Easthope, A. and McGowan, K. (eds.) (2004) A Critical and Cultural Theory Reader, 2nd edn. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Haraway, D. (ed.) (1985 [1991]) A cyborg manifesto: Science, technology, and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century. In: Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, pp. 149–181.Google Scholar
  19. Haraway, D. (2008) When Species Meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hayles, N.K. (1999) How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Herbrechter, S. (2009) Posthumanismus – Eine kritische Einführung. Darmstadt, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  22. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (2003) What's wrong with posthumanism? Rhizomes 7 (special issue ‘Theory's Others’),
  23. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (2004a) The latecoming of the posthuman, or, why ‘we’ do the apocalypse differently, ‘now’. Reconstruction 4 (3),
  24. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (eds.) (2004b) Discipline and Practice: The (Ir)Ressitibility of Theory. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (2007) Critical posthumanism or, the inventio of a posthumanism without technology. Subject Matters 3 (2), and 4(1) 15–30.Google Scholar
  26. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (2008) What is a posthumanist reading? Angelaki 13 (3): 95–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (eds.) (2009) Cy-Borges: Memories of the Posthuman in the Work of Jorge Luis Borges. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (forthcoming a) Critical Posthumanism. Critical Posthumanisms 1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Rodopi.Google Scholar
  29. Herbrechter, S. and Callus, I. (eds.) (forthcoming b) Posthumanist Shakespeares. Houndmills, UK: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  30. Johnson, B. (2008) Persons and Things. Cambridge: Harvard UP.Google Scholar
  31. Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Lejeune, P. (1998) Les Brouillons de soi. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  33. Nancy, J.-L. (2002) L’Intrus. Translated by S. Hanson. CR: The New Centennial Review 2 (3): 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shildrick, M. (2002) Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Shildrick, M. (2010) Some reflections on the socio-cultural and bioscientific limits of bodily integrity. Body & Society 16 (3): 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sloterdijk, P. (1999) Regeln für den Menschenpark – Ein Antwortschreiben zu Heideggers Brief über den Humanismus. Frankfurt, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  37. Sloterdijk, P. (2001) Das Menschentreibhaus – Stichworte zur historischen und prophetischen Anthropologie. Weimar, Germany: VDG.Google Scholar
  38. Sloterdijk, P. (2009) Du musst dein Leben ändern: Über Anthropotechnik. Frankfurt, Germany: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  39. Smith, R. (1995) Derrida and Autobiography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith, S. (2011) Narrating lives and contemporary imaginaries. PMLA 126 (3): 564–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sobchack, V. (2010) Living a ‘phantom limb’: On the phenomenology of bodily integrity. Body & Society 16 (3): 51–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stiegler, B. (1998) Time and Technics, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus. Translated by G. Collins and R. Beardsworth. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Varela, F.J. (2001) Intimate distances: Fragments for a phenomenology of organ transplantation. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5–7): 259–271.Google Scholar
  44. Warwick, K. (2002) I, Cyborg. London: Century/Random House.Google Scholar
  45. Weisman, A. (2007) The World without Us. New York: St. Martins.Google Scholar
  46. Whitlock, G. (2007) Soft Weapons: Autobiography in Transit. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Herbrechter
    • 1
  1. 1.Coventry School of Art and Design, Coventry UniversityCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations