Author ORCID Identifier
Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Arts and Sciences
In this dissertation I put Posthumanist theory in tension with the ‘lived’ experiences of the posthuman protagonists of two recent Science Fiction trilogies. My aim in doing so is to uncover the shortcomings of Posthumanist accounts of ethics and discover alternative paths forward.
The first chapter of my dissertation is an overview of Posthumanist theory and Science Fiction, with a particular emphasis on the contributions Hispanic authors and women have made to the genre. In the second chapter, I develop a critique of Posthumanist ethics that place the onus of ethical-political intervention on marginalized subjects through a close reading of Spanish author Rosa Montero’s Bruna Husky trilogy (Lágrimas en la lluvia, 2011, El peso del corazón, 2015, Los tiempos del odio, 2018). In her failure to enact a Posthumanist ethics, Montero’s posthuman protagonist calls into question the tendency to center the subject in Posthumanist thought and also makes visible its tacit and dubious blending of constitution (ontology) and ethics. The solution Montero’s trilogy offers to these problems is for theorists to move their attention away from the individual posthuman and towards non-individual, in-between forces like affect. In the third chapter, I continue my exploration of Posthumanist ethics through an analysis of Dominican author Rita Indiana’s Science Fiction trilogy-in-progress (La mucama de Omicunlé, 2015, and Hecho en Saturno, 2018). Indiana’s novels feature two protagonists—Acilde and Argenis—both of whom are constitutionally posthuman. Acilde is prophesied to be a posthuman ethical savior, preventing ecological collapse, but does not fulfill the prophecy. This failure suggests, like in Bruna Husky’s case, that there is a difference between being constitutionally and ethically posthuman. Argenis, who is not prophesied to be any sort of savior, does the same, and even gestures towards an alternative to treating ethics as the inevitable byproduct of a well-mapped posthuman constitution. The key difference between Acilde and Argenis is that Acilde passively accepts his posthumanity, while Argenis enters into violent friction with his. Argenis’s friction unbinds his posthuman constitution from ethics and opens between them a gap from which he is able to do the posthuman ethical work of deconstructing oppressive systems of thought like humanism in a way that is generative and consequential. Friction—a concept I articulate in reference to the thought of decolonial feminist theorists—is essential to variegating the flattened landscape of posthumanist ethical thought.
My project aids in this endeavor and is unique in that it does not hold literary texts up as mirrors to Posthumanist theory but rather puts Posthumanist theory in tension with the distinctive insights literary analysis can provide.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Frodge, Brittany, "Posthuman Ethics in the Science Fiction of Rosa Montero and Rita Indiana" (2022). Theses and Dissertations--Hispanic Studies. 57.
Available for download on Thursday, December 19, 2024