The Problem of the Human

Moffat Takadiwa, Joy Pad (2014)

Discovery Theme Dialogue, February 2, 3-4:30pm, Research Commons (18th Avenue Library, 3rd floor)

Co-hosted by Human Rights in Transit, Environmental Humanities and Humane Technologies Humanities & Arts discovery theme pilot projects

The concept of the human grounds the arts & humanities and serves as a gravitational force in academia as well as in social justice advocacy.  Yet, we are riddled with the many problems of the human as a flawed, unstable, and transforming subject.  This dialogue will serve as the first part of an ongoing dialogue that aims to proliferate the questions and problems of the human within and across the arts & humanities. A potential outcome of such a dialogue is a transformative (re)focusing of scholarship, pedagogy, and activism mobilized in an interdisciplinary GIS, cluster teaching modules, or collaborative projects.

Some questions inspiring this collaboration include:

  • Given decolonial critiques of the “human” and thus human rights, how can we imagine and cultivate alternative cosmologies of accountability, living and ethics?
  • Do human rights rest on certain assumptions of the relationship between humans and their environments? Is this changing, and how?
  • Is data humanism possible?
  • What does the future of the humanities look like if we de-center the human?
  •  What are the ethics of human technologies given global climate change?
  • Could a “post-humanities” research and teaching agenda catalyze new forms of engagement in our era of dwindling institutional and financial support for the Humanities?

Key Words: livability, post-humanism, trans-humanism, human rights, anti-human, non-human life, social and environmental justice.