Exposing Humanism: Prudence, Ingenium, and the Politics of the Posthuman

Journal of Historical Sociology CoverI am pleased to announce the publication of my article, “Exposing Humanism: Prudence, Ingenium, and the Politics of the Posthuman” in the Journal of Historical Sociology. The research for this paper was funded by the Laney Graduate School at Emory University and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship. I would like to thank Professors Donald Phillip Verene, Ann Hartle, Cynthia Willett, and Debolina Roy, as well as the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and encouragement on earlier drafts of this article. Lastly, thank you to Samuel Timme, Sarita Alami, and Stephen Harfield for their helpful comments in the final stages of this manuscript’s preparation.

Abstract

This article examines posthumanism and its relationship to humanism. First, it is argued that the term “posthumanism” relies upon an incomplete conception of humanism, and in a way that forecloses the possibility of looking to the humanist tradition for support. Addressing Foucault’s often quoted comments about the recent invention and imminent demise of man, it is argued that Foucault is not anti-humanist, but is rather critical of the use of humanism as an axis of reflection. Second, the posthumanist perspective is summarized as attending to a set of interrelated ethical and epistemological concerns. Calling into question the boundary between human and nonhuman animals, posthumanism also challenges the primacy of empirico-deductive reasoning and advocates a re-legitimization of rhetoric as a mode of thought. Lastly, using Ernesto Grassi’s interpretation of the early Italian humanists, this article demonstrates not only the compatibility of Renaissance humanism with posthumanist concerns, but also the fruitfulness of this tradition as a conceptual resource. Although the Renaissance notion of ingenium, the ability to adapt and make concrete situations meaningful without also affirming strong ontological commitments, is absent from posthumanist discourse, it is a concept that has the power to enrich the posthumanist project. Consequently, posthumanism is not actually at odds with the humanist tradition in general, but rather only with a very limited and relatively recent conception.

2013 Equestrian Social Media Awards

2013 Equestrian Social Media AwardsI am delighted to have been selected from a pool of 117 international applicants to serve an expert panelist and judge for the 2013 Equestrian Social Media Awards. The Equestrian Social Media Awards is an organization committed to promoting the future of equestrian sports by rewarding exemplary organizations and encouraging a high standard of excellence in the use of online technologies. I am honored to have been selected as an expert panelist for this year’s judging, and am delighted to have the opportunity to serve the equestrian community in this way.

In participating on ESMA expert panel, my name will be added to a prestigious list of current and former judges, including top names from the international equestrian marketing, branding and digital worlds. In a statement made by Liam Killen, ESMA Director,

“I’m keen for the ESMAs to showcase out of the box thinking within the equestrian industry. By giving the next generation of industry professionals the chance to broaden their knowledge with places on the Expert Panel they will no-doubt contribute a great deal to the ESMA experience for all involved.”

Nominations for the ESMAs open on December 10, 2012. I look forward to contributing to the adjudication process, but also hope to see Team Wallace Eventing among the nominees. Of course, I will not be judging any category in which Team Wallace appears, but I have been working very hard with Elisa and Rick over the past year and a half, using social media to increase public awareness of their successes and initiatives, and would be thrilled to see them recognized with an Equestrian Social Media Award.

The Beast Without: Red Dragon, The Cleft Lip, and the Politics of Recognition

The film Red Dragon features a serial killer whose cleft lip is the primary factor motivating his murderous behaviour. Although the film initially capitalizes upon the tradition of linking cleft lip and palate with homicidal psychopathy, however, it does so through a keen awareness of the politics of identity formation, and so has the effect of ultimately shifting the locus of monstrosity away from the cleft lip, and toward those social systems of representation that would constitute the cleft lip and palate as such. With particular attention to the image of the mirror, this paper is concerned with offering a psychoanalytic reading of the film, through the Lacanian concept of the mirror stage, in order to demonstrate certain ways in which Red Dragon subtly deconstructs the filmic tradition that has thus far, failed to do justice to the cleft lip and palate as a social issue.

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