The World is full of Monsters

In this online seminar at the University of the Arts, Bremen in the summer term 2021 we dissected the posthuman in many ways: We unwrapped the socio-political and historical implications of what it means to be human, as well as analyzed what it means to be post anything. Through the lens of posthumanism we examined technological futures, more than human relations, and social and environmental justice in close collaboration with disability studies, critical animal studies, critical plant studies, and new materialism.

This course introduced fictional characters, fabulous beings, and monstrosities as a recognition of being hybrid, connected, and fluid in a world that keeps insisting on binaries. We have found that – luckily – the world indeed is full of monsters, and asked ourselves how we can use this knowledge to reverse our preconceptions.

Every week of the semester we examined the relations, aspects, and agencies of critical posthumanism from a different „monster’s“ perspective: 

  • Machines
  • Ghosts
  • Humans
  • Animals
  • Materials
  • Plants
  • Planets

Part of the seminar was the participation in a symposium in the middle of the semester. The symposium invited guests (theorists, artists, and educators) to reverse entrenched ways of being-in-the-world and imagine or critically engage with utopian alternatives to anthropocentrism. Consolidated by certain political, cultural, social, and technological hegemonies, anthropocentrism is the sense of universal entitlement and privilege inherent in a specific image of the human. Together we reflected on the human subject increasingly destabilized by digital media technologies, the challenge to its purported human exceptionalism among the species, and scrutiny of the social relations of power in which it is embedded.

Get the full syllabus on request via mail

Seminar Winter Term 2021
University of the Arts, Bremen
Lecturer: Johanna Mehl