"The trace beyond the human" : exploring nonhuman otherness and human exceptionalism in contemporary and popular literatures

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Ruzek, Jessica
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of English
Central to this examination is the questioning of the “culturally normal fantasy” (Haraway 267) of humanity’s pre-eminence in the current age known as the Anthropocene through the investigation of representations of humanity and non-humanity in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing, and Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man. These works question the alleged centrality of humanity, while offering new configurations with which to represent and understand the human in relation to the planet and its nonhuman inhabitants. Foundational to this interrogation of the human is the theoretical framework of posthumanism and ecocriticism, which see human exceptionalism as the discourse that enables the systemic destruction of the planet’s ecology and the exploitation of--and cruelty towards--nonhuman animals. Contemporary literatures, especially those which employ apocalypticism, are best able to represent and critique the practices which currently threaten the planet and its inhabitants.
posthumanism , ecocriticism , nonhuman , anthropocentrism , human exceptionalism , Margaret Atwood , Cormac McCarthy , Alan Moore , Jeff Lemire , Swamp Thing , Animal Man , The Road , Oryx and Crake , apocalypse , dystopian , contemporary literature