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Introduction: The Biotech Century, Human Capital, and Genre

  • Justin Omar Johnston
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)

Abstract

This introduction begins by exploring the scientific, political, and legal narratives that have framed the twenty-first century as the biotech century. While these narratives have responded to major developments in bioscience, the story of a biotech future has increasingly relocated “the human” as standing behind or emerging after biotechnological interventions. This is due, in part, to the key role human capital theory has played in developing neoliberal definitions of the human as never-human-enough. I argue that the directive to “be more [than] human” sits comfortably at the intersection of neoliberal and transhumanist models of human belonging. I then preview how contemporary novels engage the biotech future. While these works recognize biotechnological and economic accounts of human belonging in the twenty-first century, they also expose and interrupt the linkages between apocalyptic fear and dystopian depression, genres that shape and limit our collective capacity to imagine an alternative, posthuman, or utopian future.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Omar Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Stony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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