This introductory course will expand on the trajectories and intersections of decolonial and post-human theories. Beginning with the 15th century debate in Spain regarding the ‘human-ness’ of the indigenous peoples in the Americas, we trace the construction of this concept, as well as the colonial continuities and the spatial transformations they generated. Among other things, we will look at the implications of this conceptualisation, the emergence of ‘epistemologies of the South’ (de Sousa Santos, 2014) and the potentialities of decolonizing knowledge to render visible and dismantle such epistemic hierarchies.
While arguing that ‘the human’ is co-produced by different mechanisms and practices, we also look at how the Humanist ideal of ‘Man’ is changing and how enhancement technologies enable human beings to change their ‘naturally given’ bodies, to manipulate their genes and to reproduce ‘non-physically’. Whether the aim is to reduce the risk of hereditary diseases or to make medically unnecessary changes like deciding on the colour of the eyes, we will ask what kind of a post-human ethics is needed to discuss and regulate these transformations in the society. The very question about what kind of future we want to have has become increasingly imperative, as well as often at odds with epistemologies coming, on one hand, from indigenous peoples whose livelihoods are closely connected to nature, and, on the other hand, from proponents of new technologies that are overpowering and controlling nature and ‘natural bodies’.
African Studies, Gender Studies
Universitäre Hochschulen (UH)