Posthumanism, subjectivity, autobiography

Stefan Herbrechter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-347
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    This article is freely available to download by the publisher Palgrave at: Author's note: This authored and peer-reviewed article is part of a special issue of Subjectivity on “Posthumanist Subjectivities”, guest-edited by Ivan Callus and myself. Subjectivity is a well-established esteemed academic interdisciplinary journal edited by Palgrave which “aims at a re-prioritization of subjectivity as a primary category of social, cultural, psychological, historical and political analysis” (
    Ivan Callus and I have co-written an extensive introduction to our special issue, entitled “Coming After the Subject...”, which brings together the key discussions on the supposed “death of the subject” in the 1980s and 1990s with the current debate on posthumanism and the posthuman. The issue comprises six essays and two book reviews (one of which provided by me, on Timothy Campbell’s recent book Improper Life: Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). The issue is based on a special panel we organised at the MLA convention in Los Angeles in January 2011.
    My contribution to the issue, “Posthumanism, Subjectivity, Autobiography”, extends the current debate on autobiography and recent developments in autobiography studies into the field of posthumanism and postanthropocentrism. The practice of autobiography has been problematised by postmodern theory in a number of ways: by deconstructing the idea of a sovereign conscious self, who would be in charge of his or her own life story; by questioning autobiographical narrativisation processes and the positioning of the autobioghraphical subject; and by looking at the impact of new technologies and new media on the genre of the autobiographical.
    The article builds on the discussion in two ways: an extension of the problematisation of the notion of subjectivity in postanthropocentric terms, notably by arguing against a humanist and “speciesist” exclusion of non-human subjectivity from autobiography; and second, an analysis of new forms of autobiography written from the point of view “after the human” or “after humanity”.


    • posthumanism
    • speciesism
    • subjectivity
    • autobiography
    • technology
    • animal studies

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